The Cane Corso is an ancient breed, which dates back to Roman times.
The name of the breed roughly translates to “ bodyguard dog ” in Latin.
And we quickly understand why they gave it such a name when we look at the characteristics of this mastiff!
With Its impressive build, above-average intelligence, and exceptional learning abilities, the Cane Corso is an outstanding watchdog.
It far surpasses other mastiff breeds in terms of athleticism, agility, speed, energy level, and appetite for adventure.
But despite its strength, robust build, and overall good health, the Cane Corso is predisposed to a number of diseases common in the breed.
Do you have or wish to adopt a Cane Corso in your household? So it is your job to know the common health problems of the breed.
Causes, symptoms, treatments… Here is a guide to the frequent diseases of the Cane Corso, in order to protect your animal and guarantee it a long, healthy, and healthy life.
Cane Corso: Presentation
Like all breeds of dogs, the Cane Corso stands out because of its history, its physical characteristics, and its character traits.
History of Cane Corso
Two breeds of mastiff are native to Italy: the Neapolitan mastiff and the Cane Corso. Both are descended from Roman war dogs.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Cane Corso left the army to be closer to farmworkers who used it as a herdsman, property caretaker, and hound (especially large prey such as wild boar).
Industrialization then led to the decline of the Cane Corso, and the First and Second World Wars nearly brought about its demise.
By the 1970s, there were only a few of these dogs left in remote areas of southern Italy.
It is Dr. Paolo Breber, in particular, who is at the origin of the survival of the breed thanks to a breeding program that aroused the interest of the public after its media coverage.
While Italy recognized the breed in 1976, it was not until 1996 that the Cane Corso was recognized by the International Cynological Federation.
Physical characteristics of the Cane Corso
They weigh 80 pounds (for females) to 100 pounds (for males) and from 2 feet (for females) to 2.5 feet (for males), the Cane Corso is an impressive mastiff, renowned for its muscular build, robust and compact.
Its short coat in shades of gray, black, fawn, or brindle, its broad muzzle, its arched skull and its triangular ears bent forward are all characteristics of the breed.
Unlike other mastiffs, the Cane Corso has tighter skin and less drool.
Cane Corso character traits
Docile, close to Its family, and loving, the Cane Corso can also become a formidable guard dog if needed.
The Cane Corso loves Its family, but It’s not demonstrative about it. It indeed likes the human presence, even if It’s not in constant search of attention or physical contact.
Despite Its strong character and Its sometimes a little stubborn side, the Cane Corso is an easy dog to train if guided with common sense, firmness, and without resorting to force.
The Cane Corso is not a suitable choice for a new dog owner or someone familiar with only “gentle” breeds such as Retrievers, Spaniels, or “Toy” breeds.
Early and frequent socialization is essential to avoid behavioral problems (aggression toward strangers …).
That said, no degree of socialization will make It more sympathetic to strangers. The Cane Corso is first and foremost a watchdog, and it takes its responsibilities seriously.
The Cane Corso has a moderate level of activity but likes to be given tasks. It will enjoy becoming your jogging companion or practicing daily education exercises.
Beware of loneliness, this dog can become destructive if left too long and often alone.
Cane Corso: 10 Common Illnesses & Common Health Problems
With a life expectancy of 9 to 12 years, the Cane Corso is a relatively healthy breed, although it does experience a few common health issues.
Certain diseases appear in fact more in this breed than in others.
Here is a list of common diseases of the Cane Corso.
Cane Corso & Hip Dysplasia
After evaluating 1,300 x-rays of the hip, the Orthopedic Foundation of America observed 39% of dogs with hip dysplasia, the 13th worst score of any breed.
Unfortunately, according to a survey by the Cane Corso Association of America, the actual rate will be even higher, with 58% hip dysplasia.
Its dysplasia is a developmental problem that causes the hip joint to degenerate over time.
Abnormal development of the hip causes excessive wear and tear of the articular cartilage, which eventually leads to the appearance of osteoarthritis.
