The health problems of the Neapolitan Mastiff are due to two main factors. Firstly the Neo shares the problems of all large breeds- hips, hearts, and heat. Secondly todays Neos are decendants of a small gene pool used in their "reconstruction".
Hypothyroidism does occur in this and many other breed of dogs. Some feel
that this defect is "part and parcel" of the Neo body type. This may be
their way of excusing a genetic defect in their lines of Neapolitan
Mastiffs. Many of the most "typey" Neos alive in Europe and the USA today
have healthy thyroid function and have no need of thyroxine
Mastiffs are not terriers and their hips tend to be looser in general. An excellent OFA rating is uncommon. Prospective puppy buyers should insist that the stud dog and bitch have had their hips evaluated by the O.F.A. Mild to moderate hip dysplasia is an unwelcome but all too common reality in the Neapolitan Mastiff.
Excess exercise, at any age, is to be avoided.
HOWEVER- buyer beware! Do not construe the above statements to excuse
those breeders that knowingly breed dysplastic or hypothyroid dogs! Many
Neos are very typey yet have very good hips and normal thyroid function!
Buyers should ask the breeders if the puppies' parents have been tested
and demand to see the written results.
Rough housing with a pup, either by children or older dogs, can lead to permanent injury to the hips and elbows. If you think that your dog should go on long runs with you, get a different breed. Most breeders will even recommend against frequent trips up and down the home stair case.
Panosteitis can occur in these rapidly growing pups. With a good diet (pref. that of Dr. Billinghurst's B.A.R.F. diet), rest, and tincture of time, many pups cease to show symptoms of this "wandering lameness" by their 15th month.
Overexertion, before or after a meal, can lead to torsion, bloat, and death. Owners are advised to feed the dogs presoaked mixer thereby limiting the swelling of the mixer feed inside the stomach. Separation from other dogs during feedings is recommended to reduce the Neo's desire to consume the entire bowlful at once. Always use a raised feeding table for your dogs water and food, which should be a minimum of 14 inches off the ground.
The Neapolitan Mastiff does not tolerate hot weather as well as one might imagine in that it originates from a Mediterranean country. Many breeders and owners reverse the pattern of care for their dogs during hot weather- keeping them inside the house during the day and allowing them to spend the cooler nights outside.
Prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid "cherry eye" is as common in the Neo as bad breath. Those with experience insist that removal of this tear gland is the only proper treatment.
The proceedure is best done under
general anesthesia by a Vet using Isoflurane gas rather than the less
costly but poorly tolerated Halothane gas. Many Vets, totally unfamiliar
with this breed, will insist upon "tacking" the gland back inside the
lower eyelid. In general, this does not last long and another surgery to
remove the gland must be done. Removal of the gland frequently costs less
than £120 and the post operative recovery is usually uneventful.
Skin problems are relatively rare in the Neapolitan Mastiff. When they do occur, they are often related to a low thyroid function.