The Essential Boxer

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Owning a Boxer is rewarding and fun! Get all you need to know about feeding, training and caring for your dog's health in The Essential Boxer. Special features include professional color photos and expert tips on how to make your dog a wonderful addition to the family. Learn how to have a great relationship with your pet with The Essential Boxer.
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Overview

Owning a Boxer is rewarding and fun! Get all you need to know about feeding, training and caring for your dog's health in The Essential Boxer. Special features include professional color photos and expert tips on how to make your dog a wonderful addition to the family. Learn how to have a great relationship with your pet with The Essential Boxer.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582450674
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Series: Essential Series
  • Edition description: ABR
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.21 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Getting to Know Your Boxer.

Chapter Two: Homecoming.

Chapter Three: To Good Health.

Chapter Four: Positively Nutritious.

Chapter Five: Putting on the Dog.

Chapter Six: Measuring Up.

Chapter Seven: A Matter of Fact.

Chapter Eight: On Good Behavior.

Chapter Nine: Resources.

Index.

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First Chapter

[Figures are not included in this sample chapter]

The Essential Boxer

- 3 -

To Good Health

Boxers, with good care, commonly live ten to twelve or more years. When healthproblems do arise, your dog's best line of defense is you--the loving, alertowner who will see to it that proper medical treatment is rendered early and effectively.

CHOOSING A VETERINARIAN

You will find that your choice of veterinarian is critical to your dog's goodcare. This practitioner must not only be skilled as a diagnostician and a surgeon,but must also be a good listener--to you, as you know your dog best. Beware the vetwho never has time to talk to you, or doesn't care what you have to say. Beware thevet who constantly belittles your medical expertise. The best medical professionalswill be acutely interested in your observations and your insights. Seek recommendationsfrom experienced breeders in your area; they will offer very definite opinions onwho you should trust to do the right thing in a time of crisis. They may know thata particular vet has a particular knowledge of or love for the Boxer breed. All thisadvice is helpful, but the final choice is yours. Be sure you have confidence inyour vet, that he or she is medically skilled and is someone to whom you can relate.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PREVENTIVE CARE

You can help your dog maintain good health by practicing the art of preventivecare. Take good care of your Boxer today and he will be healthy tomorrow.

There are many aspects of preventive care with which Boxer owners should be familiar:vaccinations, regular vet visits and tooth care are just some.

The earlier that illness is detected in the Boxer, the easier it is for the veterinarianto treat the problem. Owners can help ensure their dogs' health by being on the lookoutfor medical problems. All this requires is an eye for detail and a willingness toobserve. Pay close attention to your Boxer, how he looks, how he acts. What is normalbehavior? How does his coat usually look? What are his eating and sleeping patterns?Subtle changes can indicate a problem. Keep close tabs on what is normal for yourBoxer, and if anything out of the ordinary develops, call the veterinarian.

Vaccinations

A priority on a Boxer owner's list of preventive care is vaccinations. Vaccinationsprotect the dog against a host of infectious diseases, preventing an illness itselfand the misery that accompanies it.

Vaccines should be a part of every young puppy's health care, since youngstersare so susceptible to disease. To remain effective, vaccinations must be kept current.

Maintaining your Boxer's health means keeping vaccinations current.


YOUR PUPPY'S VACCINES

Vaccines are given to prevent your dog from getting infectious diseases like canine distemper or rabies. Vaccines are the ultimate preventive medicine: They're given before your dog ever get s the disease so as to protect him from the disease. That's why it is necessary for your dog to be vaccinated routinely. Puppy vaccines start at 8 weeks of age for the five-in-one DHLPP vaccine and are given every three to four weeks until the puppy is 16 months old. Your veterinarian will put your puppy on a proper schedule and will remind you when to bring in your dog for shots.


You take on a lot of responsibility when deciding to own a Boxer puppy--butit is well worth it.

Good Nutrition

Dogs that receive the appropriate nutrients daily will be healthier and strongerthan those that do not. The proper balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins,minerals and sufficient water enables the dog to remain healthy by fighting off illness.

