Your dog is special! She’s your best friend, companion, and a source of unconditional love. Chances are that you chose her because you like Canary Dogs and you expected her to have certain traits that would fit your lifestyle:
An excellent guard dog, courageous and dependable
Energetic, active, and athletic
Has a short, easy-to-care-for coat
Bold, steady, and fearless
Devoted, loyal, and protective
However, no dog is perfect! You may have also noticed these characteristics:
Aggressive toward other animals
Needs early socialization to accept other pets and strangers
Suspicious of and aggressive toward strangers and other dogs if not socialized properly
Takes up a lot of room due to her massive size
Might be bossy and overprotective if not well socialized early
Is it all worth it? Of course! She’s full of personality, and you love her for it! These powerful gladiators need a strong pack leader. With discipline and exercise, she can make a great companion.
Originally bred for guarding livestock, she was later employed as a dog fighting. She comes from Spain and her formidable look alone makes her a great guard dog. Known for her tenacity and endurance, it is imperative that she be paired with an experienced owner. Under the right conditions, she makes a very loyal companion. Without a strong leader, she will dominate.
Your Perro De Presa Canario’s Health
We know that because you care so much about your dog, you want to take good care of her. That is why we have summarized the health concerns we will be discussing with you over the life of your Presa. By knowing about health concerns specific to Perro De Presa Canarios, we can tailor a preventive health plan to watch for and hopefully prevent some predictable risks.
Many diseases and health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related to your pet’s breed. There is a general consensus among canine genetic researchers and veterinary practitioners that the conditions we’ve described herein have a significant rate of incidence and/or impact in this breed. That does not mean your dog will have these problems; it just means that she is more at risk than other dogs. We will describe the most common issues seen in Perro De Presa Canarios to give you an idea of what may come up in her future. Of course, we can’t cover every possibility here, so always check with us if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.
This guide contains general health information important to all canines as well as the most important genetic predispositions for Perro De Presa Canarios. This information helps you and us together plan for your pet’s unique medical needs. At the end of the booklet, we have also included a description of what you can do at home to keep your Canary Dog looking and feeling her best. You will know what to watch for, and we will all feel better knowing that we’re taking the best possible care of your pal.
General Health Information for your Perro De Presa Canario
Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets, affecting 80% of all dogs by age two. And unfortunately, your Perro De Presa Canario is more likely than other dogs to have problems with her teeth. It starts with tartar build-up on the teeth and progresses to infection of the gums and roots of the teeth. If we don’t prevent or treat dental disease, your buddy will lose her teeth and be in danger of damaging her kidneys, liver, heart, and joints. In fact, your Perro De Presa Canario’s life span may be cut short by one to three years! We’ll clean your dog’s teeth regularly and let you know what you can do at home to keep those pearly whites clean.
Perro De Presa Canarios are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections — the same ones that all dogs can get — such as parvo, rabies, and distemper. Many of these infections are preventable through vaccination, which we will recommend based on the diseases we see in our area, her age, and other factors.
Obesity can be a significant health problem in Perro De Presa Canarios. It is a serious disease that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain and heart disease. Though it’s tempting to give your pal food when she looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can “love her to death” with leftover people food and doggie treats. Instead, give her a hug, brush her fur or teeth, play a game with her, or perhaps take her for a walk. She’ll feel better, and so will you!
All kinds of worms and bugs can invade your Canary Dog’s body, inside and out. Everything from fleas and ticks to ear mites can infest her skin and ears. Hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, and whipworms can get into her system in a number of ways: drinking unclean water, walking on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquito. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to you or a family member and are a serious concern for everyone. For your canine friend, these parasites can cause pain, discomfort, and even death, so it’s important that we test for them on a regular basis. We’ll also recommend preventive medication as necessary to keep her healthy.
Spay or Neuter
One of the best things you can do for your Presa is to have her spayed (neutered for males). In females, this means we surgically remove the ovaries and usually the uterus, and in males, it means we surgically remove the testicles. Spaying or neutering decreases the likelihood of certain types of cancers and eliminates the possibility of your pet becoming pregnant or fathering unwanted puppies. Performing this surgery also gives us a chance, while your pet is under anesthesia, to identify and address some of the diseases your dog is likely to develop. For example, if your pet needs hip X-rays or a puppy tooth extracted, this would be a good time. This is convenient for you and easy for your friend. Routine blood testing prior to surgery also helps us to identify and take precautions for common problems that increase anesthetic or surgical risk. Don’t worry; we’ll discuss the specific problems we will be looking for when the time arrives.