It can be the result of a genetic predisposition, of too-rapid growth but also of environmental influences, such as obesity, or over-or under-exercise.
Nutrition also plays a role in the development of hip dysplasia.
Symptoms of this common disease in Cane Corso do not appear until the dog is an adult.
They understand :
- Difficulty moving, jumping, or climbing stairs
The treatments depend on the severity of the hip dysplasia, but also on the age of the dog.
They may include medical treatment with the administration of anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain, or surgery (removal of the head of the femur or hip prosthesis).
Cane Corso & Elbow Dysplasia
Elbow dysplasia is also a common problem in Cane Corso, with the OFA reporting a rate of 16% and the CCAA survey of at least 22%.
Like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia is linked to a developmental abnormality and can result from a genetic predisposition, unsuitable activity, or a diet that is too rich.
Common in large dog breeds, it can cause:
- Difficulty moving, jumping, or climbing stairs
Here too, surgery may be recommended.
Cane Corso & Patella Dislocation
Other common orthopedic health issues with the Cane Corso include patella dislocation, which involves the kneecap moving during movement.
Although it can be linked to trauma, the cause is more often linked to genetics.
The signs of a patella dislocation vary from case to case, but among the common symptoms you may see in your dog:
- Might seem good while running
- Then it will throw Its paw to the side to put Its kneecap back in place
- And finally, walk normally
A limping slightly high, intermittent to constant, can also reveal this common health problem in the Cane Corso.
Treatment depends on the severity of the dislocation, but often requires surgery and the administration of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Cane Corso & Idiopathic Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a fairly common neurological disease in the breed, with CCAA revealing that 16% of dogs have seizure disorders.
There are many reasons dogs can have seizures, ranging from trauma and brain tumor to exposure or ingestion of toxic substances.
Unfortunately, Cane Corsos with epilepsy often have idiopathic epilepsy, a form of epilepsy for which the cause of the seizure is unknown.
Despite everything, this form of epilepsy being higher in certain breeds (such as the Cane Corso but also the Beagle, the German Shepherd, the Australian Shepherd, the Cavalier King Charles, the Golden retriever …), this suggests more a genetic origin.
Unfortunately, there is currently no genetic test that can determine which dogs carry this common disease, and there is also no concrete evidence to indicate what the genetic correlation is.
In the case of the Cane Corso, idiopathic epilepsy usually starts around the age of 2 years.
The seizures of this form of epilepsy often involve:
- Loss of consciousness
- Excessive salivation
- Locomotor difficulties
If your dog seems to be having a seizure, use caution when approaching It.
After and during a seizure, dogs can be extremely disoriented and blind. Phenomena that can frighten them and make them aggressive.
This state can last from a few seconds to 20 minutes or more.
Despite your urge to comfort your dog, it’s important to give It some space until you are sure It feels like Itself again.
Treatments rarely make this common Cane Corso disease go away, but veterinarians usually prescribe anti-epileptics to reduce the frequency of seizures.
The effectiveness of CBD has also been demonstrated in epilepsy, with studies showing that seizures are halved with this hemp extract. CBD for dogs is now available over the counter and without a prescription and is administered as a cure.
Cane Corso & Lacrimal gland prolapse
The Cane Corso has medium-sized, almond-shaped eyes that showcase Its intelligence and curiosity.
Unfortunately, frequent eye problems have been revealed in this dog and one in three Cane Corso is affected by at least one eye disease.
The prolapse of the lacrimal gland, or “cherry eye” in English, is one of the common eye problems in the Cane Corso.
Lacrimal gland prolapse occurs when the gland in the third eyelid moves into the visible part of the eye and becomes inflamed.
Prolapse can occur in one or both eyes and usually occurs in young dogs under two years of age.
Although impressive, this abnormality is mild and does not usually cause vision problems in dogs.
Lacrimal gland prolapse involves the gland of the third eyelid inflaming, swelling, and becoming visible, as a small lump at the corner of the eye.
Its color then makes one think of a cherry, hence the name in English of “Cherry Eye”.
The most effective treatment is to remove the gland.
