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Cane Corso Breed Health Issues

Common health issues that can affect the Cane Corso breed include the following:

  • Canine Hip Dysplasia (HD), often called Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), or Osteoarthritis
    Hip dysplasia is a multifactorial abnormal development of the coxofemoral joint in large dogs that is characterized by joint laxity and subsequent degenerative joint disease. Excessive growth, exercise, nutrition, and hereditary factors affect the occurrence of hip dysplasia. The pathophysiologic basis for hip dysplasia is a disparity between hip joint muscle mass and rapid bone development. As a result, coxofemoral joint laxity or instability develops and subsequently leads to degenerative joint changes, eg, acetabular bone sclerosis, osteophytosis, thickened femoral neck, joint capsule fibrosis, and subluxation or luxation of the femoral head.
      Clinical signs are variable and do not always correlate with radiographic abnormalities. Lameness may be mild, moderate, or severe, and is pronounced after exercise. A “bunny-hopping” gait is sometimes evident. Joint laxity (Ortolani sign), reduced range of motion, and crepitation and pain during full extension and flexion may be present. Radiography is useful in delineating the degree of arthritis and planning of medical and surgical treatments. Standard ventrodorsal views of sedated or anesthetized animals can be graded by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, or stress radiographs performed and joint laxity measured (Penn Hip).
      Treatments are both medical and surgical. Mild cases or nonsurgical candidates (due to health or owner constraints) may benefit from weight reduction, restriction of exercise on hard surfaces, controlled physical therapy to strengthen and maintain muscle tone, anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, aspirin, corticosteroids, NSAID), and possibly joint fluid modifiers. Surgical treatments are also available.
    -Merik Veterinary Manual

  • Panrosteitis (Growing Pains, Pano)
      Panosteitis is a spontaneous, self-limiting disease of young, rapidly growing, large and giant dogs that primarily affects the diaphyses and metaphyses of long bone. The exact etiology is unknown, although stress, infection, and metabolic or autoimmune causes have been suspected. The pathophysiology of the disease is characterized by intramedullary fat necrosis, excessive osteoid production, and vascular congestion. Endosteal and periosteal bone reactions occur.
      Clinical signs are acute, cyclical, and involve single or multiple bone(s) in dogs 6–16 months old. Animals are lame, febrile, inappetent, and have palpable long bone pain. Radiography reveals increased multifocal, intramedullary densities and irregular endosteal surfaces along long bones. Therapy is aimed at relieving pain and discomfort; oral NSAID, opioids, or corticosteroids can be used during periods of illness. Excessive dietary supplementation in young, growing dogs should be avoided.
    -Merik Veterinary Manual

  • Bloat (Gastric Torsion, Gastric Dilation-Volvulus, or GDV)
    Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), commonly called “bloat” or “torsion,” is an extremely serious medical condition where a dog’s stomach becomes filled with gas that cannot escape. The stomach also can rotate around its short axis, often carrying the spleen along for the dangerous ride. By itself, “bloat” technically refers only to the gaseous distension of the stomach, without the flipping-over, or “torsion,” part of the condition. Think of it as if the stomach is a balloon that keeps filling with gas, but the “escape route” is twisted or tied off. Eventually, the balloon will rupture. Similarly, the stomachs of dogs suffering from gastric dilatation and volvulus can rupture, spilling intestinal contents into the abdominal cavity. Bloat is life-threatening and requires immediate and aggressive medical attention if the dog is to survive. Without emergency treatment, bloat can be fatal within a matter of hours of the appearance of clinical signs.
    The precise triggers of GDV are not well-understood. Why this process happens is still a medical mystery. A number of different contributing factors have been suggested, but none have been proven. Dogs that eat a single, large meal of dry kibble and then drink large amounts of water and/or become active seem predisposed to bloat.
    Bloat is a life-threatening condition. Without immediate medical care, the chance of survival is extremely low. If you own a large deep-chested dog – or indeed any dog -- please make sure that you have a good relationship with your local veterinarian and that you are familiar with the signs of this condition, so that if it happens to one of your dogs, you are prepared to deal with it immediately.
  • Conformational Abnormalities affecting the Eye:

