"Cleft lip, cleft palate, and syndactyly health testing for the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
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"Cleft lip, cleft palate, and syndactyly health testing for the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Dogs
Health & Safety

The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is a medium sized dog breed from the Kennel Club’s gundog group, and whilst dogs of the breed aren’t that common in the UK, there is a lot to recommend them as pets for people who admire all of the core temperament and behavioural traits of retrievers.

Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers are versatile dogs with a lot of positive traits, including a tendency to make excellent pets for families with children, a great amenability to training, and high energy levels that make them outgoing, fun loving, and entertaining to have around.

Dogs of the breed require an active, busy lifestyle and they love to retrieve on both water and land, making them a good fit for active, lively families that spend lots of time in the great outdoors playing and exploring.

That said, despite the breed’s high energy levels and outgoing natures, the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever breed as a whole is somewhat below average in the health stakes, and there is a rather long list of potential hereditary health defects and congenital flaws that dogs of the breed can be prone to.

One such congenital flaw that appears in dogs of the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever breed more often than most other breeds is cleft lip, which may also be accompanied by a cleft palate and also, syndactyly, which is a fusion of two or more digits of the dog’s toes. Within the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever breed, cleft lip, cleft palate and syndactyly has been identified as being caused by a gene mutation, and a DNA test can be used to determine whether or not any given litter will inherit any of these flaws if two parents with a known status are bred together.

In this article we will look at cleft lip, cleft palate and syndactyly in the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever dog breed, and explain how such congenital defects are inherited and how breeders can test their parent dogs to determine if any litter they produce would be affected too. Read on to learn more.

What are cleft lips, cleft palates and syndactyly?

Cleft lip, cleft palate and syndactyly are three separate conformation defects that may appear in combination with each other, or individually in any given affected dog. Within the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever dog breed, all three of these conditions can be assigned to the same gene fault, but exactly how this expresses in affected dogs and the severity of the conformation problems that it causes can be quite variable.

Cleft lips, cleft palates and syndactyly are birth defects, and a cleft lip is a lip that has a split within it that forms whilst the pup is still developing in the womb, and which occur either on just one side of the mouth or simultaneously on both sides.

A cleft palate is a hole in the roof of the mouth itself – the palate – and again, this is present from birth.

Syndactyly affects the dog’s toes, and causes two or more toes to be malformed during development so that they are joined together – either webbed, or having two or more digits growing side by side as one – and this can affect anything from just a couple of toes on one foot to multiple toes on different limbs.

How are cleft lip, cleft palate and syndactyly spread from dog to dog?

Because cleft lip, cleft palate and syndactyly are congenital birth defects, the only way for a dog to develop any or all of these conditions is to inherit the gene fault that causes them from their parents.

Conditions of this type require a certain mixture of gene faults to be provided from both sides of the dog’s bloodline, and this is a type of autosomal recessive heredity.

A DNA test can be performed on dogs to determine if they carry the gene fault that can cause cleft lip, cleft palate and syndactyly in the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, and knowing the status of any two parent dogs allows you to calculate the chances of their offspring inheriting such conditions.

  • Two affected parents will produce an affected litter.
  • Two clear parents will produce a clear litter.
  • Two carrier parents will produce a litter within which each pup has a 50% chance of being a carrier, a 25% chance of being affected and a 25% chance of being clear.
  • A clear dog and a carrier will produce a litter of 50% clear pups and 50% carriers.
  • A clear dog and an affected dog will produce a litter of carriers.
  • A carrier and an affected dog will produce a litter of 50% carriers and 50% affected pups.

DNA health testing for cleft lip, cleft palate and syndactyly in the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever dog breed

You can find out if any Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever dog you are considering breeding from will produce a litter that is affected by cleft lip, cleft palate or syndactyly by knowing their own status, and that of the other dog in the mating match.

To find out a dog’s status, you simply need to arrange for your vet to take a DNA sample from your dog, and send it off for testing at an approved laboratory, who will return a result of either clear, carrier or affected.

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