Medical Care Schedule Recommended


Distemper vaccination series can be started as early as 6 weeks. If started at 6 weeks then a series of 4 vaccinations needs to be done every 4 weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. If started after 6 weeks then a series of 3 vaccinations 4 weeks apart should be given.

6 weeks of age
• Examination.
• DHPP 1 of 4 (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo) vaccination.
The first, possibly also the second distemper combo vaccination should not have leptospirosis in it. Lepto is known to cause vaccine reactions, so it is best to wait until the pup is older to introduce lepto into the vaccine series. You should go by the recommendation of your Veterinarian.
• Fecal Examination/proper deworming.

7-8 weeks of age
• Examination.
• DHLPP 2 of 4 (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvo) vaccination.
• BORD 1 of 2 (Kennel Cough) vaccination – required if puppy is going to be attending puppy kindergarten, obedience classes, boarding or grooming.
• Fecal Examination/proper deworming.
• Heartworm prevention started (I recommend Interceptor or Sentinel Spectrum) given once a month on the same day each month.
I recommend year round heartworm prevention. Interceptor and Sentinel Spectrum. Both will control internal parasites and Sentinel Spectrum will control tapeworms. Sentinel has an added flea “birth control” medication in it. When an adult flea bites the dog it will ingest the medication that will make it sterile so it won’t reproduce so you won’t have an infestation in your house.
Yearly heartworm blood test is recommended after the puppy’s first b-day.
• Flea/Tick medication started (recommend Vectra 3D).
• CERF examination can be done to check for congenital or hereditary eye diseases.

11-12 weeks of age
• Examination.
• DHLPP 3 of 4 (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvo) vaccination.
• BORD 2 of 2 (Kennel Cough) vaccination.
• LYMES 1 of 2 – should be started if puppy is going to be in wooded or marsh areas, as in camping and hunting situations.
• Fecal Examination/proper deworming.

15-16 weeks of age
• Examination
• DHLPP 4 of 4 (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvo) vaccination.
• LYMES 2 of 2 vaccination.
• RABIES 1year vaccination.
The first Rabies vaccination expires in one year from vaccination date. If next Rabies vaccination is given before the due date each additional vaccination will expire 3 years from date of vaccination (depending on your state’s Rabies laws). Law requires each dog be vaccinated against rabies. Each state has it’s own requirements on when the first vaccination and how often the vaccination is given.

A series of vaccinations need to be given as the puppy grows since they can carry their mother’s maternal antibodies in their system up till around 4 months of age. This protective immunity interferes with vaccination, however. Antibodies acquired from the dam degrade over time. Until these antibodies degrade to a certain concentration, they will neutralize the vaccine component just as they would the original pathogen. Therefore, we give multiple vaccinations, starting at an age when we know antibody levels are declining (about 6 weeks), and continue through 12-16 weeks of age, depending on the vaccine. The goal is for one or more of these vaccinations to overcome the maternal antibodies and stimulate an effective and long-lasting protective immune response. (Melissa A Kennedy, DVM, PhD – Collage of Veterinary Medicine University of Tennessee).

5-6 months of age
• Puppy can be spayed or neutered (see handout).
• Radiograph of hips at time of spay/neuter surgery to see how the hip conformation is doing.
• Microchip can be implanted if not already done for a permanent identification should your puppy become lost or stolen.

1 year of age
• OFA preliminary hip/elbow radiographs can be taken.
• CERF exam done annually to check for hereditary eye diseases.

16 months of age
• Physical examination, fecal examination, heartworm blood test.
• Annual vaccinations. Your vet may modify the vaccination schedule each year accordingly for each individual puppy. They will vaccinate for the appropriate viruses that the dog maybe at risk for developing. How often and when the vaccines are administered is up to the recommendations of your Veterinarian.

2 years of age
• OFA hip/elbow radiographs can be taken and sent to OFA for certification.
• CERF exam done annually to check for hereditary eye diseases.

These tests are done if you plan on leaving your puppy intact for breeding purposes. Proofs of certification of hips/eyes are required in order to have the limited registration lifted on your pup’s AKC registration.

Tests that can be done at any age

These tests are a one time test, once done they don’t have to be repeated.
• DNA profiling – blood sample sent to genetic laboratory will be able to prove parentage after this test is done.
More information is found on the AKC website: or on the UKC website:
• DNA-DM (Degenerative Myelopathy)
Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The breeds most commonly affected include German Shepherds, Welsh Corgis, Irish Setters, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. The disease has an insidious onset typically around 9-11 years of age. It begins with ataxia: a loss of coordination in the hind limbs. The affected dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag their feet, and may cross the feet. As the disease progresses, the limbs become weak and the dog begins to buckle at the knees and have difficulty standing. The weakness gets progressively worse until the dog is unable to walk. They may ultimately lose continence and function in the front limbs. This test will identify genetically normal dogs (N/N), carrier (A/N) and at-risk (A/A) dogs. For more information on DM go to University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine website,
• DNA-EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse)
Exercise-induced collapse (EIC) is a recently recognized disorder of increasing significance in Labrador Retrievers, especially those dogs used for hunting and field trials. Dogs affected with EIC develop muscle weakness, in coordination and life-threatening collapse after just five to fifteen minutes of field exercise and cannot participate in many types of strenuous activities. This test will identify genetically normal dogs (N/N), carrier or heterozygote (E/N) and affected or homozygote (E/E).
For more information on EIC go to University of Minnesota website,
• PRA – Progressive Retinal atrophy test, which will identify genetically normal dogs (Type A) with 100% accuracy. The carrier state (Type B) will not be affected but may produce PRA if bred to an affected dog. The affected (Type C) is at risk for developing PRA. For more information check out OPTIGEN’S website,
• Von Willerbrandt’s – is a genetic disease that prevents blood from clotting. A blood test can be done to test for this. It isn’t common but has been noted in the Chesapeake.
These tests should be done once a year for the well being of your dog.
• Fecal examination – checks stool sample for intestinal parasites. Some intestinal parasites are transmittable to people.
• Heartworm blood test – should be checked once a year to make sure your dog hasn’t come down with heartworm disease. Even if the dog is on heartworm prevention yearly a test should be done or it will void the manufactures guarantee claiming if your dog comes down with heartworm disease while on their prevention they will pay for all cost of treatment.
• Chemistry panel/cbc – blood test that will tell if your dog has an infection, is anemic and will tell hydration status. It will also give baseline chemistry values to check how the internal organs are functioning. It will check for diabetes, liver and kidney function and many more functions.
• Routine urinalysis. This will check for urinary tract infections and can detect problems like diabetes and kidney problems.
• Physical examination – your pet should have a yearly examination to make sure he/she is healthy. An exam should be done regardless if vaccinations are due that year or not.