Chesapeake Bay Retriever Health Problems

chesapeake bay retriever

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is one of the most solid and sturdy of the retrieving breeds.

They are made in the USA dogs who originated on the Eastern Seaboard and Maryland, to be exact.

This breed is tough and able to withstand the rough and often frigid waters of the Atlantic while hunting ducks and geese.

This retriever’s first love is hunting with swimming combined, as they love to get wet, especially while retrieving waterfowl.

The Chesapeake Bay retrieverOpens in a new tab. can certainly be a great companion and family dog, but is more suited to those who love the outdoors of hiking, running, boating, or swimming and want a buddy to take along that shares the same passions, especially if one is hunting!

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is also a loyal and loving familyOpens in a new tab. dog, but this retriever is far more protective and not as easily bamboozled by strangers as their more amicable and cordial cousin, the golden retriever.

This very active, energetic, and robust breed is generally a healthy one, but if you are considering adding a Chesapeake Bay retriever to your family, you may be wondering if they have any health problemsOpens in a new tab. you may have to deal with down the road.

The following post will be information about Chesapeake Bay retriever health problems and Chesapeake Bay retriever common Opens in a new problems. Also added will be, Chesapeake Bay retriever health problemsOpens in a new tab. symptoms.

To check your Chesapeake Bay Retrievers’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vet Opens in a new for all the help you may need.

chesapeake bay retriever
Photo  Opens in a new tab.from PxHereOpens in a new tab.

Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Have Health Problems?Opens in a new tab.

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is quite a robust, sturdy, energetic, and generally healthy breed. Their lifespan ranges from 10 to 13 years.

There are some health problems they can be prone to that are more common than others and some are genetic in nature.

When searching for a Chesapeake Bay retriever puppyOpens in a new tab., use only a reputable and conscientious breeder. Ask a veterinarian or owners of Chesapeake Bay retrieversOpens in a new tab. for recommendations and check online for reviews.

Breeders should be testing breeding dogs and puppies for any genetic abnormalities and while doing so, keeping good records as well, which they should readily share with future pet parents of these retrievers.

Most tests are inexpensive, therefore, there’s no reason breeders should not take part in genetic testing.

Acquiring any breed with underlying tendencies toward health conditions and diseases can run into spending a small fortune on veterinary bills.

Owning any dog can be costly, but one with severe medical issues can not only break the bank but your heart too.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Common Health Problems, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia usually occurs during the growth stageOpens in a new tab. of a dog’s life and due to a deformity in the ball of the femur, it causes a poor and even loosening fit in the hip socket.

Over time, the bone and cartilage in that joint wear down causing pain and leading to eventual arthritis.

The cause of hip dysplasiaOpens in a new tab. is most often hereditary. It can also come about with too much vigorous exercise and jumping like a puppy, both of which put a strain on still-developing bones and joints.

  • Limping without an injury
  • Sitting abnormally
  • Hopping while running
  • Grinding, popping, cracking noises from joints
  • Lameness
  • Pain
  • Difficulty standing or sitting
  • Trouble climbing stairs, getting in or out of cars or on and off furniture

Hip dysplasia can be diagnosed with an x-ray and the earlier the diagnosis is made the earlier treatment can begin with a better prognosis. Depending on the severity of hip dysplasia, treatments can be:

  • Physical therapy
  • Water therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Foods for bones and joints
  • Supplements for pain and decreasing inflammation – glucosamine, chondroitin
  • Managing weight if obese
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
  • Steroids – oral or injections
  • Surgery

Elbow Dysplasia

While hip dysplasia is a disease of the hind legs at the hip joint, elbow dysplasia develops in the forelimb or elbow of your retriever.

Elbow dysplasia is caused when the growth of bone, tissue, or cells is abnormal in this area and leads to the degeneration and malformation of this joint of the elbow. This can be caused by genetics, nutrition, or can be developmental.

The onset of elbow dysplasia, with signs, usually begins between 4 and 10 months. At a young age, there may be no symptoms. Signs and symptoms can be:

  • Continual or intermittent lameness of the forelimb brought on by exercise and stiffness is observed after resting
  • Dogs may hold the affected leg away from their body
  • The acute and sudden display of lameness when elbow dysplasia is at an advanced stage
  • Build-up of fluid in the joint
  • Range of motion diminishes
  • Scraping or grating of joint and bone as the disease progresses

Elbow dysplasia can be diagnosed through an x-ray and fluid may be aspirated from the joint for testing at a lab to reach a diagnosis. Both leg joints are checked, as elbow dysplasia often affects both elbow joints.

