Health Issues




All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, reputable breeders will be able to explain them to you in detail if you wish.


Every breeder should be able to produce the hip and elbow scores of both sire and dam and also health testing which is not a vet check run. This test is called CRM1 and we used Vetgen in order to undertake the test on all our Corso.


A buyer is able to contact the relevant body whether it be Vetgen BVA/Penn Hip or OFA to verify the authenticity of the results provided.


Blue Cane Corso UK include in their puppy pack a copy of both sire and dam results.



Some of the health conditions that have been seen in the Corso are eye conditions Cherry Eye, Entropion and Ectroprian, Hip, Elbow Dysplasia, Demodex Mange and Gastric torsion.



Demodex mange is a mite that is common in all animals including humans.  They normally live in the air follicles in small numbers without causing any difficulty. It is an inflammatory disease in dogs caused by various types of the Demodex mite. When the number of mites inhabiting the hair follicles and skin of the dog become exorbitant, may lead to skin lesions, problems with the immune system and hair loss. The severity of symptoms depends upon the type of mite inhabiting the dog. A urine test will identify other possible diagnoses, namely those caused by a disorder with the dog’s metabolic system.



Gastric Torsion a devasting condition technical name "Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus" ("GDV"). Bloating of the stomach is often related to swallowed air (although food and fluid can also be present). It usually happens when there's an abnormal accumulation of air, fluid, and/or foam in the stomach ("gastric dilatation").Bloat can occur with or without twisting. As the stomach swells, it may rotate 90° to 360°,twisting the stomach traps air, food, and water in the stomach. The bloated stomach obstructs veins in the abdomen, leading to low blood pressure, shock, and damage to internal organs. The combined effect can quickly result in death. The signs of bloat excessive panting sometimes attemping to vomit, excessive salivating in some cases but not all a swollen stomach.


Entropion is the turning in of the edges of the eyelid (usually the lower eyelid) so that the lashes rub against the eye surface. This usually requires surgery. Ectroprian is where the eyelid can role outwards giving a droopy appearence usually the lower eyelid so that the inner surface is exposed. Cherry eye, or prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid. The prolapsed gland itself rarely causes discomfort or damage to the eye, so the repair is mostly cosmetic. Most people choose to repair it, because it can have a very unpleasant appearance. If the gland does not return to the normal place with steroid ointment, surgery is the only cure. A large portion of the eyes tear production comes from the involved gland, so removal can cause a dry eye which can lead to damaged vision. If this does happen, it is controllable with medications, but it is preferable to prevent it. In our opinion the best remedy is surgery.



Hip Dysplasia - The hip joint is composed of the ball and the socket. The development of hip dysplasia is determined by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors, though there is a complicated pattern of inheritance for this disorder, with multiple genes involved. Hip dysplasia is the failure of the hip joints to develop normally (known as malformation), gradually deteriorating and leading to loss of function of the hip joints.


Elbow Dysplasia - means that there has been abnormal development of the elbow joint. The consequence of this abnormal development is that the three bones of the joint (the humerus, radius and ulna) do not fit together perfectly leading to areas of abnormally high contact pressure.


Comparison Chart of hip scoring methods.


OFA FCI (European) BVA (UK/Australia)
SV (Germany)

Excellent A-1 0-4 (no > 3/hip) Normal
Good A-2 5-10 (no > 6/hip) Normal
Fair B-1 11-18 Normal
Borderline B-2 19-25 Fast Normal
Mild C 26-35 Noch Zugelassen
Moderate D 36-50 Mittlere
Severe E 51-106 Schwere




In the UK the BVA system is available the price for hip and elbow testing is around £300 per dog.   The Penn Hip is a slightly more expensive test which involves more x rays compared to BVA.  The x rays are sent off for evaluation.  

An alternative system is available called FCI this is similar to Penn Hip it is sent off to another country for rating and the score is sent back and is in fact significantly cheaper than Penn hip and BVA, however before the age of 2 years this is a prelimary score only and therefore should be redone after the age of 2 years.  We decided at BCC due to the comparison chart a dog rating an A could be as high as a BVA 19 (total hip score) or as low as a 0  for this reason we decided this system was not accurate enough for us.   BVA recommend Cane Corso should only be bred if the score of both hips added together is 12 or under.

Please see below for descriptions of how the testing is undertaken and you decide for yourself which system you prefer. 

We decided to hip test Rocco our first corso twice to enable us to compare the two systems BVA and Penn Hip as we were advised to use Penn Hip on our female Corso when considering breeding.   Rocco BVA came back 8 in total and under Penn Hip 90th percentile this shows how close the two systems are in our opinion.  




The Procedure

(a) the dog should be placed on its back with the pelvis over the middle of the cassette or detector and the X-ray
beam centred on the midline between the hips (i.e. the centring point should be at the level of the cranial edge
of the pubis, by palpation).
(b) in order to avoid lateral rotation, the body should be supported in a straight line using a cradle or sandbags. The
thorax must be upright and symmetrical since tilting of any part of the dog's body is likely also to cause tilting
of the pelvis and asymmetry in the appearance of the hips. Lateral tilting of the pelvis can be recognised as a
disparity in appearance between the ilial wings and obturator foramina on the two sides. It may be corrected by
raising the pelvis slightly on the side on which the ilial wing appears wider and the obturator foramen narrower
on the radiograph.
(c) the hind legs should be fully extended and adducted so that the femora lie as near parallel to each other as
possible: they must not be over-adducted (i.e. they must not converge towards the stifles).
(d) the legs should be inwardly rotated so that the patellae lie centrally in the femoral trochlear grooves i.e. the stifles
are upright.
(e) suitable ties or tape placed around the distal femora or stifles
should be used to achieve correct adduction and
inward rotation; ties must not
be placed around the proximal femora, pelvis or or hips and radiographs showing
restraint at this level will be rejected.
(f) poor positioning which allows either lateral or longitudinal tilt of the pelvis or incorrect positioning of the femora
may prevent accurate radiological assessment of the hips; such radiographs may be rejected.



