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Xerxes de Castro-Castalia
Keeping a Bullmastiff in good condition is quite simple. I advise against bathing as it causes serious alterations in skin pH and rather brush the dog thoroughly two or three times per week. Doing so is enough to keep the coat shiny and healthy and will avoid the characteristic body smell that appears in dogs that take repeated baths.
Some dogs are prone to suffer from hotspots these being mostly caused with the alteration of the skin pH after frequent bathing, although they can also happen for other reasons such as alimentary allergies (excessive proteins and/or fat in the food), together with stress (due to frequent travelling, seasonal changes, presence of females in season, etc.); whatever the case, it is usually a matter of a momentary or permanent weakness of the immune system. Although the condition is also linked to some families and bloodlines, particularly those with a british background, usually fawns and light fawns with little pigment.
Fortunately I have stayed away from those lines for this and other reasons and my “CASTRO-CASTALIA” dogs do not suffer this condition, except very occasionally. If they do (and it has only happened twice in these almost 20 years of selective breeding), what I do to deal with the condition and cure it is to cut all the hair in the area and around, clean the wound with Iodine twice a day and use the pulp and juice of half a lemon applied to the hotspot. It dries up in a couple of days and completely heals in less than five, the hair growing quite fast covering the area in a couple more weeks, leaving no signs. I understand that the lemon acidity is responsible for creating an uncomfortable environment to the bacteria that grows in the wound and killing it, helping the fastest regeneration of the skin.
KaliKatres de Castro-Castalia
Acne is another condition that appears around puberty and later, anytime when the animal is under stress. To my best knowledge it is sexual-hormones linked and will usually happen in females a few weeks before they come in season and/or when they are milking their puppies and in males, when there are females in season nearby. There is probably also a link with the immune system changes produced during such periods of sexual activity. I personally recommend the owner to clean the pimples with Iodine, two to three times a day and nothing else, to keep the area free from infection. The acne will disappear once the sexual activity returns to normal and the animal is not so stressed.
Nail trimming is recommended from a short age (in fact, I have noticed by experience that if pups are regularly trimmed once a week from week one, they will keep their nails much shorter than those others that do not get this little extra attention); it will help the dog keep its feet cat-like and avoid what are called hare feed or splayed feet.
All of these tricks and pieces of advice are clearly explained in the Chris books, EL BULLMASTIFF and EL GRAN LIBRO DE LOS BULLMASTIFF Y MASTIFF, and thus if you are sufficiently fluent in Spanish, you will enjoy all the information offered in them.
(Original text written by Christina of Lima-Netto and Federico Baudin specifically for this web page and protected with Copyright. Not even whole can be reproduced not partially by any way, without Castro-Castalia's express assent in writing)