Bull Mastiffs

The Bull Mastiff is a big, strong, intelligent dog that was originally bred from an English Mastiff and an Old English Bulldog in the 19th Century. Gamekeepers used them on large estates to help keep them free of poachers.

Even though Bull Mastiffs are big dogs they are sensitive, loving and can make good family pets because they are very loyal and protective.  They are great with children and will watch over them as well as being an excellent guardian of the home.  Bull Mastiffs are generally quiet and rarely bark, however, if they sense a possible threat they will make a lot of noise and will raise the alarm.  They are very territorial so will make natural guard dogs and they will protect you with their life.

When you read about Bull Mastiffs they sound wonderful. They are laid back, unless there is danger, faithful, eager to please, fearless and have unconditional love for people. However, there is one BIG messy downside………………SLOBBER!

These dogs are well known for their drool and slobber so you will need to have an old towel or rag in every room of the house. Also, have a few spare ones near the front door so you can give them to visitors who enter your home.  They do not discriminate when it comes to sharing the slobber.

Due to their size and stubborn nature, Bull Mastiffs need training from early on before they get too big. They need to be trained not to pull on the lead.  Also, it is good to socialise it with other dogs at an early age so it develops into a reliable and well behaved dog.

bull mastiff dog

Health Issues

As with most dogs there are certain types of hereditary problems associated with this breed such as Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Entropion, Hypothyroidism, Lymphoma Cancer, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Arthritis and Bloat.

For more information on some of these issues we have other blogs on our website and also our health advice pages. The links are below.  Also, as well as our main Facebook page we have a sister page which relates to our Orthopaedic Services and covers issues such as Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia.  Click here and it will take you directly to the page. Please click the “like” button so you can keep up to date with information about the subject.

If you have any questions about this please give us a call at the clinic where someone will be able to help you. Alternatively, you can leave a question on our Facebook page

Blog Links

Hyp Dysplasia Part 1 – Click HERE

Hyp Dysplasia Part 2 – Click HERE

Elbow Dysplasia – Click HERE

Cruciate Ligament Rupture – Click HERE

Arthritis – Click HERE

Bloat – Click HERE

The Rottweiler

Rottweilers originate from Germany and Italy & were originally used for herding and as guard dogs. The Roman army had dogs to protect the soldiers & herds and in Rottweil in Germany they interbred with more local dogs to form a larger dog. They continued to be used for herding & breeding but numbers went into decline during the 1800’s. They started a comeback in the early 20th century & are now a popular breed often used for working.

Rottweilers are a big powerful muscular dog with a broad & deep chest. They have many of the traits associated with GSD’s – trainable, courageous & devoted to their owners. They are loyal and protective of their owners and willing to fight fiercely if they are threatened. Despite their size & powerful frame, they can be good around children and other pets. The best way to ensure this is to start early socialisation and training as a puppy.

Most of a dogs behavioural traits are formed in their first few weeks and it is important at this early stage to introduce the Rottie to all the sights and sounds of your home. Children need to be taught to respect the puppy & vice versa. When buying a puppy, check to see if the breeder has started their socialisation. Are they a well known, recognised breeder of Rotties that has invested time with the pups. Rottie’s can sense how a person is feeling, if they are afraid, irritated, angry, calm.

As with the GSD, they have been used extensively by the police and military because of their obedience & trainability. They need a lot of exercise and will not want to be kept cooped up in doors for long periods alone. They will make an ideal companion for a run through the forest or a leisurely bike ride. They are also slow to mature and up to two years is not unusual.

They live about 10 to 12 years and below we consider some of the commoner problems we see in Rottweilers. Obviously we can see many other problems with them but these are some of the ones they are susceptible to

Skin problems:

Allergic skin disease including food allergies and atopy (environmental allergies)
Canine acne

Gastrointestinal disease

Parvovirus infected- a fatal disease we routinely vaccinate against
Inflammatory bowel disease causing diarrhoea

Musculoskeletal conditions

Hip and Elbow dysplasia
Cranial Cruciate Ligament rupture
Osteosarcoma- bone cancer
Cancers of the toes

Neurological Problems

Meningitis
Various polyneuropathy- diseases affecting multiple nerves in the body that affect the ability to walk and move

Eye Problems

Entropion- curling in of eyelid
Distichiasis- extra eyelashes
Inherited eye problems including cataracts, retinal atrophy and retinal dysplasia

Rottweilers can make a wonderful family pet, but whilst they look cute & cuddly as a puppy, it must be remembered that they will reach 100lb in weight and be more powerful than any family member. Training is essential, needs to be started at an early age and continue through its lifetime.