Genetic Predispositions for Perro De Presa Canarios
Suspected Disease Risks
If you have a common dog breed, there’s probably a lot of genetic research and clinical epidemiological data that have been collected and analyzed over the years, and this large amount of data means that we can confidently predict higher than average risk of certain diseases for these breeds. When the dog breed is more rare, or has not been studied because of geographic or other isolation, we have no stockpile of documented history to draw upon when making preventive healthcare recommendations. We can however, make some educated guesses based on disease risks for dog breeds that share conformational or genetic links with your Perro De Presa Canario. Based on these similarities, the following disease risks may carry higher risk, although supportive research has not been identified
Perro De Presa Canarios are especially prone to a life-threatening heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, in which the heart becomes so large, thin, and weak that it can no longer effectively pump blood to the body. As this problem advances, he may act weak or tired, faint or collapse, breathe in a labored way, or cough. We’ll conduct a yearly electrical heart screening(ECG) and/or an echocardiogram starting at age one to look for abnormal heart rhythms early. If found, we’ll treat this condition with medication and may also recommend dietary supplementation.
Bone and Joint Problems
A number of different musculoskeletal problems have been reported in Perro De Presa Canarios. While it may seem overwhelming, each condition can be diagnosed and treated to prevent undue pain and suffering. With diligent observation at home and knowledge about the diseases that may affect your friend’s bones, joints, or muscles you will be able to take great care of him throughout his life.
You’ve probably heard of hip dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes the hip joints to form improperly and leads to arthritis: it is common in Perro De Presa Canarios. You may notice that he has lameness in his hind legs or has difficulty getting up from lying down. We can treat the arthritis — the sooner the better — to avoid discomfort and pain. We’ll take X-rays of your dog’s joints to identify the disease as early as possible. Surgery is sometimes considered in severe and life-limiting cases of hip dysplasia. Keep in mind that overweight dogs may develop arthritis years earlier than those of normal weight, causing undue pain and suffering.
Normally, as a puppy grows, he first builds the form of his bones in cartilage, then fills it in with bone later. Sometimes this process goes wrong, and there is an abnormal growth of cartilage and bone in early development. Some dwarf breeds, like the Dachshund or Basset Hound, have been selectively bred to have this condition. When it occurs in your Presa, though, it is considered abnormal. There is no treatment for the condition, which is not painful, it just means that the dog will have shorter legs than normal. The trait is inherited, so responsible breeders recommend not using affected individuals for breeding.
Demodex is a microscopic mite that lives in the hair follicles of dogs. All dogs have them. Normally a dog’s immune system keeps the mites in check, but some breeds, like your Presa, develop an overabundance of these mites. In mild cases, pet owners may notice a few dry, irritated, hairless lesions. These often occur on the face or feet and may or may not be itchy. Secondary skin infections may occur. Prompt veterinary care is important to keep the disease from getting out of hand. Many pets seem to outgrow the problem, while others require lifelong management.
Heritable deafness has been noted in some Canary Dog bloodlines, so if his ears are healthy and he’s still ignoring you, a more thorough hearing workup may be needed, including brainwave analysis, if indicated. If you suspect he may not be hearing as well as he should, schedule an appointment with us right away as the problem could also be caused by a severe ear infection.
There are three types of seizures in dogs: reactive, secondary, and primary. Reactive seizures are caused by the brain’s reaction to a metabolic problem like low blood sugar, organ failure, or a toxin. Secondary seizures are the result of a brain tumor, stroke, or trauma. If no other cause can be found, the disease is called primary, or idiopathic epilepsy. This problem is often an inherited condition, with Perro De Presa Canarios commonly afflicted. If your friend is prone to seizures, they will usually begin between six months and three years of age. An initial diagnostic workup may help find the cause. Lifelong medication is usually necessary to help keep seizures under control, with periodic blood testing required to monitor side effects and effectiveness. If your dog has a seizure: Carefully prevent him from injuring himself, but don’t try to control his mouth or tongue. It won’t help him, and he may bite you accidentally! Note the length of the seizure, and call us or an emergency hospital.
Some male Presas have a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles do not descend into the scrotum (a condition called cryptorchidism). Instead, the testicle stays in the abdomen, which can cause problems later in life, including high cancer risk. We’ll check for this problem when your pet is a puppy; we recommend removal of both testicles if he has this condition.
