Mastiffs are known for their imposing size and gentle disposition. These friendly giants, though generally healthy, are predisposed to specific health issues often seen in large breeds. Here are five common health issues in Mastiffs and the signs to look out for.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Like many large breeds, Mastiffs are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, conditions characterized by abnormal development of these joints. Over time, it can lead to discomfort, pain, or even arthritis. Signs of dysplasia can include difficulty standing up, limping, a reluctance to run, jump, or climb stairs, and an unusual gait. Maintaining a healthy weight and providing low-impact exercises like swimming can help manage the condition.
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)
GDV, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening condition that can affect large, deep-chested breeds like Mastiffs. It occurs when the stomach fills with gas and may twist on itself, preventing gas from escaping and restricting blood flow. Symptoms include a distended abdomen, restlessness, drooling, and unsuccessful attempts to vomit. GDV is a veterinary emergency requiring immediate attention.
Due to their large size and love for lounging, Mastiffs are prone to obesity. Extra weight can exacerbate joint issues and lead to other health problems like diabetes and heart disease. Monitor your Mastiff’s diet carefully and ensure they get regular, moderate exercise. If your dog is gaining excessive weight, it may be time for a diet adjustment and an increase in physical activity.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
PRA is a group of genetic diseases that cause the retina’s gradual deterioration, leading to impaired vision and potential blindness. Early signs may include night blindness or difficulty navigating in low light. While there’s currently no cure for PRA, antioxidant supplements may help slow the disease’s progression.
Cystinuria is a genetic condition that affects the kidneys, leading to the formation of cystine stones in the urinary tract. Symptoms include frequent urination, blood in the urine, or straining to urinate. In severe cases, it can lead to a urinary blockage or a medical emergency. Treatment typically involves dietary modifications, increased water intake, and in some cases, surgery.
In conclusion, as a Mastiff owner, being aware of these common health issues is essential. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and appropriate exercise are paramount to your Mastiff’s health. Your Mastiff depends on you to know when something’s wrong. Understanding these issues helps you provide the best possible care for your loyal companion, ensuring they live a long and healthy life.