Routine Checkups

Regular visits to the veterinary clinic should begin when your Boxer is a youngpup and continue throughout his life. Make this a habit and it will certainly contributeto your Boxer's good health. Even if your Boxer seems perfectly healthy, a checkuponce or twice a year is in order.

Your Boxer should feel comfortable with his veterinarian.

Well-Being

Aside from the dog's physical needs--a proper and safe shelter, nutritious diet,health care and regular exercise--the Boxer needs plenty of plain, old-fashionedlove. The dog is happiest when he is part of a family, enjoying the social interactions,nurturing and play. Bringing the Boxer into the family provides the dog with a senseof security.

The Boxer needs mental stimulation as well, especially because the breed is sointelligent. Obedience training is an excellen t way to enxcourage your dog to usehis mind. Remember, Boxers will use their brilliant minds in some manner, so it isbest to direct them in a positive way.

Boxers are affectionate and enjoy making new friends.

COMMON DISEASES

Unfortunately, even with the best preventive care, the Boxer can fall ill. Infectiousdiseases, which are commonly spread from dog to dog via infected urine, feces orother body secretions can wreak havoc. Following are a few of the diseases that canaffect your Boxer.

Rabies

Since rabid animals may have a tendency to be aggressive and bite, animals suspectedof having rabies should only be handled by animal control handlers or veterinarians.

Rabies is preventable with routine vaccines, and such vaccinations are requiredby law for domestic animals in all states in the U.S.

One of the most well-known diseases that can affect dogs, rabies can strike anywarm-blooded animal (including humans)--and is fatal. The rabies virus, which ispresent in an affected animal's saliva, is usually spread through a bite or openwound. The signs can be subtle at first. Normally friendly pets can become irritableand withdrawn. Shy pets may become overly friendly. Eventually, the dog becomes withdrawnand avoids light, which hurts the eyes of a rabid dog. Fever, vomiting and diarrheaare common.

Once these symptoms develop, the animal will die; there is no treatment or cure.

Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious and devastating illness. The hardy virusis usually transmitted through contaminated feces, but it can be carried on an infecteddog's feet or skin. It strikes dogs of all ages a nd is most serious in young puppies.

There are two main types of parvovirus. The first signs of the diarrhea-syndrometype are usually depression and lack of appetite, followed by vomiting and the characteristicbloody diarrhea. The dog appears to be in great pain, and he usually has a high fever.

The cardiac-syndrome type affects the heart muscle and is most common in youngpuppies. Puppies with this condition will stop nursing, whine and gasp for air. Deathmay occur suddenly or in a few days. Youngsters that recover can have lingering heartfailure that eventually takes their life.

Veterinarians can treat dogs with parvovirus, but the outcome varies. It dependson the age of the animal and severity of the disease. Treatment may include fluidtherapy, medication to stop the severe diarrhea and antibiotics to prevent or stopsecondary infection.

Young puppies receive some anti-body protection against the disease from theirmother, but they lose it quickly and must be vaccinated to prevent the disease. Inmost cases, vaccinated puppies are protected against the disease.

Coronavirus

Canine coronavirus is especially devastating to young puppies, causing depression,lack of appetite, vomiting that may contain blood and characteristically yellow-orange diarrhea. The virus is transmitted through feces, urine and saliva, and theonset of symptoms is usually rapid.

Dogs suffering from coronavirus are treated similarly to those suffering fromparvovirus: fluid therapy, medication to stop diarrhea and vomiting and antibioticsif necessary.

Vaccinations are available to protect puppies and dogs against the virus and arerecommended especially for those dogs in freq uent contact with other dogs.

Hepatitis

Infectious canine hepatitis can affect dogs of every age, but it is most severein puppies. It primarily affects the dog's liver, kidneys and lining of the bloodvessels. Highly contagious, it is transmitted through urine, feces and saliva.

Infectious canine hepatitis must be diagnosed and confirmed with a blood test.Ill dogs require hospitalization. Hepatitis is preventable in dogs by keeping vaccinationscurrent.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease has received a lot of press recently, with its increased incidencethroughout the United States. The illness, caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi,is carried by ticks. It is passed along when the tick bites a victim, canine or human.(The dog cannot pass the disease to people, though. It is only transmitted via thetick.)

