2002

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Health Survey

The mission of the Toller Health Coalition is to be leaders in the collection, research and dissemination of information, ideas, and knowledge of all issues related to Toller health. Our goal is to give members of the Toller community the resources and wisdom they need that will lead to ongoing and sustained health in their own breeding program and particularly in the breed as a whole.

The objective of this survey was to discover which diseases and conditions occur in the Toller population worldwide and what the frequency of those diseases and conditions are in the breed. It was estimated that we would need to gather information on no less than 650 Tollers and Toller owners world-wide responded by returning information on 1180 Tollers!

This survey was designed with the guidance and advice of Dr. George Padgett and covered dogs in the owners possession during the period of 1992 to July of 2002 to give a "current snapshot" of the state of Toller health. Availability of the survey was made possible through mail-outs with club newsletters, by mail to individuals who requested it and as an electronic document available through the Toller Health Coalition website (www.tollerhealth.com) and the NSDTR Club of Canada website (www.toller.ca). Additionally Pia Risku generously donated her time and effort to translate the survey into both Finnish and Swedish, and made those versions of the survey available through her own website.

The success of this survey would not have been possible without the open cooperation of Toller owners worldwide. The results of this survey are a direct reflection of the dedication and caring of the Toller community.
 
 

Survey Summary


 
Total Reported
Percentage of
Total Surveys
Total Surveys 1180  
Males 525 44.49
Females 655 55.51
Alive 989 83.81
Dead 141 11.95
Unreported 50 4.24
Average Age of Reported Dogs (Alive) 4 Years  
Minimum Age of Reported Dogs (Alive) 8 Weeks  
Maximum Age of Reported Dogs (Alive) 14 Years  

Country

 
Total Reported
Percentage of
Total Surveys
Australia 76 6.44
Belgium 2 .17
Canada 304 25.76
Denmark 50 4.24
Finland 163 13.81
Germany 4 .34
Netherlands 3 .25
New Zealand 7 .59
Norway 7 .59
Sweden 116 9.83
Switzerland 8 .68
United Kingdom 31 2.63
United States 355 30.08
Unreported 54 4.58

Overall Health

 
Total Reported
Percentage of
Total Surveys
Excellent 856 72.54
Good 134 11.36
Fair 56 4.75
Poor 23 1.95
Bad 65 5.51
Unreported 46 3.9

Cause of Death

 
Total Reported
Percentage Of 
Deceased Dogs
Accidental 10 7.09
Addisons 3 2.13
Birth Defect 3 2.13
Cancer/Tumours 36 25.53
Heart 9 6.38
Immune System 6 4.26
Kidney 4 2.84
Liver 8 5.67
Natural Causes/Age 13 9.22
Nervous System 11 7.80
Other 12 8.51
The "Other" causes of death included: single reports of pyometra, anaphylactic shock, myco-toxin poisoning, progressive paralysis, chronic allergy, distemper, diabetes, chronic genovitis, lyme disease, fear biting due to failing sight (PRA), pancreatitis, and tension pneumothorax caused by lung defect.
Skeletal 6 4.26
Temperament 6 4.26
Unknown 8 5.67
Dogs in the "Unknown" cause of death category range in age from 15 months to 10 years with the median age being 4.55 years. Autopsies were performed on 3 and were inconclusive.
Unreported 6 4.26
There were a total of 141 dogs reported as Deceased during the survey time period. Of those 141 dogs, 30 were age 12 or older at the time of their death. One reached the age of 16, 9 were age 15,  3 – 14, 8 – 13 and 9 were 12. Once the accidental deaths and pups euthanized for birth defects had been factored out, the average age at time of death was 6.4 years.

The most often reported cause of death was cancer/tumours with a total of 36 dogs. Of these 36 dogs, 17 of them reached their 10th birthday. The average age of the cancer/tumour deaths was 5.5 years with ages ranging from 6 months to 15 years. The average age of death for the 19 under the age of 10 was 5.85 years.

13 deaths were attributed to natural causes/age. Other significant causes of death were: 5 due to seizures or epilepsy; 10 due to various auto-immune disorders including Addison's disease; 12 due to kidney or liver disease; 6 for aggressive behaviour; 9 due to heart failure or a heart defect.

