All dog breeds have their origins, but they are never complete. They all evolve, due to continuous breeding and selection processes, feeding, adaptation to the environment, weather conditions, and more. The Perro de Presa Canario dog breed is still being fixed, and dog breeders must take positive steps towards breeding typical Perro de Presa Canarios by selecting dogs with correct conformation, a stable character, balance, a brave and smart personality and a natural guarding instinct. Shaping a healthy and functional dog breed is not an easy job, and many dog breeders are concerned with the “material” to be used in reproduction. There are some hereditary concerns in the Perro de Presa Canario that must be bred out of this dog breed.
One of the biggest concerns facing Perro de Presa Canario breeders is hip dysplasia, a hereditary condition that affects many large dog breeds. Research has shown the condition can also be “aggravated” by the environment, so Perro de Presa Canario dog breeders must be aware of this when rearing puppies. Among the contributing factors are poor feeding, lack of space for exercise, strenuous exercise for young developing puppies, slippery surfaces in the dam’s whelping pen, etc. The Perro de Presa Canario puppy needs enough space to grow strong. A few square yards of floor space is not enough, unless the dog is frequently taken out to the countryside so that he can walk and run. Given the space to do so, a Perro de Presa Canario puppy will get the exercise he needs and rest when he’s tired. Never force a puppy to exercise or encourage him to “overdo” it, as this puts stress on his growing frame.
Perro de Presa Canarios can suffer from elbow dysplasia as well as hip dysplasia. Dog breeders seeking to eradicate hip and elbow dysplasia from their lines must have their dogs x-rayed and exclude those affected dogs from their programs. Even if we take these measures, we know that some Perro de Presa Canario offspring will have a predisposition to hip dysplasia, but, generation after generation, we can actually reduce the number of dogs affected, and, as a result, the number of healthy dogs will continually increase.
Other orthopedic concerns for the Perro de Presa Canario include panosteoitis (or “pano”), which causes the 5- to 12-month-old puppy to limp on one leg or the other. It more frequently affects male puppies and may be linked to diet, another disease or heredity. Sometimes referred to as wandering lameness, the condition usually vanishes by the time the puppy is two years of age and can be treated with anti-inflammatory medicine in the meantime.
OCD, or osteochondritis dessicans, is a condition that affects the young Perro de Presa Canario’s cartilage and causes joint irritation, usually in the shoulder, elbow or ankle. It appears in dogs 4 to 18 months of age. Like panosteoitis, OCD is characterized by limping, though joint swelling and chronic pain often accompany the dog’s limping. Rapid growth, excessive weight and strenuous exercise of the joints can aggravate this condition, which may warrant surgical intervention if other treatments fail. If not treated by a vet, your Perro de Presa Canario can become lame.
More common in small dog breeds, patellar luxation (or slipped kneecap) have been cited in the Perro de Presa Canario, the lateral form, luxation, where the patella slips to the outside, being more common. Active adolescent dogs who exhibit problems moving or seem to have a knock-kneed stance exhibit the condition most often. Although not usually severe, surgical intervention may be called for in some cases, and the condition has been found in conjunction with anterior cruciate ligament tears, which have become more common in the Perro de Presa Canario, usually caused by trauma to the knee joint. It can result in rear lameness.
The neurological disease known as Wobbler syndrome or cervical spondylolithesis affects Perro de Presa Canarios who are under one year of age, similar to the pattern seen in Great Danes. This is a hereditary condition that varies in severity. Badly affected Perro de Presa Canarios are usually euthanized, though some dogs respond to the treatment and survive.
Idiopathic epilepsy has been noted in this dog breed, a condition of unknown origins characterized by seizures. Epilepsy is believed to have an inherited basis, so Perro de Presa Canarios that experience seizures should not be bred. Your vet can diagnose the condition and prescribe medication to manage the seizures.
Perro de Presa Canario breeders are also concerned about entropion, which is the rolling inward of the dog’s eyes (usually both). Although more commonly seen in dog breeds like the Shar-pei or Chow Chow, it has been cited in the Perro de Presa Canario. Severe cases can cause ulceration, and surgery (eye tacking) is fairly successful, though it renders the dog ineligible to compete in dog shows.
Hypothyroidism, a common disorder in many purebred dogs, involves the insufficient activity of the thyroid gland. In the Perro de Presa Canario, behavioral abnormalities, such as aggression or obsessive licking, may be symptoms of hypothyroidism, as are weight gain and loss or thinning of the haircoat. Hypothyroidism is usually not life-threatening and can be managed with regular medication.
Excerpt from Perro de Presa Canario, part of the Comprehensive Owner’s Guide series, with permission from its publisher, Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Perro de Presa Canario here.