Cinciripini's Mastini
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Common Neapolitan Mastiff Health Concerns

    The most common eye ailment of the Neapolitan Mastiff is Cherry Eye, the gland of the third eyelid swells and pops out and looks like a cherry thus "Cherry Eye" in the Neapolitan Mastiff the name Cherry Eye. Most Vet's will insist on tacking down the gland - THIS DOES NOT WORK FOR THE MASTINI. It must be removed Cherry Eye if it does not recede on its own. There is no definite known cause for Cherry Eye, some theories include; laxity of the small ligament which holds it in place, aggravated immune response from stress such as vaccines. Given the over all loose ligament tissue of the Neo it is most likely a combo of the laxity of the ligament and aggravated immune response since it mostly develops during puppy hood which is also a heavy vaccine period. It is NOT true that all Neo's will absolutely get dry eye if this gland is removed, this gland is responsible for only 30% of tear production. Some do develop dry eye and some don't, some develop dry eye having never had cherry eye as well.



    The Neapolitan is considered a high risk induction patient. Your veterinarian should follow high risk procedures when inducing a Neapolitan. Pre-anesthetic should be given lightly and only to effect – just enough “to get the tube down”. We recommend that all Neapolitans be on supportive fluids during surgery and receive pre-anesthetic blood work/exam. Our veterinarian uses oxymorphone/valium LIGHTLY, Iso via mask to effect and maintenance during surgery. Another veterinarian we use prefers Propofol to effect and Iso during surgery. We have noticed that the Neapolitan’s anesthetized with oxymorhone/valium with Iso maintain better heart rate, are less depressed and recover faster. Chilling to shock is common post-op be prepared with warm blankets and maintain fluid therapy until recovery. Do not feed at least 12 hour pre surgery and 12 -24 hours post.
    • Use of Acepromazine, Rompun are NOT recommended for our breed
    • Research is desperately needed to address Anesthesia and the Neapolitan Mastiff


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

    • See DNA & Testing Page ~ If your Neapolitan has been diagnosed with DCM, check the CHF site for current studies you could participate in .


    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.


  • First Aid for Bloat


    • SKIN
    Puppy Coat - 6 - 18 months of age, circular patches, blotchy coat appearance, different shades of hair color, sometimes accompanied by dry, flaky skin. It is simply shedding its puppy coat or "blowing its puppy coat". Easily confused with Seborrhea or Demodex. The best thing to do with Puppy coat is to find a good groomer, ask her/him to use a tar and/or oatmeal shampoo or 'Furminator' and "blow the coat". A good groomer will need perhaps two visits to "blow the coat" and presto your baby will have a healthy shiny coat again ! Supplements of Omega 3 fatty acids are also good at this time.

    Demodex - Canine Demodicosis – Caused by a small mite which always lives on the dog but when the immune system becomes 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, below are some common treatment options:
    • Ivomec given orally and on a daily basis usually resolves demodex within 29 days and will usually require treatment for 52 days.
    • Advantage Multi given every two weeks for 4 treatments followed by monthly topical treatment.   See Advantage Multi study
    • Promeris given bi-weekly 3-4 treatments followed by monthly topical treatment.  SeeProMeris study
    • Demodex is secondary to a low functioning immune system, discuss ways to improve immune function with your breeder and vet.


    Hip Xray- Also known as "pano" or "growing pains" usually seen between 3 and 15 months of age, most common in male puppies. 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 (Note: NSAIDS can have awful side effects) and provide lots of rest. A high quality joint supplement is also recommended; FluidFlex, SynFlex or Glycoflex.

    Osteochondritis Dissecans – “If the puppy is active and traumatizes this soft, decayed area, cracks, or fissures, form and extend into the normal cartilage until a large cartilage flap forms. At this stage, pain is present in the joint every time the patient tries to walk. When the cartilage flap falls into perfect position discomfort is minimal. As it shifts position, pain becomes acute, with joint swelling that is increasingly sensitive. Osteochondritis refers to presence of the inflammatory reaction in the bone marrow and joint, while dissecans refers to the flap of cartilage that is dissected away from its base.” (taken from Southern California Surgical Group). Most often this occurs in the front shoulder/elbow of the Neapolitan Mastiff puppy.
  • See Southern California Veterinary Surgical Group

  • Unuinted Anconeal Process –“Ununited anconeal process is a failure of the growth center of the anconeal process, in the elbow joint, to unite properly with the ulna. This fusion should be completed by 16 to 24 weeks of age. Instead of a normal bony union, the ununited anconeal process represents a large piece of bone connected to the ulna by a strand of fibrous tissue. The diagnosis is confirmed by radiography. Surgical removal of this unstable bony fragment minimizes progressive arthritis and is indicated as soon as possible to prevent further joint degeneration” (Taken from Southern California Veterinary Surgical Group)

    Hip Dysplasia - As with all giant breeds of dogs hip function is of great importance. Unfortunately, after over 30 years of research no genetic marker has been identified for hip dysplasia. That is not to say that we don't agree with hip screening for breeding stock, we support breeders screening their stock with either OFA or Pennhip or via a private radiologist and orthopedic specialist but with the Neapolitan Mastiff we must look at form and function in conjunction with conventional testing. The Neapolitan has "looser hips" than other breeds and too often is mis-diagnosed as having HD when in fact it is not. Until more research is done in this area, we would encourage puppy owners to maintain a close relationship with their breeder to discuss any diagnosis and treatment options.

Mastino Health Foundation

Mastino Health Foundation

Visit the MHF for more information about the health of the Neapolitan Mastiff,

to submit samples, to support the foundation and more.