Diet

 
Total Reported
Percentage of
Total Surveys
Dry 757 64.15
Canned 3 .25
Homemade (Cooked) 22 1.86
Raw (Bones and Raw Food) 101 8.56
Combined 214 18.14
Unreported 83 7.03

Anesthesia/Sedation

 
Total Reported
Percentage of
Total Surveys
Yes 870 73.73
No 288 24.41
Unreported 22 1.86
Adverse Reaction* 20 2.3

* Adverse Reactions:
   Seizure(1), Vomiting, Extreme agitation, Extreme low heart rate,
   Woke up scared and disoriented

Vaccine Reactions

 
Total Reported
Percentage of
Total Surveys
Adverse Vaccine Reactions 31 2.63
Swelling, Sluggish, Tumours, Anaphylactic Shock, Auto-immune disease, Lump at vaccination site, Swelling of rear legs, Panniculitis, Nausea, High Temperature, Tiredness

Altered Dogs

  Total Reported
Percentage of
Total Surveys
Altered 441 37.37
Unaltered 710 60.17
Altering Not Specified 29 2.46
Males - Altered 200 16.95
Males - Unaltered 318 26.95
Males - Altering Not Specified 7 .59
Females – Altered 241 20.42
Females – Unaltered 392 33.22
Females – Altering Not Specified 22 1.86

Breeding – Females

 
Total Reported
Percentage
Number Females Bred 208 17.63% of total surveys
Average Number of times bred 2.3  
Highest Number Litters Reported 7  
Lowest Number Litters Reported 1  
Total Number of Litters Reported  481  
Total Number of Litters Whelped by C-Section 48 9.98% of litters whelped
Total Number of Litters Whelped Naturally  433 90.02% of litters whelped
Highest Number Puppies Reported Whelped  12  
Highest Number Puppies Reported Alive at 8 Weeks  12  
 
Total Reported
Frequency
Refusal of males 7
3.37/100
Failure to Conceive* 21
10.1/100
Fetal Deaths 25
12.02/100
Produced Cleft Palates 15
7.21/100
      Hard Cleft 11
5.29/100
      Soft Cleft 3
1.44/100
Fading Puppies 10
4.81/100
Pyometra 8
3.85/100
Eclampsia 6
2.88/100
Mastitis 8
3.85/100
Malformed Puppy** 9
4.33/100
Swimmer Puppy 1
.48/100
Primary Uterine Inertia 10
4.81/100
Chronic False Pregnancy 13
6.25/100
Vaginal Infection 13
6.25/100
Irregular Heats 26
12.5/100
Vaginal Stricture 3
1.44/100
Secondary Uterine Inertia 1
0.48/100
Subinvolution of placental sites 1
0.48/100
Other Comments – 1 report of slight pre-eclampsia signs. 1 had a misplaced uterus which was wrapped around the bladder. 1 report of an incomplete heat cycle

* Failure to Conceive
            Average number of times -1.1
            Minimum number of times – 1
            Maximum number of times – 2

** Specific Malformations
           Anasarca(1), Malformed Hind Legs, Mitral Valve Infarction, Pulmonic Stenosis,
            Excessive Size, Cranial Dysraphism, Malformed Foot Pads, Broken Tail,
            Non-adhered Suture Lines (full body), Megaesophagus, Hydrocephalic,
           Persistant Right Aortic Arch

Breeding – Males

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Number of Males Bred 71  6.02% of total surveys
Number of Litters 287  
Infertility* 7
9.86/100
Cryptorchidism 10
14.08/100
Monorchidism 8
11.27/100
Abnormal Sperm 1
1.41/100
Testicular Atrophy 3
4.23/100
Lack of Interest in Female 2
2.82/100
Impotence 1
1.41/100
Produced Cleft Palates 7
9.86/100
     Hard Cleft 7
9.86/100
     Soft Cleft 1
1.41/100

* Infertility:
        Average Age of Onset – 4.3 Years
        Minimum Age of Onset – 1 Years
        Maximum Age of Onset – 10 Years

Skeletal

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Hip Dysplasia 54
4.58/100
Elbow Dysplasia 3
0.25/100
Osteochondritis Dissecans 3
0.25/100
Panosteitis 4
0.34/100
Spondylosis 6
0.51/100
Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy 2
0.17/100
Patella Luxation 6
0.51/100
Chondrodysplasia 3
0.25/100
Overshot 3
0.25/100
Undershot 11
0.93/100
Wry Mouth 3
0.25/100
Brachydactyly (Short Toe Anomaly) 3
0.25/100
Degenerative Disk Disease 3
0.25/100
Herniated Disk 9
0.76/100
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear 8
0.68/100
Arthritis 6
0.51/100
Lumbrosacral Stenosis 1
0.08/100
Other Comments - Among the Skeletal Other Comments were singular comments about teeth - misaligned, missing premolar, retained baby tooth, weak enamel, extra tooth, rotten and needing extraction - a possible case of spondylosis, one report of damaged cruciate ligament without a tear, one suspected but undiagnosed case of OCD, one dog with deformed tail vertebrae. Additionally there was one report each of a shorter hind leg, and abnormal front leg bone growth. One report each of slipped disk, and calcified disk.

