Bullmastiffs are noble, protective dogs revered for their loyalty and imposing stature. As a breed, they are generally healthy but are prone to specific health issues typical of large dog breeds. Knowledge about these conditions and their signs is essential in ensuring your Bullmastiff’s optimal health. Here are five of the most common health issues to look out for in Bullmastiffs.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Dysplasia refers to an abnormal development, in this case, in the hip and elbow joints. These conditions are common in larger breeds like Bullmastiffs and can lead to painful arthritis or lameness. Signs may include difficulty in standing up, reluctance to run, jump, or climb stairs, and a “bunny hop” gait. Regular, moderate exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help manage the symptoms.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. In Bullmastiffs, it can cause various symptoms including lethargy, obesity, mental dullness, and irregular heart cycles in females. The coat may become thin and brittle, and the skin may become tough and dark. Hypothyroidism is diagnosed by a blood test and can be effectively managed with daily medication.
Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the eye surface, leading to irritation, excessive tearing, and squinting. If left untreated, it can cause ulcers in the eye, resulting in pain and decreased vision. Treatment for this condition is surgical correction, ideally performed once the dog has reached its adult size.
Bloat or Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV)
GDV is a life-threatening condition common in deep-chested dogs like Bullmastiffs. It occurs when the dog’s stomach fills with gas and potentially twists, trapping the gas inside. This can lead to a rapid drop in blood pressure, shock, and if not treated promptly, death. Signs include a bloated abdomen, restlessness, drooling, and attempts to vomit without producing anything. If you observe these signs, seek immediate veterinary attention.
Mast Cell Tumors
Bullmastiffs are more susceptible to Mast Cell Tumors, a form of skin cancer than other breeds. These tumors can vary in appearance, but any new lumps or bumps on your Bullmastiff should be checked by a vet. Other signs might include swelling, redness, and ulceration. Early detection and removal of these tumors are crucial, and other treatments may include radiation or chemotherapy.
In conclusion, being aware of the common health issues in Bullmastiffs is key to proactive pet care. Recognizing the early signs of these conditions can significantly enhance your pet’s quality of life and longevity. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for early diagnosis and treatment. Coupled with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a nurturing environment, you can ensure your Bullmastiff leads a happy, healthy life.