Bullmastiff Health.


As a breed, the amount of health issues that affect the Bullmastiff are relatively small compared to some breeds, but there definitely are a few issues that occur with more regularity than we would like to see. These are listed below, as well as more information, and ways of minimising these risks, so your Bullmastiff has the longest, healthiest life possible.

The most common cancers seen in Bullmastiffs are Lymphosarcoma, Osteosarcoma, Hemangiosarcoma, and Mast Cell Tumours. The risks of cancer can be greatly minimised, particularly by reducing or eliminating any unnecessary drugs or chemicals being used on or around your Bullmastiff.  Use natural remedies and treatments wherever possible. Keep use of garden sprays, insecticides, pesticides, and strong house hold chemicals to a minimum, and where possible avoid using them at all.

Consider not putting any chemical on your Bullmastiff's skin that you wouldn't use on yourselves or your human children. If there is a reason not to put it on your own skin, commonsense dictates that it probably isn't sensible to put it on your dog's skin either.

Also seriously consider the diet of your Bullmastiff. Feeding junk food, sugary foods, milk, and large amounts of carbohydrates are all sure-fire ways of increasing the risk of your dog developing cancer, and can feed any cancers already developed. It is still possible to give your dog treats, but use sensible treats, not sugary ones that will have no health benefits at all.

The weight of your dog is also a large factor in whether or not he or she will develop cancer. Overweight dogs are 50% more likely to develop cancer, so please keep your pets at their ideal weight. Slightly lean is better than slightly overweight.

Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture
Cruciate ligament tears are the most common cause of hind limb lameness in dogs. Please be aware and minimise risks that could cause this to happen. NO ball games or chasing games as the quick sudden changes in movement doing these types of activities put a lot of strain on the knee joint and it is the most common way of rupturing the cruciate ligaments. When one ligament ruptures there is a fifty percent chance of the other ligament rupturing within a year and it will cost approximately four thousand dollars to repair, per ligament, and there will be months of recuperation time. Please click here for more information on the rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament.
Distichiasis is a condition of the eyelids that Bullmastiffs are prone to, where small eyelashes grow in the abnormal position on the inner surface of the eyelid. These hairs may rub against the cornea of the eye and cause irritation, that in time can cause irreversible damage; although this is not always the case. Sometimes the hairs may not touch the surface of the eye, so may cause no problems at all. Signs there are a problem are excessive blinking or squinting. The extra hairs can show up on the upper or lower lids, and may appear at any time in a dog's life, so regular checks are advised. Breeders must watch out for distichiasis, and avoid breeding dogs with this condition, as it is an inherited trait. Breeders should consider having their litters checked by an ophthalmologist so the presence of any distichiasis can be taken into consideration when deciding which puppy to keep for their breeding programme.

If treatment is required for distichiasis, the most common treatment involves surgery and involves anaesthetic. The inner surface of the eyelid is cut to remove the hairs and the follicles, so they cannot grow back. No stitches are required, but antibiotic eye drops are usually prescribed to avoid any infection arising.

Entropion is the inward rolling of the eyelids. Entropion can be inherited, but it can also occur due to trauma to the eye. Inherited entropion usually occurs before the age of twelve months, but it can also show up later in large breeds of dogs. Because of the genetic nature of eyelid disorders, dogs with entropion (unless it has been caused by trauma) should not be bred.

Treatment of entropion involves surgery, and this surgery should only be undertaken by a specialist ophthalmologist. Please click here for more information on entropion.

Hip & Elbow Dysplasia

Both diet and exercise combined, as well as where your puppy/dog sleeps and lies all have an impact on their bones and joints, so by being sensible you can reduce the risks of your dog developing hip and elbow dysplasia. Hip dysplasia, for example, is considered to be approximately 25 - 35% genetic, other factors that can cause dysplasia are environmental so the environment you provide your dog is of utmost importance.

EXERCISE - Never vigorously exercise your puppy, and he or she should not be allowed to become over-tired.  Your pup will run and play at its own pace.  Long walks on the lead should be avoided while your pup is growing, as should any jarring movements such as running up and down stairs, running downhill or down stairs, chasing sticks or balls, jumping from heights, or out of utes unassisted, etc. 

Bullmastiffs, like many large dogs, are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, so by monitoring your puppy’s exercise, and not letting your dog overdo it, this risk will be minimised.  Very short walks can slowly be built up over time, so your dog gradually develops muscle in a controlled way.

Although short sessions on the lead around home, the park, the beach, etc., are good to get your puppy used to the lead and also good socialisation, we recommend you do not take your pup for long walks at all before six months of age.  Never walk your dog until he or she becomes tired, especially before two years of age, as this is when damage is done to the bones and joints of your puppy.

DIET - The Dominion Bullmastiff Club recommends Orijen - Healthy and Natural Pet Food. The amount of food you will feed your puppy will depend on which type of food you decide to feed.  Please do not let your Bullmastiff become too fat.  Fat dogs are more likely to develop problems with bones and joints.  You should always be able to feel your puppy’s ribs easily, but not see them.  Your puppy should have a good coating of fat over the ribs but still have a definite waist line when you are looking down from above.

BEDDING - Please provide your puppy/dog with a very soft comfortable bed. Do not expect your Bullmastiff to lie on the concrete or hard flooring, even carpet, to sleep on at night, especially in winter. Provide a thick, soft, warm and comfortable layer of bedding.

By being sensible and carefully considering the above needs of your Bullmastiff, you increase the chances of him or her having a long, healthy, and pain free life, and reduce the risks of expensive vet bills.


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