In dogs, the disease manifests itself in sudden lameness, caused by swollen joints,similar to arthritis. The dog is weak and may run a fever. The lameness can lasta few days or several months, and some dogs have recurring difficulties.

Antibiotics are very effective in treating Lyme disease, and the sooner it isdiagnosed and treated, the better. A vaccine is available; ask your veterinarianif your dog would benefit from it.

Kennel Cough

"Kennel cough" or "canine cough," is a contagious diseasethat shows itself as a harsh, dry cough. It has been termed "kennel cough"because of its often rapid spread through kennels. The cough may persist for weeksand is often followed by a bout of chronic bronchitis.

Many kennels require proof of bordatella vaccination before boarding. If you rdog is in and out of kennels frequently, vaccination certainly is not a bad idea.


PREVENTIVE CARE PAYS

Using common sense, paying attention to your dog and working with your veterinarian, you can minimize health risks and problems. Use vet-recommended flea, tick and heartworm preventive medications; feed a nutritious diet appropriate for your dog's size, age and activity level; give your dog sufficient exercise and regular grooming; train and socialize your dog; keep current on your dog's shots; and enjoy all the years you have with your friend.


MEDICAL CONDITIONS SPECIFIC TO BOXERS

Despite all our care and attention, our Boxers do occasionally suffer from conditionsto which the breed seems to be predisposed. Whether these illnesses are genetic inorigin or occasioned by environmental factors, they nonetheless need to be addressed.

Cancer

Boxers have been found to be at high risk for a large variety of tumors. Theseinclude both benign skin tumors as well as cancers affecting the brain, skin, thyroid,mammary glands and testes and internal organs, such as the spleen and pancreas. Benignskin tumors usually need either no treatment or simple surgical removal under localanesthesia. Malignancies require treatment specific to the cancer itself and varywidely. As in human cancers, dogs are treated with surgery, chemotherapy and sometimesradiation.

Gingival Hyperplasia

These are benign tumors of the mouth, mainly an overgrowth of gum tissue, commonlyseen in middle-aged and older Boxers. These tumors may be numerous; however, theyu sually cause no significant harm. Occasionally, they distort the placement of thelips and are cosmetically unattractive. Since they may catch and hold food particles,the owner must pay attention to oral hygiene. Always consult your veterinarian torule out any potential malignancy.

Paying attention to your Boxer's oral hygiene will help you monitor his gumsfor signs of gingival hyperplasia.

Heart Disease

Like most breeds of dogs, Boxers are subject to heart ailments. These includecongenital anomalies as well as acquired disease later in life. Boxer heart diseaseusually falls into two categories: aortic stenosis and cardiomyopathy.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a developmental disease of the hip joint affecting many breeds of dogs,including Boxers. The head of the femur (thigh bone) and the acetabulum (hip socket)become incompatible; the joint weakens and loses proper function. Reluctance to engagein strenuous physical activity, lameness and pain are all possible signs of hip dysplasia,usually manifested between the ages of 4 months to 1 year. Stair climbing or risingfrom a sitting or lying position may be difficult, and the dog may cry out if thehip joint is manipulated. Radiographs are definitively diagnostic and will show evidenceof abnormal joint laxity. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms of pain and includesdrug therapy and surgery. Hip dysplasia is believed to be hereditary, but other factorssuch as diet and conditioning cannot be ruled out. Dogs older than 24 months canbe evaluated by and registered with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) inColumbia, Missouri (see chapter 9 for the address).

Hypothyroidism (Thyroid Deficiency)

The onset of hypothyroidism in the adult Boxer is becoming more commonly diagnosed.Hypothyroidism may be caused by thyroid tumors or a primary malfunction of the gland.Symptoms may include excessive hair thinning and loss, obesity, anemia, reproductivefailures and infertility and lethargy. Diagnosis is confirmed by testing the bloodand confirming inadequate levels of circulating thyroid hormones. The administrationof carefully determined doses of replacement hormone will alleviate most symptomsand will probably need to be given for the balance of the dog's life.


