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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16536
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My 10 year old boxer has become aggresive to his usual sole

Customer Question

my 10 year old boxer has become aggresive to his usual sole mate they have gotten into it a couple of times but this morning he would not give up he kept her pinned on the ground every time she tried to move he jumped her again
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with the dog?
Customer: he seems stange lately this is the 3rd time this has happened in the past 6 months
JA: Where does the dog seem to hurt?
Customer: he is not hurt
JA: OK. No obvious pain. What is the dog's name?
Customer: max
JA: Is there anything else the veterinarian should be aware of about max?
Customer: he is on thyroid medication he is 10 years old 2 months ago had an ear infection then swollen ear due to shaking it. He seems odd to me lately goes into a trance, tired sits and barks at nothing. they would not stop this morning I ran and got a pot and cracked both of them with it to get their attention so I could seperate them he just stood there and looked at me like he just woke up
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 9 months ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank yoi
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 9 months ago.

I am sorry to hear about Max's strange behavior lately, unusually aggressive with his housemate, lethargic, barking at seemingly nothing and just not himself.

When animals suddenly change their attitudes toward one another it means that something has changed. Either there is some sort of stress in their lives, resources (including time with you) are less or someone isn't feeling well.

So ideally both should have a thorough physical examination, urinalysis and bloodwork to make sure all is OK. Animlas are very good at picking on the one who is weak in the group. Dogs are very keen at picking up a change in body odor which can signify sickness.

It's also possible that Max has an undiagnosed health problem which is making him less tolerant of his housemate and is changing his perception of his environment. He is an older fellow and as such organ failure is possible. As organs fail and metabolic wastes build up their brain function becomes abnormal. Unfortunately Boxers as a breed are prone to brain tumors and heart disease. Heart disease can lead to episodes of hypoxia and "feeling funny" which Max may blame on his housemate, or simply take his frustration out on her. Of course brain tumors can affect thinking.

Make sure their urine is checked for any signs of crystals or infection and cultured to make sure a subclinical low grade infection isn't part of the problem. Bloodwork to look for internal organ disease and hypothyroidism is advisable too. I know that he was previously diagnosed with low thyroid function, and perhaps his medication dose needs to be adjusted. Low thyroid function can change behavior and thought patterns and lead to "mental dullness" so would explain his "trances".

In the meantime I recommend that you keep the two separated for her safety, as this seems to be worsening. Should an attack occur when you aren't home the end could be disaster.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
He has an appointment with our vet Mon I will keep them apart til then what makes it worse is I have a total of 4 dogs I don't want an all out war
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 9 months ago.

I'm sorry I missed your follow-up response yesterday.

I think separating them and an exam are very worthwhile steps. I agree with your concern about the possibility of this turning into a bigger debacle with several dogs involved. The pack mentality can take over and disastrous results can occur, especially when there has been a change in social hierarchy and/or when one dog is sick and isn't behaving normally.

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