Our Puppies have many Generations of Health Clearances! Including >>
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) Hips, Elbows, Eyes, Patella, Cardiac & Thyroid
** Longmeadow Kennels has the most OFA Excellent dogs in our current breeding program than any other Chessie breeder **
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) DNA
Exercise-Induced Collapse (EIC) DNA
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) DNA
Ectodermal Dysplasia (ED/SFS) DNA
** Longmeadow Kennels has more CHIC Awarded Health Certifications than most other breeders **
** Longmeadow Kennels participates in the AKC Bred with HEART program **
Health Issues in Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
As a breed- Chesapeakes have only a handful of big health issues- most have health certification testing to allow dedicated breeders to make fair and ethical breeding decisions.
Health conditions that Chessies can be tested for include:
Hip Dysplasia (HD)
Per the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) > Hip Dysplasia is a terrible genetic disease because of the various degrees of arthritis (also called degenerative joint disease, arthrosis, osteoarthrosis) it can eventually produce, leading to pain and debilitation.
The very first step in the development of arthritis is articular cartilage (the type of cartilage lining the joint) damage due to the inherited bad biomechanics of an abnormally developed hip joint. Traumatic articular fracture through the joint surface is another way cartilage is damaged. With cartilage damage, lots of degradative enzymes are released into the joint. These enzymes degrade and decrease the synthesis of important constituent molecules that form hyaline cartilage called proteoglycans. This causes the cartilage to lose its thickness and elasticity, which are important in absorbing mechanical loads placed across the joint during movement. Eventually, more debris and enzymes spill into the joint fluid and destroy molecules called glycosaminoglycan and hyaluronate which are important precursors that form the cartilage proteoglycans. The joint's lubrication and ability to block inflammatory cells are lost and the debris-tainted joint fluid loses its ability to properly nourish the cartilage through impairment of nutrient-waste exchange across the joint cartilage cells. The damage then spreads to the synovial membrane lining the joint capsule and more degradative enzymes and inflammatory cells stream into the joint. Full thickness loss of cartilage allows the synovial fluid to contact nerve endings in the subchondral bone, resulting in pain. In an attempt to stabilize the joint to decrease the pain, the animal's body produces new bone at the edges of the joint surface, joint capsule, ligament and muscle attachments (bone spurs). The joint capsule also eventually thickens and the joint's range of motion decreases.
No one can predict when or even if a dysplastic dog will start showing clinical signs of lameness due to pain. There are multiple environmental factors such as caloric intake, level of exercise, and weather that can affect the severity of clinical signs and phenotypic expression (radiographic changes). There is no rhyme or reason to the severity of radiographic changes correlated with the clinical findings. There are a number of dysplastic dogs with severe arthritis that run, jump, and play as if nothing is wrong and some dogs with barely any arthritic radiographic changes that are severely lame.
The OFFA reports statistics on Hip Dysplasia in all breeds of dogs- Chesapeake Bay Retrievers >
From Dec 2012 Rank = 31 / Number of Evaluations = 12664 dogs / Percent Excellent = 12.5 / Percent Dysplastic = 20.3
What do these numbers mean to a puppy buyer?
20 % of Chesapeakes that had their hips x-rayed and submitted them for evaluation with the OFA had some form of Hip Dysplasia. Buyers need to know that not all breeders submit all breeding stock x-rays to the OFA for evaluation and some breeders substitute dogs to gain clearances so this number is likely low.
Puppy buyers should do their research- look for several generations of Hip Clearances in the litter pedigree. Buyers should also look for –VPI behind the certification number which means the dog had a permanent identification which was verified prior to the x-ray. The OFA website says “ Prospective buyers should check pedigrees and/or verify health issues with the breeder. If suitable documentation is not available, assume the worst until proven otherwise.”
Elbow Dysplasia (ED)
Cataracts (CERF)- yearly eye exam by a certified Veterinary
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)- adult on set of blindness
Degenerative Myopathy (DM)
Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The disease has an insidious onset typically between 8 and 14 years of age. It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The affected dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag the feet. This can first occur in one hind limb and then affect the other. As the disease progresses, the limbs become weak and the dog begins to buckle and has difficulty standing. The weakness gets progressively worse until the dog is unable to walk. The clinical course can range from 6 months to 1 year before dogs become paraplegic. If signs progress for a longer period of time, loss of urinary and fecal continence may occur and eventually weakness will develop in the front limbs. Another key feature of DM is that it is not a painful disease.
