Cane Corso Health Issues — What We Discovered

Updated Sep 2, 2022

Cane Corso Health Issues

What You Should Know About Cane Corso Health

Cane Corso health is a topic of interest for most owners. The Cane Corso is a large, working dog that was originally bred to have strong muscles and a thick coat. This Italian mastiff is generally healthy, but there are some things you should know about their health in order to keep them in good shape.

We’ll take a look at the issues a Cane Corso owner faces — both from reported information and from our own experience.

First off, here are the three main big-picture necessities:

First, make sure to feed them a diet that is balanced and includes enough protein.
Second, be sure to give them plenty of exercise.
Finally, keep an eye on their weight. Problems can occur if they become overweight or obese.

Now let’s look at this important topic in a little more detail…



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What Are The Common Cane Corso Health Issues?

There are a few common Cane Corso health problems that could arise, such as eye issues, hip dysplasia, and bloat.

Additionally, many Cane Corso dog owners may also be concerned about their dog's weight. If your dog is overweight, it may be important to work with a veterinarian to help monitor his or her health and to help get your dog on a healthy diet.

Some health issues in Cane Corsos are:

Hip dysplasia
Eye problems
Breathing problems
Heart conditions
Leg problems

Cane Corso Hip Dysplasia

Cane Corso Hip Dysplasia is a genetic disorder of the hip joint that can cause pain, lameness, and arthritis.

Hip Dysplasia is a common problem in the breed, and is basically a problem with the way the hip socket fits onto the femur bone. It can cause pain for your dog and sometimes lead to arthritis later on in life.

Affected Cane Corso puppies may have difficulty getting up and down, and may walk with a limp. Treatment typically involves surgery to realign the hip socket, which can often be successful in correcting the problem.

According to research by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), hip dysplasia is the number one health issue affecting dogs. Several possible causes have been identified, including poor nutrition, genetics, and obesity.

ACVS, The American College of Veterinary Surgeons says: "Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is a condition that begins in dogs as they grow and results in instability or a loose fit (laxity) of the hip joint. The hip joint laxity is responsible for potential clinical signs (symptoms) of hip pain and limb dysfunction and progressive joint changes."

Rapid weight gain and growth through excessive nutritional intake can complicate the development of CHD. Hip dysplasia occurs most commonly in large breed dogs”.

One of our Cane Corsos has hip dysplasia. We didn’t know for sure until we had her X-Rayed at about two years old. It’s not possible to know for sure until the dog is full-grown.

We have been lucky in that she has not really suffered at all. We have been careful not to over-exercise her, and prevented her from jumping down from vehicles etc but, other than that, she has lived a normal life with no evidence of pain.

Can You Prevent Cane Corso Hip Dysplasia?

Surgery is the only known solution for Cane Corso hip dysplasia, but there are steps you can take to help reduce your dog's risk of developing the condition.

One way to reduce your dog's risk of developing canine hip dysplasia is to keep them healthy and fit throughout their life. A good, balanced diet is essential.

Keeping your Cane Corso at the right weight for his age is important. Being overweight increases the risk of hip dysplasia.

Cane Corso Eye Problems

Cane Corso eye problems can include ectropion, where the eyelids tend to curl inward, and entropion, an abnormal downward displacement of the lower eyelid.

Entropion In Cane Corsos

Entropion is an eyelid problem in which the eyelid curls inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the inside of the eye. This can lead to irritation and even blindness. Cane Corso owners should regularly check their dogs' eyes for signs of entropion, and if necessary, seek veterinary care.

Ectropion In Cane Corsos

Ectropion is also an eyelid problem. In this case, the lower eyelid droops lower than the eyeball.

These conditions can be caused by genetic disposition. Treatment typically involves surgery to correct the problem. This surgery is simple and usually effective.

Cherry Eye In Cane Corsos

Cherry eye is a form of prolapse — a tear in the membrane sometimes known as the third eyelid. This can happen to any dog, but the Cane Corso does have a tendency towards this condition. Cherry eye can also be hereditary so it is important to check with your breeder about any health issues with the parents of your Cane Corso puppy

Does the Cane Corso Inherit Eye Problems?

The Cane Corso's predisposition towards inherited eye conditions is quite significant.

The Veterinary Information Network, or VIN did a test on 4 Italian dog breeds, for inherited eye disorders.

The test included 81 Cane Corsos.

The results showed that:

"For the Cane Corso breed 70.4% had lesions considered as inherited...

The most common lesion which was presumed to be inherited was the ectropion."

The white paper further stated that:

"The high prevalence of ocular lesions suggests routine eye screening and selective breeding practices are indicated for these breeds."

Bloat In Cane Corsos

Bloat or gastric dilation volvulus is a serious condition that affects deep-chested large and giant breed dogs, such as the Cane Corso. It sometimes occurs when your dog eats too fast and gulps air into his stomach, producing an excessive amount of gas in his bowels.

