Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club of Canada

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  Health Information Articles

Like any breed, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers face health issues. However, this club has a long history of trying to meet these issues head-on and working to eliminate the most severe problems.

Jamie Klein, Chair of the Toller Health Committee, has developed the following series of articles to provide information on a variety of tests and health issues that may affect our breed.

Importance of using health tests:

Knowing the status of the dog and the status of the dog’s lineage allows breeders and genetic counselors to decide which matings are the most appropriate for reducing the incidence of disease and disorders in the offspring.



Following is a list of health tests currently required or recommended for screening Tollers in a current breeding program, including links to the various health registries and organizations as well as a detailed article on each subject:

Test and Registry Links:   Articles:

1.   CAER EYE EXAM:  The dog has a Normal Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER) Exam performed annually clearing the dog of hereditary eye problems by a board certified ophthalmologist such as and 


  Companion Animal Eye Registry
2.  HIP DYSPLASIA:  The dog's hips are X-rayed and evaluated by the board certified radiologists at Orthopedic Foundation for Animals when the Dog is at least 24 months of age and/or by PennHIP

OFA maintains the database.  It is encouraged to make all results open to the public.


  Canine Hip Displaysia
3.   PRA/CEA/CH:  The dog is rated Clear or Carrier with the OptiGen
PRA and CEA/CH gene marker tests unless the PARENTS are DNA tested and this offspring is deemed Cleared By Parentage (CBP)

The owner agrees never to breed carrier or affected dogs that may produce Progressive Retinal Atrophy or Collie Eye Anomaly/Choroidal Hypoplasia.

These results can be include on OFA's public database through submission via


  Optigen DNA Testing for PRA & CEA

4.   THYROID:  OFA Thyroid Panel test levels are within Normal limits by Hemolife, Michigan State University (MSU), OFA, or Guelph.  The results of testing by these laboratories are accepted by OFA and can be included on its database.  Screen annually from puberty; test females during anestrus.

  Thyroid Testing

5.  CARDIAC:  The dog is Certified Normal for Heart disease via an OFA Heart certification (to be performed by a Practitioner/Cardiologist/Specialist) after 12 months of age to rule out congenital defects.  An Echo Ultrasound Heart Analysis performed and/or Holter 24-48 monitoring of the heart’s electrical activity would be the ideal heart evaluation protocol.


  Cardiac Clearances

6.   DNA TESTS:  The dog has been tested through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals  to determine DNA status for: 

     a) Juvenile Addison's Disease (JADD) unless the parents are DNA tested and this offspring is deemed Cleared By Parentage (CBP)

      b) Cleft Palate 1 (CP1) unless the parents are DNA tested and this offspring is deemed Cleared By Parentage (CBP)

      c) Cleft Lip/Palate/Syndactyly (CLPS) unless the parents are DNA tested and this offspring is deemed Cleared By Parentage (CBP)

      d) Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) unless the parents are DNA tested and this offspring is deemed Cleared By Parentage (CBP)

      e) Degenerative Encephalopathy (DE) To order, go to and click on ORDER DNA TESTS. If a test is desired before ordering through OFA is set up, owners can send a blood sample to the Animal Genetics Lab at U of MO for testing. Test fee for new samples will be $65.

To request forms and instructions for sending a new sample, or to request a report on a dog with DNA already at U of MO, please contact Liz Hansen at



  DNA Tests

7.   The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals also offers certification for:

     a) Elbow Dysplasia

     b) Patellar Luxation

      c) Dentition Database

      d) Buff/Dilute Coat Color

  OFFA Additional Tests

8.  Multi-drug Resistance (MDR1) gene – Washington State University who performs this test has indicated that Tollers are not listed as a breed affected by the mutation because they have not encountered a positive to date. 


  Multi-drug Resistance Gene

9.  Ongoing studies in Liver Shunt Research:

"Unfortunately, liver shunts have been present too often in my line as well as with other tollers.  I have been in contact with Bannasch Laboratory to see what we can do to help genetically identify this disease.  We need bloodwork from affected tollers, parents of tollers with shunts, and non-affected siblings.  I would appreciate everyone’s help on this.  If you have a toller that fits one of the categories above, please contact me personally and I will speak with you about what is needed.  Your help can really make the difference in working to conquer this illness!"

Alyson Casper
Cyon Tollers
NSDTRC-USA National Rescue Coordinator
Phone: 954-424-8194



Liver Shunt Research


10. Public Databases for more information about Tollers and tracking health information, including:

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals


  Public Databases for General Information

For more information about research into these or other issues that may affect Tollers, please contact:
Jamie Klein, Chair of the Health Committee
jw_klein @


February 18, 2017