Mastiff Health

Emergency Care for Parvo
Parvo is a disease that affects the intestinal tract and causes vomiting, diarrhea, fever and decreased ability to fight infections. It is especially sever in puppies. Oral intake of virus infected material transmits the infection to susceptible puppies. Signs of the disease are seen from two up to four weeks post exposure. The signs are depression, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting and dehydration. The treatment of dogs infected with parvo depends on the severity of the infection. Most puppies require intravenous fluids to maintain their hydration because they are unable to take in fluids. Anti-nausea medication is also given to try and stop the vomiting. In addition to the fluid loss, the virus destroys the lining cells of the intestinal tract, which allows bacteria from the intestines to enter the body. Therefore antibiotics are given to kill the bacteria in the bloodstream. A new antiviral medication called Tamiflu may also be beneficial to the disease. The best approach to parvo prevention is prevention of the disease with vaccinations. If you suspect that your dog has come in contact with parvo call your veterinarian immediately!

Emergency Care for Snakebites
When your dog is struck by a snake it is best to assume that it is a poisonous bite. Most snake bites present very painful to the touch and owners may not observe two small puncture wounds. These wounds are commonly seen on the muzzle or front limbs. They may appear to be bleeding or to be oozing a black tinged discharge. Sometimes all that you may notice is severe tissue swelling at the bite site.  

What to do:

  • Immobilize the area that has been bitten.
  • Keep the pet calm and immobile; carry if possible.
  • Try to identify the type of snake if it can be done without risk to you.
  • Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

What not to do:

  • Do not cut over the fang marks.
  • Do not manipulate the area any more than needed.
  • Do not allow the pet to move about freely.
  • Do not ice pack or tourniquet the area.

Antivenin administration is the most helpful and direct treatment for your pet. It is beneficial because it helps to bind and remove the toxin from the surrounding tissue.

Bloat/Gastric Torsion
Large breeds are also prone to “bloat”, in which the stomach twists and blocks food from passing through the intestines. This condition often leads to serious health problems and can even be fatal. Therefore, ask your veterinarian about bloat, as well as gastric torsion. One thing you can do, as an owner to help prevent this is to feed the Mastiff two or three small meals during the day, opposed to one large meal. Additionally, you want to eliminate the situation by not allowing the dog to gulp large amounts of food and water at any one time. It would be best not to exercise your Mastiff right before or after a meal, allowing at least an hour after eating for any real exercise. 

Heat Stroke
Many dogs die from heat stroke unless there is prompt and aggressive intervention. Mastiffs perspire through panting and through their nose and pads of their feet. Excessive panting may be a sign that your dog is over heating. Heat stroke occurs when your dog's body temperature is 106 F. or higher. At this point, it does not take long to boil the internal organs. If heat stroke occur in your mastiff, move the dog to a cooler environment. Began cooling your dog by hosing your dog with cool (not ice cold) water, directing the water to the groin and armpits.  If you don't have a hose you can place cool wet towels on the groin and armpits. Spray water in their mouth and place a cool wet towel over their head.  Apply alcohol to the pads of their feet. Direct a fan at the dog to help with the evaporation process. Last but, not least contact your veterinarian. 

Toxic foods to keep away from your dog
Chocolate containing Theo bromine can be fatal to your dog. The darker the chocolate the more  theobromine. Other toxic foods are: coffee, alcohol, grapes, raisins, onions, broccoli or garlic in large amounts, castor beans, apricot seeds, peach pits, plum pits, apple seeds, nutmeg and sugarless candies containing xylitol (e.g. chewing gum). Signs of poisoning include trembling, drooling, vomiting, and loss of bowel control. If you suspect that your dog has ingested anything toxic contact your veterinarian immediately!

Mastiffs do best on a dog food that is in the medium range for protein (20-25%), mid range for fat (12-18%) and is well balanced for calcium and phosphorus and high in iodine (3-5%). Feeding your mastiff a dog food that is too high in protein, calories and fat will push the growth rate and possibly cause joint, ligament and tendon problems.

Exercise in the proper amounts is key to the health and happiness of your Mastiff. With this being such a large breed, it tends to gain weight easily. In fact, a Mastiff can become overweight and unhealthy unless the diet and exercise are correct.