ADVANTAGES OF SPAYING/NEUTERING

The greatest advantage of spaying (for females) or neutering (for males) your dog is that you are guaranteed your dog will not produce puppies. There are too many puppies already available for too few homes. There are other advantages as well.

Advantages of Spaying

No messy heats.

No "suitors" howling at your windows or waiting in your yard.

No risk of pyometra (disease of the uterus) and decreased incidences of mammary cancer.

Advantages of Neutering

Decreased incidences of fighting, but does not affect the dog's personality.

Decreased roaming in search of bitches in season.

Decreased incidences of many urogenital diseases.




FIRST AID

First aid is not a substitute for professional care, though it can help save adog's life.

To Stop Bleeding

Bleeding from a severe cut or wound must be stopped rig ht away. There are twobasic techniques--direct pressure and the tourniquet.

Try to control bleeding first by using direct pressure. Ask an assistant to holdthe injured Boxer and place several pads of sterile gauze over the wound. Press.Do not wipe the wound or apply any cleansers or ointments. Apply firm, even pressure.If blood soaks through the pad, do not remove it as this could disrupt clotting.Simply place another pad on top and continue to apply pressure.

If bleeding on a leg or the tail does not stop by applying pressure, try usinga tourniquet. Use this only as a last resort. A tourniquet that is left on too longcan result in limb loss.

If the dog is bleeding from his mouth or anus, or vomits or defecates blood, hemay be suffering from internal injuries. Do not attempt to stop bleeding. Call theveterinarian right away for emergency treatment.

Shock

Whenever a dog is injured or is seriously ill, the odds are good that he willgo into shock. A decreased supply of oxygen to the tissues usually results in unconsciousness;pale gums; weak, rapid pulse; and labored, rapid breathing. If not treated, a dogwill die from shock. The conditions of the dog should continue to be treated, butthe dog should be as comfortable as possible. A dog in shock needs immediate veterinarycare.

Poisoning

Unfortunately, many substances are poisonous to dogs, including household products,plants or chemicals. Owners must learn to act quickly if poisoning is suspected becausethe results can be deadly.

If your dog appears to be poisoned:

  • Call your veterinarian and follow his or her directions.
  • Try to identify the poison source--t his is really important. Take the container or plant to the clinic.
  • Induce vomiting if you are sure the dog has ingested a poisonous substance, and if you are sure the substance is not kerosene, turpentine, drain cleaner, tranquilizers or sharp objects, or that more than two hours has passed since the poison was swallowed.
  • Do not try to induce vomiting in a semi- or unconscious animal.
  • Transport the dog to the clinic as directed by the vet. Bring with you the telephone number for the National Animal Poison Control Center (see sidebar in this chapter for more information).

A dog's curiosity will often lead him to eat or lick things he shouldn't.


POISON ALERT

If your dog has ingested a potentially poisonous substance, waste no time. Call the National Animal Poison Control Center hot line:

(800) 548-2423 ($30 per case) or

(900) 680-0000 ($20 first five minutes; $2.95 each additional minute)




Heatstroke

Heatstroke can be deadly and must be treated immediately to save the dog. Signsinclude rapid panting, darker-than-usual gums and tongue, salivating, exhaustionor vomiting. The dog's body temperature is elevated, sometimes as high as 106°F.If the dog is not treated, coma and death can follow.

If heatstroke is suspected, cool down your overheated dog as quickly as possible.Mildly affected dogs can be moved to a cooler environment, into an air-conditionedhome, for example, or wrapped in moistened towels. Call your veterinarian immediately.

Insect Bites/Stings

Just li ke people, dogs can suffer bee stings and insect bites. Bees, wasps andyellow jackets leave a nasty, painful sting, and if your dog is stung repeatedly,shock can occur.

If an insect bite is suspected, try to identify the culprit. Remove the stingerif it is a bee sting, and apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the sting.It is also a good idea to apply ice packs to reduce inflammation and ease pain. Callyour veterinarian, especially if your dog seems ill or goes into shock.


