Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

A possible systemic rheumatic disorder in the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever

Hamlin, Helene; Lilliehöök, Inger


Background: A disease complex with chronic musculoskeletal signs, including stiffness and joint pain, and to which there is a strong predisposition in the canine breed Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever (Toller) has been recognized in Sweden. The aim of this first clinical description of the disorder in Tollers was to describe the clinical manifestations and laboratory findings, as well as to try to identify a possible immune-mediated background of the disease and to show the outcome of treatment in 33 Tollers.Methods: The study included 33 Tollers with musculoskeletal signs and 20 healthy controls. All the dogs were thoroughly examined and followed for a period of 2 months - 4 years. An IIF-ANA (antinuclear antibody) test and an assay for the presence of antibodies to Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato were performed, as well as some haematology, serum biochemistry and urine tests. Routine radiographic examinations were performed on 11 dogs.Results: All the Toller patients showed stiffness and lameness that had lasted for at least 14 days and displayed pain from several joints of extremities on manipulation. Twenty-seven per cent of the dogs also showed muscle pain and 18% different skin symptoms. Seventy per cent of the Tollers with signs of disease displayed a positive IIF-ANA test. Most of the dogs were treated with corticosteroids, with the majority of the dogs (65%) showing good responses. There was no association between the IIF-ANA results and the clinical signs or results of treatment.Conclusion: This paper describes a disorder in Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers where the clinical signs, ANA reactivity and response to corticosteroids strongly suggest that the disorder is immune-mediated. The findings of this research may indicate a chronic systemic rheumatic disorder.

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2009, Volume: 51, article number: 16