Endocrine Systems

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Diabetes Mellitus 1
0.08/100
Hypothyroid 22
1.86/100
Hyperthyroid 1
0.08/100
Pancreatitis 3
0.25/100
Addisons* 12
1.02/100
Diabetes Incipitus 1
0.08/100
Other Comments – 1 report of thyroid in the gray zone, 1 where the thyroid is equivocal. 1 dog may require additional tests for cushings disease, tests at time of survey indicated chronic active kidney disease. 1 dog developed one episode of high sodium levels, no cause found. 1 ruptured spleen, no cancer found. 1 had no adrenal glands present at time of autopsy (cause of death Addisons disease).
*Addisons – additional information from Survey
Females – 9
Males – 3 
Deceased – 4
Average Reported Age Addisons Onset - 2.35 Years
Minimum Reported Age Addisons Onset - 15 Weeks
Maximum Reported Age Addisons Onset - 8.16 Years
Average Reported Age of Addisons Dog at time of Survey – 5.3 Years
Minimum Reported Age of Addisons Dog at time of Survey – 1 Years
Maximum Reported Age of Addisons Dog at time of Survey – 10 Years
Average Reported Death Age - 3.25 Years
Minimum Reported Death Age – 2 Years
Maximum Reported Death Age – 6 Years
Death Cause: 3 – Addisons; 1 – Immune problems

Eyes

 
Total Reported
Frequency
PRA* 18
1.53/100
Cataracts 16
1.36/100
Distichiasis 42
3.55/100
Entropion 2
0.17/100
Optic Nerve Hypoplasia 1
0.08/100
Corneal Dystrophy 5
0.42/100
Micropupil 1
0.08/100
Retinal Folds 1
0.08/100
Nuclear (lens) Sclerosis 1
0.08/100
Corneal lipid deposits 2
0.17/100
Other Comments – There were 5 reports of chronic eye infections, 6 of missing or blocked tear ducts and 3 with chronic tearing. One dog, age 7, was reported blind with no cause listed. 1 has retinal scarring listed as a possible reaction to the bordatella vaccine. 1 corneal ulcer was reported.

*       PRA Average Age of Onset - 5.7 Years
         Minimum Age Onset – 3 Years
         Maximum Age Onset – 10 Years
        Also diagnosed with Cataracts – 5 dogs

Cancer

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Tumours (Benign) 28
2.37/100
Mammary Gland 13
1.1/100
Testicular 2
0.17/100
Leukemia 2
0.17/100
Lymphoma 7
0.59/100
Fibrosarcoma 3
0.25/100
Osteosarcoma 2
0.17/100
Mastosarcoma (Mast Cell Tumours)* 3
0.25/100
Melanoma 5
0.42/100
Hemangiosarcoma 4
0.34/100
Histiocytoma 4
0.34/100
Squamous Cell Carcinoma 1
0.08/100
Schwannoma (Peripheral nerve sheath tumors) 1
0.08/100
Other Comments - Three dogs had lung tumours, one thyroid cancer, one a suspected tumour in the head, one stomach cancer, a suspected melanoma, cancer of the urethra, and cancer of the bladder - one each.

* Mastosarcoma Locations:
        Lymph node (back of hind leg), Groin, Chest Wall

Hearing

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Deafness* 55
4.66/100
Chronic Ear Infections 13
1.1/100

* Deafness:
        Hearing Average Age of Adult Onset – 9.8 Years
        Minimum Age of Adult Onset (excluding those born deaf) – 4 Years
        Maximum Age of Onset - 14 Years

Blood

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Anemia 5
0.42/100
Neutropenia 1
0.08/100
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) 1
0.08/100
Eosinophilia 1
0.08/100
Other Comments - while there were three sub-categories under the heading "Blood" in the survey, the only reported condition was "Anemia"; there were no dogs reported under the sub-headings "von Willebrand's disease" , nor under "Hemophilia".