The best treatment for elbow dysplasia is generally surgery and recovery can take a few months as your Chesapeake BayOpens in a new tab. retriever’s activity may be restricted for up to four weeks, although movement therapy will be required.

Your pup may get meds to reduce pain and inflammation. Supplements may be prescribed like glucosamine and chondroitin to help prevent arthritis. Controlling your pup’s weight also makes it easier on bones and joints.

Weight control helps prevent elbow dysplasia. You also don’t want your pup to gain weight too rapidly as a puppy.

Elbow dysplasia can be caused if puppies carry around too much quickly gained weight, putting too much stress on still growing and forming bones and joints.


Located in the neck of both dogs and humans is the thyroid gland, which is shaped like a butterfly. This gland produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism.

If the thyroid is not working properly, it can secrete too much or too little of this hormone. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone.

In dogs, hypothyroidism is caused by an autoimmune disorder and generally occurs between the ages of 4 and 10 years. Signs your Chesapeake Bay retriever may have hypothyroidism are:

  • Weakness
  • Walking stiffly
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Tiredness
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Loud breathing
  • Dry, sometimes itchy skin
  • Dull, dry coat
  • Loss of fur
  • Abnormal shedding
  • Skin infections

Hypothyroidism is diagnosed through a simple blood test. Treatment consists of replacing the thyroid hormone with medication such as levothyroxine.

The hormone levels need to be balanced so bloodwork is drawn regularly to adjust dosages if hormones fluctuate.

With the hormone replacement, your retriever will get their energy back and skin and coat Opens in a new tab.will improve.

CCL tear

A CCL tear or cranial cruciate ligament tear is a common condition in Chesapeake Bay retrievers. You may be more familiar with an ACL anterior cruciate ligament tear, which is the name of the ligament in humans.

In humans an ACL tear is caused by trauma, in dogs, the CCL weakens over the years. Studies indicate there is a link between hormones and CCL tears.

They show that dogs who are spayed or neutered at a very young age are more prone to the disappearance of hormones while they are still developing and weakening of the CCL can be caused by this deficiency in hormones.

An injury can cause the CCL to tear but it is already in a weakened state when it occurs. Symptoms can be:

  • Pain
  • Limping
  • Lameness
  • Unable to bear weight
  • Swelling inside the knee

Breeds that are more prone to a CCL tear are German shepherds, Rottweilers, Newfoundland’s, Labrador, golden, and Chesapeake Bay retrievers.

A thorough examination by a veterinarian checking for a range of motion can diagnose a CCL tear. It will also appear as cloudiness around a joint on an x-ray.

Treatments in dogs under 30 pounds may be accomplished non-surgically with rest and NSAIDs for up to 2 months.

In medium to large dogs over 30 pounds, surgery is necessary and there are many options depending on how severe the CCL tear is.

Your Chesapeake Bay retriever may not be allowed to put weight on the leg for up to 3 weeks and exercise may not resume for almost 8 weeks. Rehabilitation can be a challenge while keeping a normally active dog down.


Obesity is a health concern for all dogs and can cause health problemsOpens in a new tab. as dog’s age.

Extra weight on your Chesapeake Bay retriever can cause diabetes, heart, liver, kidney problems, and arthritis, just as in overweight humans.

Keeping your pup as active as they can be while aging will help keep normal weights while preventing joint, bone, and other health issuesOpens in a new tab..

A well-balanced diet including food for senior dogs and limiting unhealthy snacks, especially table scraps and unhealthy treats will keep your Chesapeake Bay retriever in good shape.

 Chesapeake Bay Retriever Common Health Problems
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Other Possible Health Problems in Chesapeake Bay Retriever

A few other possible not as common health concerns are listed below.

  • PRA – progressive retinal atrophy
  • Bloat – GDV
  • Subaortic stenosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Ectodermal dysplasia

As you can see, owning a dog has many responsibilities and just as in humans, health problems can crop up.

Reading about all of the different health concerns above does not mean that your Chesapeake Bay retriever will suffer from one, some, or even any of these.

For a healthy retriever, the best you can do is to choose a reputable breeder, feed your pup high-quality dogOpens in a new tab. food with all of the essentials, ensure that they get plenty of exercises, groom them, train them, make wellness visits with their veterinarian a priority and give them love with plenty of fun mixed in!

These things are no absolute guarantee of good health but they’re a pretty good checklist for ensuring a healthy pup.

Take note of the health concerns above and their symptoms. Never hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you suspect there is a health issueOpens in a new tab..

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