Most common health problems in Old English Mastiffs, plus health care and feeding.


My Complete Health Care Program for your Old English Mastiff

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Mastiff, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Mastiff already HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

My best-selling dog health book


Old English Mastiff dog breed

Old English Mastiff Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Quick list of Old English Mastiff health problems

The three most common causes of death in Mastiffs are cancer (especially bone cancer), bloat (an emergency gastrointestinal syndrome that can kill in a matter of hours) and hereditary heart diseases.

Lots of orthopedic problems – high rates of hip and elbow dysplasia, plus Mastiffs are prone to tearing the ligaments in their hind legs. Each of these orthopedic problems causes pain and lameness and can require expensive surgery.

Lots of hereditary eye diseases – PRA causes blindness in young Mastiffs, while other eye diseases can require surgery.

Lots of skin problems – chronic allergies that cause itchy skin. Also demodectic mange, and cysts and growths.

Epilepsy is a serious concern in this breed, with most epileptic Mastiffs dying by age three.

A serious urinary disease called cystinuria is more common in Mastiffs than in any other breed.

Hypothyroidism is common in all giant breeds. Colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) can result in chronic diarrhea, not a happy prospect in a giant dog.

(See more health problems below.)


Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Old English Mastiff have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases, heart diseases, and hip and elbow dysplasia, your Old English Mastiff has less risk of developing those conditions.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Old English Mastiff, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Old English Mastiff puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!


Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Old English Mastiff puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Old English Mastiff lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Pet insurance Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Old English Mastiff
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Old English Mastiff. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Old English Mastiff
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Old English Mastiff. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Old English Mastiff puppy really need? Does your adult Old English Mastiff need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.


Information on spaying your Old English Mastiff. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Old English Mastiff. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.


Complete list of Old English Mastiff health problems

The Mastiff Club conducted a health survey that included 570 dogs. They report that half of the deceased Mastiffs in their survey died before age 7, and three-quarters died before age 10.

  • The most common cause of death in Mastiffs, by far, is cancer, especially bone cancer (osteosarcoma), and also lymphosarcoma.
  • The second major cause of deaths in Mastiffs is bloat, an emergency gastrointestinal syndrome that can kill in a matter of hours.
  • Finally, heart disease is a serious issue in Mastiffs, especially sub-aortic stenosis, cardiomyopathy, mitral valve disease, and occasionally pulmonic stenosis.

As you might expect from their size, orthopedic problems are extremely common in Mastiffs, especially hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 12,000 Mastiffs and found 21% dysplastic. That's bad, and the true rate is even higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation. Of 6900 elbow X-rays, 15% were dysplastic.

Other common orthopedic diseases in Mastiffs include cruciate ligament rupture, panosteitis, osteochondritis, wobbler's syndrome, and occasionally hypertrophic osteodystrophy.

Epilepsy is a serious concern in Mastiffs, especially since it's so difficult to treat in this breed. Most epileptic Mastiffs die by age three.

Urinary infections are common in Mastiffs, and a serious urinary disease called cystinuria is more common in Mastiffs than in any other breed.

The most serious eye disease in Mastiffs is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which can occur as early as 6 months old or as late as 3.5 years old, and which progresses slowly to complete blindness in middle age. A simple DNA test is available for PRA in Mastiffs, so you can find out at any time whether your dog has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.

Other eye diseases in Mastiffs include cataracts, eyelid abnormalities (ectropion and entropion), eyelash abnormalities, cherry eye, persistent pupillary membranes, and retinal dysplasia.

Hypothyroidism is common in all giant breeds. According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 15% of Mastiffs have low thyroid levels.

Skin problems include allergies (which cause itchy skin), demodectic mange, elbow hygroma, non-tumorous growths (sebaceous cysts), and chronic bacterial infections (including severe pyoderma).

Other health issues in Mastiffs include colitis (inflammatory bowel disease), myasthenia gravis, and blood-clotting disease (von Willebrand's).


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.