WHEN TO CALL THE VETERINARIAN

In any emergency situation, you should call your veterinarian immediately. Try to stay calm when you call, and give the vet or the assistant as much information as possible before you leave for the clinic. That way, the staff will be able to take immediate, specific action when you arrive. Emergencies include:

Bleeding or deep wounds

Hyperthermia (overheating)

Shock

Dehydration

Abdominal pain

Burns

Fits

Unconsciousness

Broken bones

Paralysis

Call your veterinarian if you suspect any health troubles.


Regular veterinary checkups, daily exercise, balanced nutrition and a lot ofold-fashioned TLC will help keep your Boxer happy and healthy.

INTERNAL PARASITES

Dogs are susceptible to several internal parasites. Keeping your Boxer free ofinternal parasites is another important aspect of health care.

Watch for general signs of poor condition: a dull haircoat, weight loss, lethargy,coughing, weakness and diarrhea.

For proper diagnosis and treatment of internal parasites, consult a veterinarian.

Roundworms

Roundworms, or ascarids, are probably the most common worms that affect dogs.Most puppies are born with these organisms in their intestines, which is why youngstersare treated for these parasites as soon as it is safe to do so.

Animals contract roundworms by ingesting soil and feces, or by ingesting chicken,rodent or other animal tissues that are contaminated with roundworm eggs. A roundworminfestation can rob vital nutrients from young puppies and cause diarrhea, vomitingand digestive upset. Roundworms can also harm a young animal's liver and lungs, sotreatment is imperative.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms are commonly transmitted by fleas to dogs. Tapeworm eggs enter the bodyof a canine host when the animal accidentally ingests a carrier flea. The parasitesettles in the intestines, where it sinks its head into the intestinal wall and feedsoff material the host is digesting. The worm grows a body of egg packets, which breakoff periodically and are expelled from the body in the feces. Fleas then ingest theeggs from the feces and the parasite's life cycle begins all over again.

Hookworms

Hookworms are so named because they hook onto an animal's small intestine andsuck the host's blood. Like roundworms, hookworms are contracted when a dog ingestscontaminated soil or feces.

Hookworms can be especially devastating to dogs. They will become thin and sick;puppies can die. An affected dog will suffer from bloody diarrhea and, if the parasitesmigrate to the lungs, the dog may contract bronchitis or pneumonia.

Hookworms commonly strike puppies 2 to 8 weeks of age and are less common in adultdogs.

Whipworms

Known for their thread-like appearance, whipworms attach into the wall of thelarge intestine to feed. Thick-shelled eggs are passed in the feces and in abouttwo to four weeks are mature and able to reinfect a host that ingests the eggs.

Mild whipworm infestation is often without signs, but as the worms grow, weightloss, bloody diarrhea and anemia follow. In areas where the soil is heavily contaminated,frequent checks are advised to prevent severe infestation.

Heartworms

Heartworms are transmitted by the ordinary mosquito, but the effects are far fromordinary. Infection begins when the larvae from an infected mosquito are laid onthe dog's skin. They burrow into the skin, or are ingested when the dog licks. Inthree to four months, the larvae (microfilaria) become small worms and make theirway to a vein, where they are transported to the heart. The worms burrow into theheart, grow and reproduce.

At first, a dog with heartworms is free of symptoms. The signs vary, but the mostcommon is a deep cough and shortness of breath. The dog tires easily, is weak andloses weight. Eventually, the dog may suffer from congestive heart failure.

EXTERNAL PARASITES

FLEAS--Besides carrying tapeworm larvae, fleas bite and suck the host'sblood. Their bites itch and are extremely annoying to dogs, especially if the dogis hypersensitive to the bite. Fleas must be eliminated on the dog with special shampoosand dips. Fleas also infest the dog's bedding and the owner's home and yard.

Three types of ticks (l-r): the wood tick, brown dog tick and deer tick.

TICKS--Several varieties of ticks attach themselves to dogs, where theyburrow into the skin and suck blood. Ticks can be carriers of several diseases, includingLyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.