Surgical repositioning of the gland is indeed often unsuccessful, and it is usually necessary to end up surgical removal of the affected gland.
Cane Corso & Entropion or Ectropion
Other common eye problems in the Cane Corso, entropion and ectropion, due to the shape of the dog’s eyelids.
Entropion occurs when the eyelid curls inward, causing irritation of the cornea by the eyelashes.
It tends to appear when the eyeball is too small for the orbit and the eyelids curl inwardly of the eye.
Entropion is inherited and usually affects the lower eyelid.
One or both eyes can also be affected.
Ectropion is the opposite of entropion and involves the lower eyelid expanding, exposing the sensitive tissue below.
The exposed tissue of the third eyelid then inflames and often becomes infected, causing a common disease known as conjunctivitis.
Dogs (especially those with facial wrinkles) can get them at birth, as a result of an injury, or a previous surgical procedure. The sad aspect of Basset and Saint Bernard is linked to this problem.
Ectropion can occur in conjunction with entropion when the upper eyelid rolls up while the lower eyelid lowers.
Although unsightly, these problems are not dangerous to the health of the dog, unless an infection occurs.
- Red and itchy eyes
- Tear stains on the face
- Constant tearing of the eyes
Surgery may be necessary to correct the eyelid and the cornea save.
Cane Corso & Torsion Stomach Dilation Syndrome
Bloating, a minor annoyance to humans who indulge in excess food is a common problem in many large breed dogs, and the Cane Corso is no exception.
However, unlike us, bloating can be a serious problem in dogs, when it causes the stomach to expand and twist.
This problem is linked to the physiology of the dog, and in particular to his deep chest. This is because having more space, the stomach can twist when full, blocking the esophagus and intestine.
With their deep chest, Cane Corsos are therefore at a higher than normal risk of suffering from Torsion Stomach Dilation Syndrome.
Stomach dilation and torsion is a life-threatening medical emergency.
If you observe the symptoms below (usually after a large meal), make an appointment with your veterinarian immediately:
- Attempts to vomit without success
- Swollen and painful belly
Surgery is necessary but is not always successful.
The best treatment is prevention. Let your dog rest after meals, give It several small meals rather than one or two large ones, and watch for symptoms of bloating.
Cane Corso & Demodectic Gale
Besides skinfold dermatitis and allergies, certain skin conditions are relatively common in Cane Corso.
Mention may, in particular, be made of demodectic mange, a disease common in Cane Corso, linked to over-growth of Demodex (a genus of mites).
Common to all animals, including humans, Demodex generally lives in small numbers on the beings they colonize.
Animals are not born with these mites, but acquire them from their mother in the first days of their life, during the lactation process.
Animals with demodic mange may have an inherited or acquired immune defect that cannot control the number of mites.
The result is an explosion in the population of mites which not only pile up in the hair follicles and cause bacterial infections but also produce other substances that then compromise the immune system and perpetuate the infestation.
The cane corso is one of those animals with a hereditary predisposition to the appearance of demodectic mange.
Some puppies are thus born with an immune system that fails to keep small parasites at bay, allowing them to proliferate and wreak havoc on the dog’s coat.
The emotionally challenging situations (like a long haul transport) and hormonal fluctuations (like the first cycle heat females) in dogs can also cause an overgrowth of Demodex.
There are two forms of demodectic mange; localized and generalized.
Localized demodectic scabies appear only on the head and forelegs or toes, in small patches.
Generalized demodectic mange appears all over the dog and is considered the most serious form, as it signals a real problem with the animal’s immune system.
Symptoms of this common disease in Cane Corso include:
- Red, itchy patches
- Bald areas
Although in the localized form of this disease the lesions may go away on their own, treatment is essential to cure the generalized form.
The treatment of these two forms of scabies consists of the administration of antibiotics for the infection and of an acaricidal product (aimed at eliminating the mites).
Cane Corso & Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is common in all giant breeds, but up to 20% of Cane Corsos have it.
This endocrine disease is linked to a decrease in the production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland.