Breed related diseases in Dogs – Labrador

Breed related diseases in Dogs.

Welcome to our new series of blogs on breed related disease in pedigree dogs. Unfortunately, certain pedigree dogs are prone to certain diseases. We thought these guides would be helpful for people who own the breeds so that they can be more aware of some of the diseases their pet may suffer from and will be able to pick up the symptoms of disease more rapidly. We also thought they would be useful for people thinking of buying a specific breed so that they can be aware of some of the problems that may exist.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of all the diseases that each breed can get- just the more common ones that we see regularly.

So, to start with, let’s look at the Labrador Retriever:

  • Allergic skin disease including Atopy and Food allergies
  • Hip dysplasia (animals used for breeding should be screened for)
  • Elbow dysplasia (animals used for breeding should be screened for)
  • OCD of hock and shoulder
  • Cruciate ligament rupture
  • Lipomas
  • Entropion
  • Cataracts
  • Congenital eye defects such as Generalise progressive retinal atrophy (animals used for breeding should be screened)
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Ectopic ureters

If you have any questions about any of the above, please feel free to contact the staff to discuss them.

The Vets Says – Elbow Dysplasia

ELBOW DYSPLASIA

Elbow dysplasia is another developmental problem some dogs can be prone to. German Shepherds, Labrador Retreivers,Rottweilers and Bassett Hounds are some of the breeds we see most commonly with this condition.

Normal Elbow Anatomy
The elbow joint is formed where the 3 long bones of the foreleg meet; namely the humerus (runs from shoulder to elbow) and radius and ulna (run from elbow to carpus or wrist). All bone ends are covered in smooth articular cartilage and the joint is surrounded by a tough joint capsule. The synovial membrane lines the joint and produces the lubricating synovial fluid.
The ulna has a number of bony prominences on it.These include the anconeal process and the coronoid process.

WHAT IS ELBOW DYSPLASIA
Elbow dysplasia is an abnormal development of the elbow joint. Elbow dysplasia is a group of diseases that include osteochondrosis, fragmented coronoid process (FCP) and united anconeal process(UAP). Basically, some of the normal bony prominences that develop in the elbow are diseased.  There is strong evidence of a hereditary component in the German Shepherd dog and FCP and UAP are particularly common. As with hip dysplasia Xrays of potential breeding stock is recommended to screen for the disease. This appears to be done very infrequently despite the fact that like hip dysplasia mildly affected dogs can appear normal most of the time.

CLINICAL SIGNS
Dogs with elbow dysplasia show signs of front leg lameness. This may be in one or both legs as the disease often affects both elbows. Often there are signs of stiffness after rest. The lameness often gets worse with exercise. Often a relatively minor trauma to the elbow can flare up clinical signs.

DIAGNOSIS
On examination the vet may feel thickening of the elbow joints and pain on movement. Assessment of foreleg lameness can be very difficult if both legs are affected.
Xrays are the next step. They usually need to be done under general anaesthetic as perfectly positioned xrays are needed to recognise characteristic changes that are often very subtle.
Even then, a definite diagnosis may not be possible from xrays. Often the only changes visible are those caused by arthritis that usually occurs in dysplastic elbows very early on in the disease. Immature dogs with evidence of elbow arthritis often have elbow dysplasia.
Sometimes arthroscopy (looking directly into the joint with a special piece of equipment) is needed to diagnose elbow dysplasia. With this equipment the cartilage surfaces and bony prominences can be directly viewed.

TREATMENT
The major part of the decision making process in treating elbow dysplasia is whether to operate or not. Due to the abnormal development of the joint and so abnormal forces going through the bones osteoarthritis is an envitable sequel to elbow dysplasia. The decision is whether osteoarthritic change will happen faster with or without surgery.
Medical treatment is aimed at managing the secondary osteoarthritis.Often surgery is needed. Surgical removal of diseased bone and cartilage usually results in improvement in the lameness. This may be done via the arthroscope or by opening the joint up surgically. Arthroscopy (sometimes called keyhole surgery) is less traumatic than opening the joint up completely but it is more difficult to view all the areas of concern. Ultimately it is the surgeon’s choice.

Despite surgery, arthritis will tend to continue and ongoing medical treatment is likely.

Summary
Elbow dysplasia is a common and serious disease affecting many dogs. Radiographic screening programmes are becoming more widely available to detect affected dogs. Dogs affected with elbow dysplasia should not be bred from.