At present and after so many years of hardship, the Mastiff seems finally able to face the future in a positive way. Although the breed is still relatively not very popular worldwide, dog breeders working on its improvement do it with a sense of responsibility; they are aware of the importance of keeping the breed alive
Below we have listed some of the most common diseases that happen in Mastiffs.
An auto-immune illness is one in which the immune system over-acts and does not recognize affected parts of the body; rather, the immune system starts to react as if these parts were foreign and need to be destroyed. An example is rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs when the body does not recognize the joints, thus leading to a very painful and damaging reaction in the joints. This has nothing to do with age, so can occur in young dogs.
Lupus is an auto-immune disease that affects dogs. It can take variable forms, affecting the kidneys, bones and the skin. It can be fatal, so is treated with steroids, which can themselves have very significant side effects. The steroids calm down the allergic reaction to the body’s tissues, which helps the lupus, but they also decrease the body’s reaction to real foreign substances such as bacteria, and also thin the skin and bone.
Mange and Eczema
There are two kinds of mange; and although it is popularly considered common among mastiffs, it is comparatively rare, and what is generally mistaken for it is eczema. Both forms of mange are purely local parasitic diseases, whereas eczema, in many instances, has a constitutional origin, and from this fact it readily appears how absolutely useless it would often be to apply the treatment of one to the other.
The most common form of mange is the “sarcoptic,” the actual existing cause of which is a minute and almost microscopic insect. This parasite draws nourishment from the skin and causes intense itching, which, in turn, incites scratching and develops the disease known as eczema.
Although acne is rare in most dogs, the Mastiff has bouts of acne just like teenage humans. Acne is very usual in young Mastiffs, between the ages of 4 and 18 months. It appears in both dogs and bitches and, like human acne, is directly related to hormonal activity. These unattractive pimples usually appear during the rapid-growth stages, the pup’s transition from puppyhood to puberty. In the case of bitches, pimples usually appear immediately before a heat period, or during pregnancy, whelping and lactation. Acne breaks out in the area surrounding the chin or the lips and in the lateral sides of the flews. Although some people recommend the use of anti-inflammatory products with cortisone, I personally do not feel that such treatment is necessary. Acne is a natural process that only occurs under specific conditions and is a fairly controlled problem. Fortunately, owners don’t have to deal with the embarrassment that usually accompanies these unsightly pimples. No one is going to tease your Mastiff pup at obedience school! It is recommended that the owner clean the affected area twice or three times a day with hydrogen peroxide on a piece of gauze. Never use cotton balls or pads, as the fibers tend to adhere to the blemishes. If the pimples erupt and begin to look infected, a few drops of Betadine should be immediately applied. In a few days, the acne will have disappeared without leaving any further trace.
The belief that every dog must have this disease is a popular one, as is the delusion that every child is fated to suffer from scarlet fever, measles, whooping-cough, and the like. As in all infectious diseases, distemper is preventable and might be stamped out of existence; but its nature, the ways in which it is transmitted, and the essential means of prevention, are but little understood by the average dog- owner. Considering these facts, also that it is highly infectious, it is not surprising that a large proportion of dogs sometime in their lives fall victims to the malady.
Distemper never occurs in a dog unless he takes it, directly or indirectly, from another dog suffering from it. In other words, for every case of the disease there must be a previous case, as is true of small-pox, typhoid fever, scarlet fever, measles, and many other infectious diseases peculiar to the human race.
The symptoms of distemper begin to present themselves in from four to fourteen days after exposure to contagion. Generally the first noted are dullness, a disinclination to exertion, partial loss of appetite, and chilly sensations, which are indicated by shivering. Then rapidly follow the manifestations of a common cold sneezing, dry, husky cough, and a discharge from the nose and eyes. The discharge is at first purulent, gluing the eyelids together and drying around the nostrils in crusts. There is also more or less fever, which is noticeable when the back of the hand is placed between the thighs.
Number-One Killer Disease in Dogs: CANCER
In every age, there is a word associated with a disease or plague that causes humans to shudder. In the 21st century, that word is “cancer.” Just as cancer is the leading cause of death in humans, it claims nearly half the lives of dogs that die from a natural disease as well as half the dogs that die over the age of ten years. Described as a genetic disease, cancer becomes a greater risk as the dog ages. Vets and dog owners have become increasingly aware of the threat of cancer to dogs.
Statistics reveal that one dog in every five will develop cancer, the most common of which is skin cancer. Many cancers, including prostate, ovarian and breast cancer, can be avoided by spaying and neutering our dogs by the age of six months. Early detection of cancercan save or extend a dog’s life, so it is absolutely vital for owners to have their dogs examined by a qualified vet or oncologist immediately upon detection of any abnormality. Certain dietary guidelines have also proven to reduce the onset and spread of cancer. Cancer management and treatments promise hope for future generations of canines. Since the disease is genetic, breeders should never breed a dog whose parents, grandparents and any related siblings have developed cancer. It is difficult to know whether to exclude an otherwise healthy dog from a breeding program, as the disease does not manifest itself until the dog’s senior years.