Cancer is a leading cause of death among dogs in their golden years. Your Perro De Presa Canario is a bit more prone to certain kinds of cancer starting at a younger age. Many cancers are cured by surgically removing them, and some types are treatable with chemotherapy. Early detection is critical! We’ll do periodic blood tests and look for lumps and bumps at each exam.
Your Perro De Presa Canario is prone to a form of skin infection called lip-fold pyoderma, which occurs because the folds of skin along the lower jaw are usually moist. Bacteria and yeast can readily gain a foothold and cause a reddened, smelly area that is uncomfortable for your dog. We will examine him for this problem, but let us know if you see signs. We’ll recommend treatment with antibiotics as necessary. When symptoms are severe, the excess skin folds can be surgically removed.
Presas are prone to a common condition called hypothyroidism in which the body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. Signs can include dry skin and coat, hair loss, susceptibility to other skin diseases, weight gain, fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes. We’ll conduct a blood screening test annually to screen for the disease. Treatment is usually simple: replacement hormones given in the form of a pill.
Taking Care of Your Perro De Presa Canario at Home
Much of what you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy is common sense, just like it is for people. Watch her diet, make sure she gets plenty of exercise, regularly brush her teeth and coat, and call us or a pet emergency hospital when something seems unusual (see “What to Watch For” below). Be sure to adhere to the schedule of examinations and vaccinations that we recommend for her. This is when we’ll give her the necessary “check-ups” and test for diseases and conditions that are common in Presas. Another very important step in caring for your pet is signing up for pet health insurance. There will certainly be medical tests and procedures she will need throughout her life and pet health insurance will help you cover those costs.
Routine Care, Diet, and Exercise
Build her routine care into your schedule to help your Canary Dog live longer, stay healthier, and be happier during her lifetime. We cannot overemphasize the importance of a proper diet and exercise routine.
Supervise your pet as you would a toddler. Keep doors closed, pick up after yourself, and block off rooms as necessary. This will keep her out of trouble and away from objects she shouldn’t put in her mouth.
Brush her coat at least weekly.
Perro De Presa Canarios generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!
Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—we’ll show you how!
Presas can be aggressive toward other dogs and suspicious of strangers. They should be socialized when young.
Presas tolerate the heat better and drool less than other mastiff-type breeds.
Presa Canarios should have experienced handlers.
Keep your dog’s diet consistent and don’t give her people food.
Feed a high-quality diet appropriate for her age.
Exercise your dog regularly, but don’t overdo it at first.
What to Watch For
Any abnormal symptom could be a sign of serious disease, or it could just be a minor or temporary problem. The important thing is to be able to tell when to seek veterinary help, and how urgently. Many diseases cause dogs to have a characteristic combination of symptoms, which together can be a clear signal that your Perro De Presa Canario needs help.
Give us a call for an appointment if you notice any of these types of signs:
Change in appetite or water consumption
Tartar build-up, bad breath, red gums, or broken teeth
Itchy skin (scratching, chewing, or licking), hair loss
Lethargy, mental dullness, or excessive sleeping
Fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes
Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain
Lumps or bumps – regardless of size
Seek medical care immediately if you notice any of these types of signs:
Scratching or shaking the head, tender ears, or ear discharge
Inability or straining to urinate; discolored urine
Cloudiness, redness, itching, or any other abnormality involving the eyes
Fainting, collapse, breathing issues, cough
Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping”
Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws
Easily startled, no reaction to unseen sounds
Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors
Fainting, collapse, breathing issues, cough
Partners in Health Care
DNA testing is a rapidly advancing field with new tests constantly emerging to help in the diagnosis of inherited diseases before they can become a problem for your friend. For the most up-to-date information on DNA and other screening tests available for your pal, visit www.Genesis4Pets.com.
Your Presa counts on you to take good care of her, and we look forward to working with you to ensure that she lives a long and healthy life. Our goal is to provide the best health care possible: health care that’s based on her breed, lifestyle, and age. Please contact us when you have questions or concerns.
Gough A, Thomas A. Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and Cats. 2nd Edition. Wiley-Blackwell; 2010.
Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia – Perro De Presa Canario. [Internet]. St. Petersburg (FL): Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2001. [cited 2016 Apr 16]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perro_de_Presa_Canario