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Bullmastiff Health Problems – 10 Most Common Health Issues

Bullmastiffs are robust and generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they have their vulnerabilities. Being large and muscular, they can sometimes experience orthopedic issues and their deep-chested build puts them at risk for certain digestive problems. However, responsible breeding practices and proper care can significantly mitigate these concerns.

10 Most Common Health Problems & Issues in Bullmastiffs

1. Hip Dysplasia: 

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit properly into the hip socket, leading to discomfort and eventually arthritis. 

  • Symptoms: Limping, difficulty getting up, decreased activity and bunny-hopping while running. 
  • Causes: Genetics, rapid growth, excessive weight and improper nutrition. 
  • Treatment: Management with weight control, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and sometimes surgery.
2. Gastric Torsion (Bloat): 

Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists on itself, trapping gas and fluids. 

  • Symptoms: Distended abdomen, unproductive retching, restlessness and rapid shallow breathing. 
  • Causes: Eating large meals quickly, exercising after eating and a hereditary predisposition.
  • Treatment: Immediate veterinary attention is crucial; treatment involves relieving gas pressure, untwisting the stomach and stabilizing the dog.
3. Entropion and Ectropion: 

Entropion is an inward rolling of the eyelids, while ectropion is an outward rolling, leading to eye irritation and potential infections. 

  • Symptoms: Squinting, tearing, redness and sensitivity to light. 
  • Causes: Genetics and breed predisposition. 
  • Treatment: Surgical correction is often required to prevent discomfort and potential vision problems.
4. Heart Conditions:

Bullmastiffs can develop heart issues such as dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart becomes enlarged and weakened. 

  • Symptoms: Coughing, labored breathing, lethargy and difficulty exercising. 
  • Causes: Genetic predisposition, poor diet and lack of exercise. 
  • Treatment: Medications, diet adjustments and regular vet check-ups can help manage heart conditions.
5. Obesity: 

Bullmastiffs are prone to obesity due to their love for food and their slower metabolism. 

  • Symptoms: Excessive weight gain, reduced activity level and difficulty moving. 
  • Causes: Overfeeding, lack of exercise and genetics. 
  • Treatment: Controlled diet, portion control, regular exercise and monitoring calorie intake.
6. Allergies: 

Bullmastiffs can develop allergies to various environmental factors, including pollen, dust mites and certain foods. 

  • Symptoms: Itchy skin, excessive scratching, hair loss and ear infections. 
  • Causes: Genetic predisposition and exposure to allergens. 
  • Treatment: Identifying and avoiding triggers, medicated shampoos, antihistamines and allergy shots.
7. Cancer: 

Like many larger breeds, Bullmastiffs are prone to various types of cancer, including mast cell tumors and bone cancer. 

  • Symptoms: Lumps, bumps, sudden weight loss and changes in behavior. 
  • Causes: Genetics, environmental factors and age. 
  • Treatment: Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
8. Elbow Dysplasia: 

Similar to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia is a developmental condition affecting the elbow joint. 

  • Symptoms: Lameness, stiffness and pain during movement.
  • Causes: Genetic predisposition, rapid growth and improper nutrition.
  • Treatment: Conservative management with pain medications, weight control and surgery if necessary.
9. Hypothyroidism: 

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, leading to a range of health issues. 

  • Symptoms: Weight gain, lethargy, hair loss and skin problems. 
  • Causes: Autoimmune disorders and genetic predisposition. 
  • Treatment: Hormone replacement therapy and dietary management.
10. Ear Infections: 

Bullmastiffs’ floppy ears can trap moisture and debris, making them susceptible to ear infections. 

  • Symptoms: Head shaking, scratching at ears, odor and discharge. 
  • Causes: Ear anatomy, allergies and poor ear hygiene. 
  • Treatment: Regular cleaning, medicated ear drops and addressing underlying causes.

Precautions & Preventative Measures

To minimize the risk of these health issues, Bullmastiff owners should provide a balanced diet, regular exercise and routine veterinary check-ups. Avoid rapid growth in puppies and maintain a healthy weight to protect their joints. Ensuring a safe and stress-free environment can also contribute to their overall well-being.

  • Balanced Diet: Bullmastiffs have specific nutritional needs due to their size and activity level. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate diet, considering factors such as age, weight and any health conditions. High-quality commercial dog food rich in protein and essential nutrients can promote optimal health.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is vital to prevent joint stress and obesity-related issues. Monitor your Bullmastiff’s weight regularly and adjust their diet and exercise as needed. Avoid overfeeding and refrain from giving excessive treats.
  • Regular Exercise: Engage your Bullmastiff in regular, low-impact exercises to keep their joints and muscles strong. Leash walks, moderate play and swimming can help maintain their overall fitness. However, avoid intense exercise during rapid growth stages to prevent joint problems.
  • Veterinary Check-ups: Schedule regular visits to the veterinarian for comprehensive check-ups, vaccinations and early disease detection. Regular examinations allow the vet to identify any potential health issues and provide appropriate guidance.
  • Dental Care: Dental health is crucial for Bullmastiffs. Brush their teeth regularly and provide appropriate dental chews or toys to prevent tartar buildup and gum disease.
  • Grooming: Regular grooming sessions can help you spot potential issues early. Inspect their ears for signs of infection, trim their nails to prevent overgrowth and brush their coat to maintain skin health.

What do Bullmastiffs Usually Die From?

Bullmastiffs often pass away due to age-related conditions. The most common causes of death include cancer, heart diseases and organ failure, underscoring the importance of regular health monitoring and early intervention.

Bullmastiff Health Problems – 10 Most Common Health Issues in Bullmastiffs