Like all breeds, the Neapolitan Mastiff has its own unique health risks and care and grooming needs. Before acquiring your Neo it is best to acquaint yourself with some of these risks and needs in advance of bringing your newest family member home.
• Hip Dysplasia: A hereditary condition, hip dysplasia occurs when the thighbone no longer fits snugly with the hip joint. It may or may not cause discomfort or lameness in one or both rear legs but in most cases it does lead to arthritis in old age. Weight control and exercise management can help minimize the pain of hip dysplasia. If the condition worsens, surgery may be needed.
• Elbow Dysplasia: Also hereditary, this form of dysplasia is caused by different growth rates in the bones of the elbow which leads to painful lameness. It can be controlled by medication or corrected by surgery.
• Cardiomyopathy: A heart condition occurring when the muscles of the heart are unable to contract normally, cardiomyopathy causes abnormal heart rhythms. It may be symptomatic of heart failure. The condition can be controlled, although temporarily, with rest, diet, and medication.
• Cherry Eye: This ailment affects the gland located in the Neo’s third eyelid, causing a reddened mass at the inner corner of the eye. Cherry Eye can be repaired with surgery.
• Cleft Palate: Puppies may be born with this condition or it can be caused by injury. It is characterized by a bilateral or unilateral slit in the palate on the roof of the mouth. It can be corrected by surgery.
• Demodicosis: A type of hereditary mange caused by the demodex mite and passed by the mother to the pups at birth, demodicosis can be localized or general. Symptoms of demodicosis include red, scaly skin and hair loss on the head, neck, and forelegs but can spread to the entire body leading to skin infections. The condition often clears up on its own but should be treated with the guidance of a qualified veterinary professional.
• Fold Dermatitis: Affecting the tail, face, lips, and vulvar folds, fold dermatitis is a skin infection caused by moisture trapped in the folds of the skin. Its symptoms include redness, sores, and odor and it is normally treated with topical ointments or antibiotics. In severe cases, the folds or tail may need to be surgically removed.
• A Neo puppy does have some physical limitations in terms of its overall bone and joint stability so it is advisable to exercise the dog in a controlled manner. Short periods of free running and short walks (not runs) on a leash are best. Stairs can also a hazard given the dog’s tendency for clumsiness. If possible, puppies should be carried up and down stairs or given limited access to them.
• Do not introduce roughhousing or wrestling. Although harmless in puppyhood, a full grown Neo can be unintentionally dangerous.
• Neo’s are sensitive to heat and humidity so all outdoor activity should take place in the cooler part of the day if possible.
• Exercise caution around outdoor pools or hot tubs as Neo’s are not good swimmers.
• A headstrong breed, the Neo should be trained by a confident trainer and exposed early on to social interaction (with other dogs and people). Positive reinforcement techniques are best.
• The Neo is not a big shedder but should be brushed weekly with a bristle brush to keep the coat clean and free of loose or dead hair.
• The wrinkles should be checked periodically and cleaned out with a damp cloth and dried thoroughly as needed.
• The Neo’s teeth need to be brushed at least two to three times a week for overall dental health.
• The breeds nails should be trimmed once or twice a month, as needed.