In this situation, the stomach fills with gas quickly. If not treated right away, it can twist on itself (volvulus). This is life-threatening and requires immediate veterinary care to save your pet's life!

Bloat can also be caused by stress.

Other causes include:

Overeating of rich foods like meats
Drinking too much water before or after meals
Exercising immediately after eating
Eating too fast
Lack of exercise
Excitement over food

You should avoid giving your dog meals which are too large. Splitting the daily food into smaller meals will help to decrease the potential for bloat. We give our Cane Corsos two meals a day, one in the morning and one in the early evening.

These meals are not too large and they are supplemented with a small snack in the afternoon, and another — usually an apple — in the later evening.

Cane Corso Breathing Problems.

Most people think that breathing problems occur only in dogs with a short snout. But, although breathing problems may be most common with these dogs, other dogs can suffer from breathing problems too.

The Cane Corso obviously does not have a short snout. In fact, the Cane Corso snout can be quite long indeed. Nevertheless, Cane Corsos can suffer from breathing problems. The condition is known as dyspnoea.

Dyspnoea manifests itself as labored breathing. It is fairly obvious if your Cane Corso is having difficulties breathing. You can hear it. It’s similar to a human gasping for breath after exertion.

If your Cane Corso exhibits the symptoms of dyspnoea for any length of time, you should call the vet.

Cane Corso snoring can be due to a mild episode of dyspnoea. Snoring is a habit which Cane Corsos are well known for. There is no need to be alarmed if your Cane Corso is snoring, it’s a commonplace occurrence with the breed, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is in any danger.

Our eldest Cane Corso is closing in on 14 years of age. Which is a good old age for a Cane Corso. She has some breathing difficulties at times throughout the day. Particularly after she’s been out for a short walk to do nature’s business.

But she pushes on, she’s eating well, drinking well, she seems happy, her demeanor is good, her tail wags. So we simply keep a close eye on her to make sure that she is not suffering and that her health is not deteriorating to the point where it causes her anguish.

But, remember, labored breathing can be serious...

VetsNow says:

"Labored breathing problems in dogs can quickly become life-threatening so if your dog is breathing fast or suffering respiratory distress you should call your vet."

Does A Cane Corso Need Exercise To Remain Healthy?

While Cane Corsos do benefit from exercise, their main purpose is hunting, and not running or playing fetch.

A good amount of exercise for a Cane Corso is a brisk walk or jog, playing fetch or a game of catch, and occasional swims.

A typical day for a Cane Corso as a family dog includes walking around their home or yard, playing with toys, and then maybe taking a short walk or jog around the block with their owner.

Of course, all dogs are different. There is a tremendous amount of variance between individual dogs. Although it is obvious that healthy dogs will benefit from some exercise, I have to say that our Cane Corsos have a terrific tendency towards being couch potatoes.

Of course, we do take them out. But some days, when things are hectic, all they get is a couple of short walks for nature’s purposes. They really don’t care. They come right back in and lie down comfortably somewhere — clearly perfectly happy.

And our Cane Corsos have enjoyed tremendous health and a good long life — which is proof that a relaxed regimen can work too.

Cane Corsos And Panosteitis

Panosteitis is not a health condition that is particularly connected to the Cane Corso breed — but it is something that any large breed may suffer from. It is typically caused by the very rapid growth that large breeds tend to have.

Panosteitis is a form of inflammation in the long bones of the leg, and can be very painful.

Our male Cane Corso suffered from Panosteitis as a puppy. It was hard to watch him limp heavily, but he was very stoic and never complained.

This is a condition that can last a good while — perhaps as long as three years. When the dog has fully finished growing, the Panosteitis will typically disappear.

Two years is commonly-quoted as the age by which the condition should resolve. But, for our Cane Corso, it was three years, almost to the day, before he stopped limping.

How Long Do Cane Corsos Live?

The average lifespan of a Cane Corso is typically around 10-12 years.

Cane Corso Health And Lifespan Related To Coat Color

Interestingly, Cane Corso coat color is connected to health and longevity. Cane Corsos with the brindle coat color have been shown to live longest.

And it’s not by a small amount, either — a study by the Open Veterinary Journal concludes that the average lifespan for those with black brindle coats, at 10.3 years, is almost a full year more than the average for other coat colors. This is a whopping 10.4% increase in life expectancy.

The rarer Cane Corso coat colors have a tendency toward less robust health, as well. The selective breeding between a pair with the same coat color can have a negative effect on health. Breeding to emphasize coat color, rather than prioritizing dog health is not good practice.

Our female Cane Corso is a few weeks away from her 14th birthday, as I write this. Clearly, she is way above average. And she is a black brindle. Or she was — these days she’s so gray, she looks like a white brindle!

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