Exercise Induced Collapse Syndrome (EIC)
Exercise-induced collapse (EIC) is a genetic syndrome- affected Dogs show signs of muscle weakness, incoordination, and life-threatening collapse when participating in strenuous exercise or activity. Affected dogs can tolerate mild to moderate exercise, but just 5 to 20 minutes of strenuous activity, or even extreme excitement such as that seen in field trials or hunt tests, can induce weakness or collapse. Dogs Affected with EIC usually cannot continue with intense retriever training, but can live normal lives as house pets.
Dogs that have EIC are prone to mild to severe collapse that can range from dragging of the hind legs to complete collapse. Signs become apparent in young dogs as they enter heavy training - usually between 7 months and 2 years of age. Dogs of either sex can be affected. Dogs with this condition are always normal at rest and are usually described as being extremely fit, prime athletic specimens of their breed. Nervous system, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal examinations are unremarkable as is routine blood analysis at rest and during an episode of collapse.
Ectodermal Dysplasia/Skin Fragility Syndrome (ED/SFS)
ED/SFS Is a very rare human skin condition unknown to occur in dogs until discovered by Laura Chambers /LongMeadow Kennels in 2009. A DNA Test was developed in 2011 to identify carrier dogs. This condition does not affect anyone who purchases a puppy as affected pups die shortly after birth. For more information on ED/SFS go to www.edsfschesapeakebayretrievers.com
Dog Health Certification Organizations
Other Health Issues in Chesapeakes:
Knuckling/ Pastern Collapse
Young Chesapeake puppies suffer from "Knuckling" in their pasterns/wrist area of their front legs. It is caused by their long bones growing at a faster rate than their muscles so the result is the pup's legs cannot support it's weight.
Chesapeakes have a very heavy front assembly- their large heads and chest weigh a good deal and their little legs cannot support them. So when the pup runs and plays the pastern/wrist area gets over stressed and will "wobble", shake, knuckle or bend backwards.
To stop knuckling you need to slow down the rate of growth in the puppy. To do this we suggest that you feed low fat/no fat cottage cheese with each meal. We also suggest that you change to half adult food- be sure to keep it a "chicken" based formula.
We also suggest that you use a baby vitamin without iron such as Tri-Vi-Sol which can be ordered at most pharmacies. While the pup is experiencing knuckling we suggest not over doing (exercise) with the puppy for a couple of weeks until his/her growth gets in sync.
Your vet may believe that the puppy is suffering from "rickets" or "pano" or suggest some other orthopedic deformity which will require many expensive testing but this is a very common problem for baby Chessies and other large breed dogs.
Urinary Tract Infections
Non distended testicles
Panosteitis (“Pano”) has been found in Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, but can only be diagnosed by x-rays of the affected limbs and read by a board certified radiologist. The radiologist will look for inconsistencies within the makeup of the dog’s bone- the bone will appear “fuzzy”. Pano is not life threatening and will go away as the dog matures. Pano does not affect every dog in a litter- it is based on each individual growth patterns, diet and exercise.
Stud Dog Tail
Seasonal Flank Alopecia
Limber tail syndrome, or acute caudal myopathy, is a disorder of the muscles in the tail, usually affecting working dogs. Limber Tail Syndrome is also known as Cold Water Tail, Broken Tail, Dead Tail or Broken Wag. The injury affects the tail of the dog, causing it to be painful at or near its base. Limber Tail can be recognized by a very flaccid tail, or a tail that is held horizontally for 3 to 4 inches, and then drops vertically. Limber tail may be caused by lots of swimming in water that is too cold or too warm, or engaging in heavy exercise of some sort (i.e. hunting). Dogs that are under-conditioned to the activity may be more susceptible.
Rage Syndrome, also known as Sudden Onset Aggression or (SOA) or Avalanche of Rage Syndrome, is a serious but rare behavioral problem. It is often misdiagnosed as it can be confused with other forms of aggression. It is thought to be genetic in origin and is inheritable.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Autoimmune Haemolytic Anaemia, or AIHA