Skin

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Allergies* 46
3.90/100
Chronic Hot Spots ** 12
1.02/100
Sebaceous Cysts 36
3.05/100
Flea Dermatitis 18
1.53/100
Umbilical Hernia 52
4.41/100
Sebaceous Adenitis 2
0.17/100
Demodex 7
0.59/100
Lipoma 5
0.42/100
Cutaneous Vasculopathy 1
0.08/100
Squamous Papilloma 2
0.17/100
Hair follicle dysplasia 1
0.08/100
Sarcoptic Mange 1
0.08/100
Other Comments – 1 dog had lip folds surgically altered to prevent rash from constant wetness. Another suffers from soreness/infection on lower lip folds. 1 report of depigmentation on nose leather. 1 inflamed external anal sphincter (erosive disease). Reports of black pigment on otherwise pink eye rims and nose. 12 reports of rashes/skin infections and 4 of dry skin.

* Allergy Causes:
        Pollen, Ragweed, Pigweed, Grass, Insect Bite, Fleas and Treatments, mold,
        trees, cigarette smoke, 9 listed as "seasonal"

** Hot Spot Causes:
        vaccinosis, diet, salt water, "nervous itch"

Heart

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Stenosis (Total)* 6
0.51/100
      Pulmonic Stenosis 5
0.42/100
Mitral Valve 3
0.25/100
Patent Ductus Arteriosis 1
0.08/100
Other Comments – 8 dogs reported with mild heart murmurs, 2 with tricuspid regurgitation, one 3 year old died from a thrombo embolism, 1 microcardia

* Stenosis:
        5 cases of Pulmonic Stenosis reported, 1 case not specified

Nervous System

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Meningitis 12
1.02/100
       Viral Meningitis 1
0.08/100
       Aseptic Meningitis 8
0.68/100
       Unspecified Meningitis 3
0.25/100
Epilepsy* 10
0.85/100
Seizures 13
1.1/100
Hydrocephalus 3
0.25/100
Horner’s Syndrome 1
0.08/100
Other Comments - Additional information taken from the "Other Comments" section of the Nervous System category included three dogs termed "aggressive", one described as "extremely neurotic", one who "really can't control herself", another described as a "fly catcher" and two more described as nervous and anxious.

*      Average Age Epilepsy Onset – 2.55 Years
        Minimum Age Epilepsy Onset – 1 Year
        Maximum Age Epilepsy Onset – 6 Years

Liver

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Portosystemic Shunt 2
0.17/100
Small Liver 4
0.34/100
Chronic Active Hepatitis 1
0.08/100
Chronic Progressive Lobular Dissecting Hepatitis 1
0.08/100
Other Comments – 3 dogs were listed as suffering liver failure in old age. 2 had elevated alkaline phosphate. For one dog, no diagnosis was ever made, condition had not been seen by pathologist.

Kidney

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Ectopic Ureters 1
0.08/100
Glomerulonephritis 2
0.17/100
Other Comments – 5 dogs were reported with kidney infections, 2 reported bladder stones, 4 reported kidney failure. 1 reported the kidneys were in the wrong location.

Immune System

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Immune-mediated Poly-arthritis 13
1.10/100
Thrombocytopenia 3
0.25/100
Autoimmune hemolytic anemia 1
0.08/100
Systemic lupus erythematosis 3
0.25/100
Immune-mediated Orchitis 2
0.17/100
Demodex 2
0.17/100
Nodular Granulomatous Episcleritis 1
0.08/100
Reactive Histiocytosis 1
0.08/100
Sterile idiopathic panniculitis 1.
0.08/100
Primary Congenital Lymphedema 1
0.08/100
Other Comments – It was noted that one case of Thrombocytopenia might be the result of tick bites. There was one case each of symptoms resembling poly-arthritis and lupus but no diagnosis had been made at time of survey. One immunological kidney inflammation. One report of an un-named gastro-intestinal problem that was immune mediated. 3 dogs were reported to have decreased/underactive immune systems.  The case of Primary Congenital Lymphedema was deemed by Cornel to be non-inherited.

Gastrointestinal

 
Total Reported
Frequency
Irritable Bowel Syndrome 7
0.59/100
Genetic Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency 2
0.17/100
Megaesophagus 5
0.42/100
Food Allergies* 12
1.02/100
Impacted Anal Glands 6
.51/100
Other Comments - Five dogs were reported as suffering from occasional gastric upsets, or gastritis, one with acute gastrointestinal upsets of unknown cause, one with irritable colon, one with chronic bowel inflammation, but not specified as being IBD. One dog is reported to vomit every 3-4 days, but no cause has yet been found, and one suffers from occasional blood in stool, with no cause offered. One had a hernia in the rectum.

*     Confirmed Food Allergies:

Wheat, Soy, Rice, Potatoes, Carrots, Soybean, Barley, Corn, Chicken/By-products,
Proteins, Peas, Lamb, Beef, Eggs, Milk, Brewers yeast