Boxer Cardiomyopathy - This is a disease in which the heart muscle of the dog deteriorates. In Boxers, it seems to affect the parts of the heart that regulate the heart beat first. Therefore, in contrast to other forms of cardiomyopathy in which a long deterioration in function known as "heart failure" occurs, the first sign of a problem maybe that the heart has a sudden spasm of abnormal beats, resulting in sudden death. The form that Boxers are prone to is particularly difficult to deal with, because as described above, the first symptom may be sudden death, so that by the time the owner suspects a problem, the dog is dead. Also, dogs may not develop the actual disease until well after breeding age, making screening before breeding almost impossible. However, many experts now agree that the best way to detect the disease at the earliest possible stage is to perform a test called a Holter monitor. This test involves recording an EKG for 24 hours, and reviewing for abnormal beats. It is recommended some form of Holter monitor screening be performed annually on any Boxer, starting at a year of age. This will help screen out of the breeding population affected individuals as soon as possible, and will help those who may be affected get the earliest possible treatment. Studies do suggest that early treatment may help prevent further deterioration of the heart.