Neapolitan Mastiff Health

lexington_kennels_july_24021001The Neapolitan Mastiff shares many of the same conditions as other large molosser breeds and then some.


The most common eye ailment of the Neapolitan Mastiff is Cherry Eye, the gland of the third eyelid swells, pops out and looks like a cherry. Many vets will insist on tacking down the gland – this does not generally work for a Neapolitan, some vets have had good success with a newer technique called the “Morgan Pocket” but removing is the best for Neo.s It must be treated if it does not recede on its own. Neapolitans are also prone to Ectropian and Entropian.

Neo breeders Beware of buyers looking for a “cherry eye free” bloodline in Mastini. Respect the monstrosity that is the Mastino, whether you were horrified or passionately in love with your first glimpse, the last thing you noticed was how the breed imitated health. The following is an excerpt from Dr Sherilyn Allen’s “The Official Book of the Neapolitan Mastiff” the US guru and vet /breeder of Neos for over 25 years. — with Dr.Sherilyn Allen.



Since no studies on our breed have been performed we don’t know how truly prevalent DCM is in our breed. DCM is a heart disease resulting in right or left side enlargement. The cause of DCM is unknown it seems to be either genetic but no proof or research or results from Taurine deficiency or a genetic predisposition for Taurine deficiency or diet induced.


Bloating means that the stomach is filling or full of gas\air. The stomach becomes very unstable and can twist on itself causing torsion which leads to death. Call the Vet immediately. Bloating is a life threatening emergency. Try to slow down their eating give 3 or 4 smaller meals, use a slow feeder obstacle bowl or a stainless steel obstacle ball. I have even seen people put a large rock in the middle of the bowl it causes them to eat slower trying to get around obstacle… lg.rock prevents them from spilling, flipping, destroy and yes sometimes chewing the bowl.


Demodex caused by a small mite that the immune system becomes all dogs have but when the immune system is comprised the mite population overpowers. Symptoms include; Hair loss with redness and rash like\ pimples\pustules. Demodex comes in two forms; Localized and Generalized. Localized usually occurs at puppyhood and self resolves. Generalized tends to not self-resolve and needs treatment. Treatment options vary depending on severity; usually antibiotics are needed for secondary bacterial infections. All treatment options should be discussed with your vet.


Panosteitis – Also known as “pano” or “growing pains” usually seen between 4 and 16 months of age. Signs are intermittent lameness from moderate to severe, limping on different limbs at different times. Most pano resolves on its own, you can treat symptoms with an anti-inflammatory Deramaxx or the like and provide LOTS of rest. A high quality joint supplement is also recommended; FluidFlex, SynFlex or you can also buy a cherry flavoured liquid glucosamine and chondroitin at the pharmacy it is quite reasonable and my dogs love it!!


As with all giant breeds of dog’s hip function is of great importance. Unfortunately, after over 30 years of research no genetic marker has been identified for hip dysplasia. Generally hip screening is still recommended, but with the Neapolitan Mastiff we must look at form and function in conjunction with conventional testing many conventional tests are not accurate. Health, lifestyle, exercise and diet also play a HUGE role as well as hereditary predisposition

The Neapolitan has “looser hips” than other breeds and too often is mis-diagnosed as having HD when in fact it is not, please try and find a vet with mastiff experience but particularly Neapolitan. If they are under 18 months read Pano section. I strongly agree with the supplements, top notch food (no puppy food after 8 weeks), gentle exercise, proper health and medical care. A high quality joint supplement is also recommended as prevention and treatment; FluidFlex, SynFlex or you can also buy a cherry flavoured liquid glucosamine and chondroitin at the pharmacy it is quite reasonable and my dogs love it!! I also give my dogs Ester C.

** Over-exercising these dogs can cause hip and elbow destruction. Treat them gently until their muscle mass develops and can support their bodies and they will usually develop into healthy dogs. Fast running and jumping out of trucks is stressful on joints. Running up and down stairs also causes joint stress. They are big dogs with loose joints that need protection if you don’t want a problem, top quality food… puppy food after 8 weeks, a good quality food has everything they need without growth accelerators in puppy food, I feed my dogs Orijen one of the top foods out there and worth it. Grow them slow not fast!

**High outdoor heat will kill your pup. Make sure that the pup has a cool, shady spot to rest. This is extremely important! It will also cause this breed to drool. Fresh water is very important. The “Lick Stick” type of faucet attachment will provide fresh water and eliminate a water bowel to be cleaned. Good health requires good care, good medical treatment, a good vet that is familiar with Mastiffs and Neo.’s. As well as top quality foods, you get what you put in!

**You can make your own decision on vaccinations but personally I don’t believe that they are necessary or healthy to give every year for life. I give my dogs; 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks, and one year booster. After that I administer vaccination booster every three years with the rabies shot. I do give revolution to my dogs because it treats/prevents mites, ticks, fleas and parasites. I also de-worm 2x per year after puppy series.