Penn Hip


Measuring Hip Joint Laxity


PennHIP uses a unique method, an index, to measure hip joint laxity. The method is quantitative (i.e., it assigns a number to joint laxity) as opposed to being qualitative or subjective (e.g. excellent, good, fair, etc.). The index is not as vulnerable to inter- and intra-observer errors commonly associated with subjective measurement systems.


The index method is calculated by superimposing precision-machined circle gauges on the cortical margins (rims) of the acetabulum and femoral heads (see example at left) to find the respective geometric centers. On the compression view,  if the joint is free of osteoarthritis, the centers of the acetabulum and femoral head should coincide indicating that the joint is indeed concentric. On the distraction view, the distractive force causes separation between the centers. The distance, d, between the centers is a measure of hip joint laxity. However, d also varies with dog size (larger dogs would likely have larger d's than smaller dogs), with age of the dog, and with magnification due to variation in hip-to-film distance. To circumvent these potential sources of variation, d is normalized with respect to all sizes of femoral heads and acetabula by dividing it by the radius of the femoral head, r. The resulting index, I = d/r, is a unitless number ranging from 0 to 1 (or more). The laxity index computed for the compression view is called a compression index (CI), likewise, the laxity index for the distraction view is called the distraction index (DI).




The distraction index is a measurement of hip joint laxity. It does not allude to a passing or failing score. Hips with DIs on the distraction view that are close to 0 are considered to be tight, while DIs close to 1 are considered to be very loose. The DI is an indication of the "percent out of joint" that the femoral head is displaced from the acetabulum. For example, DI=0.58 means the femoral head comes out of the joint by 58%, DI=0.75, 75% out of joint (see image at right), and so on. This also makes interpretation of the DI more intuitive: a hip with a DI=0.50 is twice as lax as a hip with a DI=0.25.

To obtain proper diagnostic radiographs, the musculature around the hip must be completely relaxed and so the dog must be under deep sedation or general anesthesia. Therefore, the laxity as determined by the DI is called passive hip laxity, as opposed to functional hip laxity which is the pathological form of hip laxity that occurs in dysplastic hips during weight bearing. (Clearly, functional hip laxity is of greater diagnostic interest, but there are presently no means to measure it.)







Radiographs submitted to the OFA should follow the American Veterinary Medical Association recommendations for positioning. This view is accepted world wide for detection and assessment of hip joint irregularities and secondary arthritic hip joint changes. To obtain this view, the animal must be placed on its back in dorsal recumbency with the rear limbs extended and parallel to each other. The knees (stifles) are rotated internally and the pelvis is symmetric. Chemical restraint (anesthesia) to the point of relaxation is recommended. For elbows, the animal is placed on its side and the respective elbow is placed in an extreme flexed.


If a copy is necessary ask your veterinarian to insert 2 films in the cassette prior to making the exposure. This will require about a 15% increase in the kVp to make an exact duplicate of the radiograph sent to OFA. Films may be returned if a $5.00 fee and request for return are both included at time of submission.




Radiographs of animals 24 months of age or older are independently evaluated by three randomly selected, board-certified veterinary radiologists from a pool of 20 to 25 consulting radiologists throughout the USA in private practice and academia. Each radiologist evaluates the animal's hip status considering the breed, sex, and age. There are approximately 9 different anatomic areas of the hip that are evaluated.Anatomic areas of the hip evaluated for HD


  1. Craniolateral acetabular rim
  2. Cranial acetabular margin
  3. Femoral head (hip ball)
  4. Fovea capitus (normal flattened area on hip ball)
  5. Acetabular notch
  6. Caudal acetabular rim
  7. Dorsal acetabular margin
  8. Junction of femoral head and neck
  9. Trochanteric fossa


The radiologist is concerned with deviations in these structures from the breed normal. Congruency and confluence of the hip joint (degree of fit) are also considered which dictate the conformation differences within normal when there is an absence of radiographic findings consistent with HD. The radiologist will grade the hips with one of seven different physical (phenotypic) hip conformations: normal which includes excellent, good, or fair classifications, borderline or dysplastic which includes mild, moderate, or severe classifications.


Seven classifications are needed in order to establish heritability information (indexes) for a given breed of dog. Definition of these phenotypic classifications are as follows:


  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Borderline
  5. Mild
  6. Moderate
  7. Severe


The hip grades of excellent, good and fair are within normal limits and are given OFA numbers. This information is accepted by AKC on dogs with permanent identification and is in the public domain. Radiographs of borderline, mild, moderate and severely dysplastic hip grades are reviewed by the OFA radiologist and a radiographic report is generated documenting the abnormal radiographic findings. Unless the owner has chosen the open database, dysplastic hip grades are closed to public information.