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Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Start your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.


Jump down to this list of
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Health Problems


Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever puppy or adult dog:

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How many vaccinations does your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever puppy really need? Does your adult dog need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you... [read more]

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female Toller be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male Toller? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

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Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Complete list of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever health problems

The Canadian Toller Club conducted a health survey that included 1180 dogs.

The club reported that the average age of death for the dogs in their survey was less than 7 years old, and that only 21% of deceased dogs lived to age 12 or older. This is very worrisome in a dog this size.

What caused the most deaths in Tollers

  • Cancer (25% of Toller deaths)
  • Autoimmune diseases (7% of Toller deaths), where a Toller's defective immune system attacks its own body. Autoimmune diseases in Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers include:
    • Addison's disease (which can appear in Tollers as early as 4 months old and be very difficult to treat)
    • thyroid disease (according to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 27% of Tollers have low thyroid levels, the 8th worst rate of 140 breeds)
    • lupus (attacks the organs, joints, and skin)
    • autoimmune hemolytic anemia (a blood disease)
    • colitis, which can cause chronic diarrhea
    • a blood-clotting disease called thrombocytopenia
    • a severe form of arthritis called juvenile onset polyarthritis that strikes young Tollers
  • Heart disease (6% of Toller deaths), especially pulmonic stenosis, subaortic stenosis, mitral valve disease, and patent ductus arteriosus
  • Epilepsy / seizures (4% of Toller deaths)

Eye diseases in Tollers

The most serious eye disease in Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which appears at age 3-6 and causes blindness.

Fortunately, a simple DNA test is available for PRA in Tollers, so you can find out at any time whether your dog has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.

Cataracts can appear at a young age.

Tollers can also have malformations of their eyelids and eyelashes, which can irritate their eyeball and lead to corneal ulcers.

Other eye diseases in Tollers include corneal dystrophy and persistent pupillary membranes.

Neurological diseases in Tollers

We've already seen that epilepsy is a serious problem in the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

Degenerative myelopathy attacks the spinal cord, resulting in gradual but total rear leg paralysis.

Degenerative encephalopathy is a devastating hereditary brain disease that shows up in young Tollers. It gets progressively worse until the dog has to be euthanized by 3 or 4 years old. A DNA test can tell whether your dog has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.

Orthopedic diseases

Bad joints (hips, elbows, knees) cause pain and lameness and can require expensive surgery.

The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of nearly 2400 Tollers and found 6% dysplastic. Fortunately that's not too bad for this size dog. Elbow dysplasia and luxating patella (loose knee joints) occur much less often.

Other health problems

Chronic allergies cause itchy skin and scratching that can lead to skin infections ("hot spots").

Thyroid disease occurs in Tollers, where low thyroid levels might need daily supplementation.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers can be born deaf, or partially deaf.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

My best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.