Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Health Problems

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Health Problems

The Nova Scotia duck tolling retrieverOpens in a new tab. is one of six retrieving breeds, which all retrieve game, commonly waterfowl, by gently delivering the downed prey right to their hunter’s hand.

Often called the Duck Toller, these retrievers also have another very advanced skill, that the other retrievers do not.

Being red with a bushy tail, these Nova Scotia Opens in a new tab.dogs resemble foxes, which for some odd reason fascinates water birds, especially ducks.

As the Nova Scotia duck tolling retrieverOpens in a new tab. bounds around the shoreline, ducks move in for a closer look and right into the scope of a hunter’s rifle.

This breed was taught by the Micmac Indians of Canada to “lure” ducks in this way and in Middle English, the word tolling means “to lure.”


For all of this activity of running and retrieving, the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever requires Opens in a new tab.good health and plenty of energy.

If you are considering adding Duck Toller to your home, you may wonder if they are a healthy breed or have any health problems.Opens in a new tab. In this post,

I will have information on Tolling retriever common diseases and Tolling retriever health Opens in a new tab.issue symptoms and treatment.

To check your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vetOpens in a new tab. website for all the help you may need.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Health Problems
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Tolling Retriever Common Diseases

Any type of dog you may get can be susceptible to diseases, either genetically or from inadequate nutrition and exercise.

Often mixed breed dogs, or mutts, are overall healthier, than purebred dogs due to less than reputable breeders.

If breeders are responsible for not over-breeding or breeding dogs with underlying conditions, then purebreds can live a healthy life too.


The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is a relatively healthy breed, but again, due to hereditary conditions and unhealthy practices they can develop diseases.

Below are diseases that are more common than others and sometimes found in the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever.

  • Collie Eye anomaly


Even those this sounds like a disease that occurs in only collies, it can develop in other breeds as well.

This disorder is genetic and is caused when the eye doesn’t develop in the correct way and causes the inadequate blood supply to blood vessels in the eye.

Pits or holes develop and the eye becomes unable to absorb light which in turn, can cause blindness. Puppies as young as eight weeks can be affected.

There is no treatment or cure for collie eye anomaly, just prevention by not breeding dogs that carry this gene. In many cases, vision is affected but may not lead to total vision loss.

  • PRA or Progressive Retinal Atrophy

PRA or progressive retinal atrophy leads to blindness in dogs that are affected and is also inherited. The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is predisposed to this disease.

The two scenarios that cause PRA are either receptors of light in the retina degenerate or they never fully develop.

This does not allow light to enter the retina, with vision deteriorating and eventual blindness occurring. For dogs to develop PRA, they need to inherit two genes, one from each parent.

Carrying only one gene won’t cause PRA, but your Duck Toller will be a carrier and should not be bred.

Symptoms will present as night blindness at first, where your pup will bump into furniture in the dark and be hesitant to go outside at night.

There is no treatment for progressive retinal atrophy, just prevention in not breeding dogs with this gene and using a breeder that does likewise and also tests dogs for this mutation.

Dogs acclimate very well to blindness and can lead a very normal and full life.

  • Obesity

Although obesity isn’t exactly a disease itself, it is very common in dogs and will contribute to many health issues Opens in a new tab.and diseases. Obesity can cause heart, liver, and kidney diseases as well as diabetes.

Being overweight can also cause bone and joint issues for your Toller. Nova Scotia duck tollers are prone to obesity if they are overfed or don’t receive enough exercise.

It’s best to feed your pup a healthy diet, limit snacks and ensure them plenty of exercise.

Both hip and elbow dysplasiaOpens in a new tab. are inherited diseases, with Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers prone to both and these can occur in dogs at a young age.

They both occur from malformations of the hip and elbow joints, progressively worsening and eventually causing arthritis. Symptoms are:

  • Stiffness
  • Pain
  • Hopping and limping
  • Lameness
  • Difficulty standing or sitting
  • Cracking sounds in joints
  • Shows no interest in walks or play
  • Difficulty climbing stairs, getting on furniture, or into cars

Both hip and elbow dysplasia can be diagnosed through x-rays and treatments should begin as early as possible. Some treatments are:

  • Physical therapy
  • Water therapy
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
  • Steroids (injections or oral meds)
  • Acupuncture
  • surgery
Tolling Retriever Common Diseases
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Other Tolling Retriever Health Issue Symptoms and Treatment

  • Addison’s disease


Addison’s disease, also known as hypoadrenocorticism, is a concern and has been found in Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers.

Two very small glands, known as the adrenal glands, are located by the kidneys and produce cortisol and aldosterone, which regulate certain functions of the body.

Addison’s disease occurs when your pup’s body is not producing enough of either hormone.

One of two types of Addison’s disease can develop. Primary Addison’s can occur when your Toller’s own immune system attacks and destroys the adrenal gland.

Secondary Addison’s is the result of the use of too many steroids, which should be tapered off, but are stopped too abruptly, and also a tumor in the pituitary gland. Symptoms are:

  • Shaking
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • No appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • weakness
  • very slow heart rate

Treatment is generally through oral medication, usually lifelong replacement of both aldosterone and cortisol.

Monitoring of your pup is necessary at the beginning of treatment to get hormone levels correct, but dogs with Addison’s disease can live a normal life with a very promising diagnosis.

  • Hypothyroidism

This is another disease that involves a lack of hormones, primarily thyroid hormones, and is quite common in dogs. When your Duck Toller’s thyroid fails to produce adequate hormones, symptoms can be:

  • Lethargy
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Weight gain without consuming more food
  • Skin rashes and infections
  • Ear infections
  • Loss of fur

Blood tests can identify hypothyroidism and an oral medication, usually, levothyroxine will replace thyroid hormones dissipating symptoms. Blood levels need to be monitored and dosages can fluctuate.

Other Tolling Retriever Health Issue Symptoms and Treatment
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  • Lupus

Lupus is a disease that can occur in Duck Toller’s but is much rarer than other diseases. Caused by your pup’s immune system attacking itself, systemic Lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease.

Lupus causes chronically inflamed joints, skin, and often internal organs such as the kidneys, liver, and heart and can lead to death when severe. Symptoms can be:

  • Lethargy
  • Lameness
  • Pain in joints
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Loss of fur
  • Seizures


This generally occurs in dogs from three to seven years of age. There is no cure for Lupus but symptoms can be medically managed.

The bottom line with taking home any dog, whether purebred or a mutt, is that there are no guarantees of good health, just as we humans have no promise of living a healthy life to 100!

Your best chance for taking home a healthy Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is seeking out a responsible breeder who can show you records and also participate in genetic testing.

Never buy any breed from a pet store. The percentage is very high that you are setting yourself up for owning a dog with health Opens in a new tab.and perhaps behavioral issues.


Once your Duck Toller is yours, feed them healthy food, give them plenty of exercise, training, and love and make sure they see their veterinarian for wellness visits along with vaccinations.

This is your contribution to ensuring a healthy Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever and that this redhead will be with you and your family for many healthy years to come.

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