Although symptoms vary from dog to dog, this health problem can involve:
- Increased fatigue
- Lack of interest in activities
- Behavior disorders
- Weight gain
- Face edema
- Hair loss
- Unhealthy coat
Treatment is the lifelong administration of synthetic thyroid hormone replacement.
Cane Corso & Heart Disease
Heart disease (especially cardiomyopathy and mitral valve disease) is also relatively common in Cane Corso.
According to the CCAA, 18% of Cane Corsos suffer from heart problems.
Symptoms vary from disease to disease and may include:
- Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite & weight loss
Here again, the treatment depends on the dog’s condition, the disease from which it is affected, and its severity.
Limiting activities, changing the diet (if there is a problem with obesity), administering drugs to improve the work of the heart, surgery, etc. are all possible actions to treat the disease.
Note: Some colitis and diseases of blood coagulation (von Willebrand disease) have finally been reported in the Cane Corso.
7 tips to prevent these common illnesses and protect your Cane Corso
Most of the diseases mentioned above are preventable by adopting a few simple actions, the main ones consisting of a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Here are our tips to protect your cane Corso from common diseases affecting the breed.
Select a responsible breeder
Finding a good breeder is almost more important than finding the right puppy.
A professional breeder will indeed put you in touch with the right puppy and will be able to show you all the health certifications necessary to rule out health problems as much as possible.
They will also be able to select healthy parents and will be able to give you all their history. They will also be present to answer all your questions.
Never, ever, buy a puppy from a pet store or from a website that offers many breeds, or that delivers without asking questions.
If you buy a puppy by these means, you are more likely to adopt an unhealthy, unsocialized, and difficult to educate pet at home … In addition to enduring the cruelty of high volume puppy mills.
Adopt an adult Cane Corso
While many Cane Corso health problems are not visible in puppies, they are in adult dogs.
By adopting an older dog, you can rule out a number of common diseases in the breed.
In addition, via a shelter or the SPA, you will do a good deed by giving your dog a second life, and better prospects for the future.
Regularly consult a veterinarian
Puppy or adult, make an appointment with the veterinarian soon after the adoption.
Your vet will be able to spot signs of illness and put in place a preventive action plan, in addition to working with you on a lifestyle routine that will help you avoid many health problems.
Then make regular routine appointments to act quickly and give your dog a better chance of recovery if It’s ill or has any of these common health issues.
Take care of your Cane Corso
Brush your dog at least once a week to remove shed hair and keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy.
Clean his ears regularly, trim his nails if necessary, and give It a bath when dirty.
Socialize your companion
Continue to socialize your Cane Corso throughout its life by visiting friends and neighbors, and taking outings to local stores and parks.
This is the only way for It to learn to differentiate “friendly” strangers from a threat.
As with all mastiffs, socializing your animal is essential to ensure a healthy, protective but calm, and balanced behavior.
Likewise, a cane Corso needs to spend a lot of time with Its family.
Tying a Cane Corso in the garden and not giving it the love and attention it needs will lead to aggressive, destructive, unstable, and therefore dangerous behavior.
Educate your dog early
Begin training your dog as soon as It joins your family.
A positive reinforcement and “reward system ” program, which requires the dog to “work” to receive their meal, toys, treats, or playtime, often works well with this breed.
The Cane Corso is generally more receptive and easier to train than other mastiffs. Although It may have a tendency to dominate and be stubborn, It will respect a self-confident owner in Its method of upbringing, constant and consistent.
Moreover, the Cane Corso having a strong hunting instinct and a territorial nature, prevent it from chasing cats or small dogs belonging to neighbors, through a firm, but gentle method of education.
Like all breeds, the Cane Corso needs to walk and run daily, the level of activity of course depending on the health of the dog.
Validate with your veterinarian the exercise needs of your animal in order to offer It adapted physical and mental stimulation.
However, no Cane Corso will be content to just lie down and do nothing all day.
Keep your dog busy with training, play, and socialization exercises.
A bored Cane Corso is a Cane Corso at risk of developing behavioral problems.