As with all dogs, there are certain health problems that the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is prone to developing. Hip Dysplasia is one of those problems. Many large breed dogs are susceptible to hip Dysplasia.
Hip Dysplasia is a hereditary disease that affects the joints and hips of dogs and can cause arthritis and possibly cripple the dog. It is caused by genetics as well as factors in the dog's environment such as diet and daily habits. Hip Dysplasia, the most common cause of hip arthritis, is one the most common researched diseases in dogs, especially large breed dogs.
In hip Dysplasia, the joints (caput and acetabulum) that attach the hip to the thigh are not a snug fit, but rather loosely put together. In addition, they are not perfectly rounded and smooth, and this causes abnormal and excess wear and tear on the joints, eventually causing pain to the dog.
There is a special X-ray that a dog can have that will tell the condition of their hips and whether or not they have hip Dysplasia. The different grades they give the hips that don't really have signs of Dysplasia are excellent, good, fair and borderline. If there are indications of hip Dysplasia, they also are graded as mild, moderate, severe. When the X-ray is read by the radiologists, it is sent to the Orthopedic Foundation to be recorded on the dog's pedigree. It's very important when you get a Chesapeake Bay retriever, whether purchased or not, that you check the pedigree of the dog you are getting. The Pedigree will tell you if the parents and grandparents have been OFA certified against hip Dysplasia. The fact that the parents don't have hip Dysplasia is not a guarantee that the pup won't develop hip Dysplasia as an adult, but you stand a better chance if there is no history of the disease in the family.
However, other factors also have a bearing on hip Dysplasia. The Chesapeake Bay retriever grows very fast and is very active. Because of the way they grow they need extra vitamins, supplements and good quality food to make sure this rapidly growing body is healthy. Chesapeakes that are deficient in Vitamin C, calcium or bone meal often are prone to getting conditions that will lead to hip Dysplasia. A good diet will lessen the dog's chances of getting hip Dysplasia as they get older.
Restricting your Chesapeake Bay retriever from many unnecessary jumps will also help the dog. Many vets recommend a stool for dogs to stand on before jumping on the bed if they sleep on their owner's bed. This kind of jumping up and down is very hard on the hips of many of these large breeds that are susceptible to Dysplasia. Generally, the symptoms will develop in the dog by the time they are 18 months of age, although some don't show up until later in life. It can be mild to severe in nature, depending on the dog. The vet can tell you the severity and what you can do to help the dog.