Dragonfly Mastiff's

Breeders of Quality English Mastiff's in Illinois! We Also Raise Miniature Dexter Cattle and Tennessee Fainting Goats On Our Farm! For Sale in Illinois!

If you are considering getting a Mastiff......

 

please read below before committing to a purchase and we encourage you to ask questions. It is important that the you understand the potential for these conditions or problems to develop in any Mastiff, regardless of the line, pedigree, breeder, or testing of ancestors and thus the need for testing and reporting the results of those tests to the breeder and participating in ongoing research efforts.  Please keep in mind that all purebred & mixed breed dogs can have health concerns.

 

EYE PROBLEMS IN THE BREED
  • Cataract - Lens opacity that may affect one or both eyes and some forms may cause blindness.

  • Distichiasis - Eyelashes abnormally located in the eyelid margin which may cause ocular irritation.

  • Ectropion - Conformational defect resulting in eversion of the eyelids, which may cause ocular irritation due to exposure.

  • Entropion - Conformational defect where eyelid margins invert or roll inward, toward the eye causing eyelashes and hair to rub against the cornea which may result in ocular irritation.

  • Macroblepharon - Abnormally large eyelid opening; may lead to secondary conditions associated with corneal exposure.

  • Persistent Pupillary Membranes (PPM) - Persistent blood vessel remnants in the anterior chamber of the eye which fail to regress normally in the neonatal period.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - Degenerative disease of the retinal visual cells which leads to blindness. In Mastiffs the age at which PRA can be detected varies from as young as 6 months to as late as 42 months. Typically Mastiffs with PRA go blind gradually, first loosing their night vision and then their day vision. Many do not go completely blind until they are 8 years old or older.  There is a DNA test available through OptiGen for PRA in Mastiffs.

  • Retinal Dysplasia/Retinopathy also known as Canine Multi-focal Retinopathy (CMR) - Abnormal development of the retina present at birth and recognized to have three forms: folds, geographic, and detachment. A Mastiff with just folds will pass CERF and the folds may disappear over time while the geographic and detached forms may cause loss of vision or blindness.  There is a DNA test available though OptiGen for CMR in Mastiffs.

 

STRUCTURAL/JOINT PROBLEMS IN THE BREED
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Rupture - The knee along with the external support (i.e., collateral leg) has two ligaments inside the joint that help prevent forward movement (i.e., cruciate). Insult/injury can cause this ligament to rupture and result in acute lameness (the animal will not want to bear weight) on the affected limb.

  • Elbow Dysplasia - Elbow dysplasia encompasses several different conditions, all of which are indicative of abnormally formed or fused elbow joints and all can cause lameness and pain:

    • Fragmented Coronoid Process (FCP) - This form of elbow dysplasia is generally the most difficult to treat if the fragments are actually loose in the joint.

    • Osteochrondritis Dissecans (OCD) - A defect in the joint cartilage overlaying or attaching to the bone. OCD most commonly occurs in the elbows, shoulders, hocks and stifles.

    • Ununited Anconeal Process (UAP) - In giant breeds such as Mastiffs the Anconeal Process can close later than in smaller breeds, often as late as one year of age or older.

  • Hip Dysplasia - Hip dysplasia is a painful condition caused by abnormally formed hips. The animal may become lame in the hind quarters due to the pain associated with the degeneration of the hips.

  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) - A developmental disorder that manifests with toes turning in or out, roached toplines, pinched rears, and in advanced stages fever, lethargy, pain in joints, inability to stand or function. This is a problem of intake in calories versus output of energy - too many calories consumed and/or unbalanced diet disrupted by supplementing.

  • Panosteitis (Pano or Wandering Lameness) – A developmental problem that affects the long bones during rapid growth periods typically between 6-16 months of age.  The exact cause is unknown although genetics, diet, stress, infection, and metabolic or autoimmune problems have been suspected.  Lameness can occur in one limb or over time in all limbs. It often is intermittent affecting one leg then another and back again…  It is self-limiting and spontaneously disappears.

 

MISCELLANEOUS OTHER PROBLEMS IN THE BREED

  • Cancer - Most forms of cancer have been diagnosed in some members of the breed. Some forms of cancer are hereditary while others occur spontaneously or even due to environmental toxins.

  • Cystinuria - An inherited metabolic disease caused by a defective kidney transporter for cystine and some other amino acids. Because cystine readily precipitates in acid urine, crystals and later calculi (stones) can form in the kidney and bladder. Cystinuria in Mastiffs primarily affects males and can result in serious illness and may be life threatening.

  • Epilepsy – A seizure disorder which can have multiple causes. The age of onset of the inherited form is normally around 6 months to 5 years of age. Epilepsy is generally difficult to treat successfully in Mastiffs and other large breeds.

  • Gastric Dilation, Torsion, Volvulus (Bloat) - Bloat is a hideous killer of giant breed animals, and Mastiffs are no exception. Without warning, the stomach fills with air (dilation), can twist 180 degrees (torsion) on its long axis, or more than 180 degrees (volvulus) thereby cutting off blood and oxygen to vital organs. Bloat can be primary or secondary, caused by emotional or physical stress, improper nutrition or feeding habits, guzzling water, inappropriate exercise, as well as other causes that we do not understand. Every Mastiff owner needs to familiarize themselves with bloat symptoms and have a plan of action to get the animal to an emergency medical facility at the onset of the first symptom. A dog that is bloating often has approximately 3 hours to live without medical intervention.

  • Heart Disease - The most common heart problems in Mastiffs are aortic stenosis, mitral valve dysplasia and cardiomyopathy. Early detection and treatment are essential for a good prognosis. Some mastiffs have heart murmurs that are mild and not a cause for concern. If a heart murmur is detected it is essential to have it checked to see if it is an "innocent" murmur or a serious problem.

  • Hypothyroidism - Hypothyroidism is the result of an abnormally functioning thyroid gland resulting in a lower than normal level of thyroid hormone.  This lack of thyroid hormone can have serious health consequences including coat and skin problems, intolerance to cold, weight gain or loss, infertility, sudden aggression, and immune system malfunctions. The inherited form is autoimmune thyroiditis where the body's own immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland or reduces its function. Autoimmune thyroiditis is diagnosed by measuring the FT4D, cTSH & TgAA.  Acquired hypothyroidism can be caused by various problems such as stress for long periods of time, poor nutrition, prolonged infections, and chemical agents.

  • Spondylosis – is a degenerative disease that causes excessive bone production of osteophytes along the spinal vertebrae which can cause lameness.  In advanced cases the vertebrae can fuse together.  In many cases there are no clinical symptoms, but the acute expression of the disease such as lameness, severe pain and disabilities are often seen in adults and older Mastiffs.

  • von Willebrand's Disease (vWD) - An abnormal bleeding disorder due to a lack of normal clotting. An animal's life can be threatened by bleeding due to an injury, or during spaying/neutering or any other condition resulting in bleeding.

  • Wobblers Syndrome – Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI) is caused by pressure and pinching of the cervical spinal cord and the nerves in the neck due to ligament problems and/or vertebrae malformation. The compression on the spinal cord in the neck may cause the Mastiff to stand and move abnormally.  This is believed to be an inherited genetic disorder with environmental influence.  Rapid growth and nutrition may influence the expression of the disease.

We will be adding more detail information on certain health issues mentioned above shortly

-please check back for updates.

MCOA