GENERAL HEALTH ISSUES
The health problems of the Neapolitan Mastiff are due to two main factors. Firstly the Neo shares the problems of all large breeds- hips, hearts, and heat. Secondly today's Neos are decendants of a small gene pool used in their reconstruction.
The heavy rolls of wrinkles on the dogs which are so desirous can sometimes cause problems around the eyes. Entropion, ectropion and Cherry eye is certainly seen in the breed.
BLOAT / TORSION
Bloating is very common in many large breeds. Gastric dilatation-volvulus, or bloat and torsion, are conditions that can strike suddenly and fatally.
Bloating is a condition in which there is a rapid accumulation of air in the stomach causing dilatation.
Volvulus, or torsion, occurs when the dilated stomach twists on itself, cutting off the oesophagus at one end, and the small intestine at the other. This isolates the stomach and traps air. The very enlarged, twisted stomach puts pressure on the blood vessels, often twisting them in the abdominal cavity, impairing blood flow back to the heart. Because the heart receives an insufficient amount of blood to pump, blood flow to the rest of the body is decreased. With this, there is the fairly acute onset of death of the tissues that are deprived of oxygen, including the stomach wall which rapidly undergoes necrosis.
The early signs of bloat and torsion include severe discomfort and pain. The dog paces or repeatedly gets up and lies down again. There is also excessive salivation, panting, and unsuccessful attempts to vomit. Shock follows and often dogs then go into a coma, and death follows.
Overexertion, before or after a meal, can lead to bloat, torsion, and death. In Neo's we strongly believe that stress can be a huge factor causing this condition as well. Owners are advised to feed the dogs presoaked kibble, thereby limiting the swelling of the pellets inside the stomach. Separation from other dogs during feedings is recommended to reduce the Neo's desire to consume the entire bowlful at once. We also raise the feeding level about 30 cms.
Allergies such as Demodex results in a loss of hair with redness and rash like pimples. If Neo's are kept clean and parasite-free, they do not really have problems with their skin. In South Africa we have very hot and dry climate, so we rarely see skin conditions.
HIP AND ELBOW DISPLAYSIA
Canine hip dysplasia is a very common joint disease affecting especially large and giant breeds as the Neo. Mastiffs are not Terriers, so their hips tend to be looser in general. An excellent hip rating is normally uncommon. Mild to moderate hip dysplasia is an unwelcome but all too common reality in the Neapolitan Mastiff.
Large breed puppies take a long time to grow. Throughout the growing process the developing bones are easily damaged with rough play, improper exercise and incorrect nutrition. Excess exercise, at any age, is to be avoided. Rough-housing with a pup, either by children or older dogs, can lead to permanent injury to the hips and elbows. If you think that your dog should go on long runs with you, get a different breed. Most breeders will even recommend against frequent trips up and down the home stair case.
All our breeding dogs are Hip- and elbow dysplasia tested and certified, and we are very happy to say that basically our entire kennel are dysplasia free.
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