FLEAS AND TICKS

There are so many safe, effective products available now to combat fleas and ticks that--thankfully--they are less of a problem. Prevention is key, however. Ask your veterinarian about starting your puppy on a flea/tick repellent right away. With this, regular grooming and environmental controls, your dog and your home should stay pest-free. Without this attention, you risk infesting your dog and your home, and you're in for an ugly and costly battle to clear up the problem.


LICE--Lice are not common in dogs, but when they are present they causeintense irritation and itching. There are two types: biting and sucking. Biting licefeed on skin scales, and sucking lice feed on blood.

MITES--There are several types of mites that cause several kinds of mange,including sarcoptic, demodectic and cheyletiella. These microscopic mites cause intenseitching and misery to the dog.


What's Wrong with My Dog?

W e've listed some common symptoms of health problems and their possible causes.If any of the following symptoms appear serious or persist for more than 24 hours,make an appointment to see your veterinarian immediately.

CONDITIONS/POSSIBLE CAUSES

DIARRHEA   Intestinal upset, typically caused by eating somethingbad or over-eating. Can also be a viral infection, a bad case of nerves or anxietyor a para site infection. If you see blood in the feces, get to the vet right away.

VOMITING/RETCHING   Dogs regurgitate fairly regularly (bitches for theiryoung), whenever something upsets their stomachs, or even out of excitement or anxiety.Often dogs eat grass, which, because it's indigestible in its pure form, irritatestheir stomachs and causes them to vomit. Getting a good look at what yourdog vomited can better indicate what's causing it.

COUGHING   Obstruction in the throat; virus (kennel cough); roundworminfestation; congestive heart failure.

RUNNY NOSE   Because dogs don't catch colds like people, a runny noseis a sign of congestion or irritation.

LOSS OF APPETITE   Because most dogs are hearty and regular eaters,a loss of appetite can be your first and most accurate sign of a serious problem.

LOSS OF ENERGY (LETHARGY)   Any number of things could be slowing downyour dog, from an infection to internal tumors to overexercise--even overeating.

STINKY BREATH   Imagine if you never brushed your teeth! Foul-smellingbreath indicates plaque and tartar buildup that could possibly have caused infection.Start brushing your dog's teeth.

LIMPING   This could be caused by something as simple as a hurt or bruisedpad, to something as complicated as hip dysplasia, torn ligaments or broken bones.

CONSTANT ITCHING   Probably due to fleas, mites or an allergic reactionto food or environment (your vet will need to help you determine what your dog'sallergic to).

RED, INFLAMED, ITCHY SPOTS   Often referred to as "hot spots,"these are particularly common on coated breeds. They're caused by a bacterial infectionthat gets aggravated as the dog licks and bites at the spot.

BALD SPOTS   These are the result of excessive itching or biting atthe skin so that the hair follicles are damaged; excessively dry skin; mange; calluses;and even infections. You need to determine what the underlying cause is.

STINKY EARS/HEAD SHAKING   Take a look under your dog's ear flap. Doyou see brown, waxy build-up? Clean the ears with something soft and a special cleaner,and don't use cotton swabs or go too deep into the ear canal.

UNUSUAL LUMPS   Could be fatty tissue, could be something serious (infection,trauma, tumor). Don't wait to find out.




THE AGING BOXER

Canine geriatric medicine has made great advances over the years. Full and happylives can often be prolonged by appropriate medical treatments designed to rejuvenateand relieve the stress from failing organ systems.

Symptoms of Aging

While most Boxers tend to act youthful all their lives, your elder statesman maydecline to run and play as he once did. He may develop arthritis; if he sufferedany skeletal or joint injuries in his life, they may begin to cause him discomfort.He may have difficulty rising or exhibit intermittent lameness. There are excellentpain remedies for these problems that can be prescribed by your veterinarian.

Geriatric Boxers require the same amount of attention and care as younger dogs.

Your own responsibilities to the geriatric dog are mostly a matter of good commonsense. He should not be allowed to become obese. If your Boxer seems inclined totear around as if he were a puppy, but you know that he has a fragile knee jointor spinal arthritis or a bad heart, limit his exercise within sensible parameters.Give him a nice soft bed to lie on. And above all, keep up his grooming, keep histoenails trimmed and make him feel that he is still a valued member of the household.

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