    • Entropion
      Entropion is the turning in of the edges of the eyelid (usually the lower eyelid) so that the lashes rub against the eye surface. An inversion of all or part of the lid margins that may involve one or both eyelids and the canthi. It is the most frequent inherited eyelid defect in many canine and ovine breeds, and may also follow cicatrix formation and severe blepharospasm due to ocular or periocular pain. Inversion of the cilia (or eyelashes) or facial hairs causes further discomfort, conjunctival and corneal irritation, and if protracted, corneal scarring, pigmentation, and possibly ulceration. Early spastic entropion may be reversed if the inciting cause is quickly removed, or if pain is alleviated by everting the lid hairs away from the eye with mattress sutures in the lid, by subcutaneous injections (eg, of procaine penicillin) into the lid adjacent to the entropion, or by palpebral nerve blocks. Established entropion usually requires surgical correction.
      -Merik Veterinary Manual

    • Ectropion
      Ectropion is the turning out of the eyelid (usually the lower eyelid) so that the inner surface is exposed. A slack, everted lid margin, usually with a large palpebral fissure and elongated eyelids. It is a common bilateral conformational abnormality in a number of dog breeds. Contracting scars in the lid or facial nerve paralysis may produce unilateral ectropion in any species. Conjunctival exposure to environmental irritants and secondary bacterial infection can result in chronic or recurrent conjunctivitis. Topical antibiotic-corticosteroid preparations may temporarily control intermittent infections, but surgical lid-shortening procedures are often indicated. Mild cases can be controlled by repeated, periodic lavage with mild decongestant solutions.
      -Merik Veterinary Manual

    • Cherry-Eye (Canine Nictitans Gland Prolapse)
      Cherry eye is the common term used to refer to canine nictitans gland prolapse, a common eye defect in various dog breeds where the gland of the third eyelid known as the nictitating membrane prolapses and becomes visible. Commonly affected breeds include large breed dogs or breeds with loose skin on the face or droopy skin around the eyes. Cherry eye may be caused by a weakness in the connective tissue surrounding the gland. It appears as a red mass in the inner corner of the eye, and is sometimes mistaken for a tumor. After gland prolapse, the eye becomes chronically inflamed and there is often a discharge. Treatment can include tacking the gland back in place, or removal of the prolapsed gland.

  • Canine Demodicosis (Demodectic Mange, Demo, Demodex, Demodex Mange, or Red Mange)
    Demodectic Mange is caused by a sensitivity to and overpopulation of Demodex canis as the animal's immune system is unable to keep the mites under control. Demodex is a genus of mite in the family Demodicidae. Demodex canis occurs naturally in the hair follicles of most dogs in low numbers around the face and other areas of the body. In most dogs, these mites never cause problems. However, in certain situations, such as an underdeveloped or impaired immune system, intense stress, or malnutrition, the mites can reproduce rapidly, causing symptoms in sensitive dogs that range from mild irritation and hair loss on a small patch of skin to severe and widespread inflammation, secondary infection, and—in rare cases—a life-threatening condition. Small patches of demodicosis often correct themselves over time as the dog's immune system matures, although treatment is usually recommended.

  • Epilepsy
    Canine epilepsy is characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Canine epilepsy is often genetic. There are three types of epilepsy in dogs: reactive, secondary, and primary. Reactive epileptic seizures are caused by metabolic issues, such as low blood sugar or kidney or liver failure. Epilepsy caused by problems such as a brain tumor, stroke or other trauma is known as secondary or symptomatic epilepsy.
    In primary or idiopathic epilepsy, there is no known cause. This type of epilepsy is diagnosed by eliminating other possible causes for the seizures. Dogs with idiopathic epilepsy experience their first seizure between the ages of one and three. However, the age of diagnosis is only one factor in diagnosing canine epilepsy. One study found a cause for the seizures in one-third of dogs between the ages of one and three, indicating secondary or reactive rather than primary epilepsy.

Our About Time Cane Corso website is resource of information, a constantly growing work in progress. We are currently working on an additional section on Cane Corso health that is being written to be added with full detail on each of these subjects. Please check back!

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