Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever ONLY

Addison’s Disease (hypoadrenocorticism) occurs when the adrenal glands stop secreting the natural steroid hormones (glucocorticoid) and hormones (mineralocorticoids) necessary for the regulation of sodium and potassium levels in the blood. nsdtrAddison’s disease can occur in any breed of dog and it has an average age of onset of 4 years. Addison’s disease is diagnosed by a veterinarian using a blood test called an ACTH stimulation test. The clinical signs of Addison’s disease can include lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.

In the NSDTR, a genetic form of this disease, called JADD, occurs in much younger animals. The average age of puppies affected with JADD is 5 months; however, puppies as young as 8 weeks and as old as 12 months of age have been identified.
Treatment of puppies affected with JADD requires both mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid replacement therapy. Puppies can have other concurrent diseases including eye problems (corneal edema, conjunctivitis or uveitis) that may require specialized treatment.


Scientists from the Bannasch Laboratory at the University of California, Davis have developed a DNA test to identify carriers of JADD in the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. The juvenile form of Addison’s Disease is genetically distinguishable from the adult onset form in that all dogs who develop the juvenile form have two identical copies of a specific region within their genome. Our lab has identified numerous markers within this region and we have compiled these markers into a haplotype based test in order to identify dogs that carry JADD. We believe that in addition to the markers that distinguish affected puppies from unaffected ones, the actual mutation responsible for JADD is included in this haplotype test.

The mutation responsible for JADD causes a change the amino acid sequence in a highly conserved region of a protein. This mutation is not present in any other breeds of dogs based on testing of over 250 individual animals in 80 different breeds. However, additional research is needed to demonstrate how this mutation causes JADD in Tollers. We offer the test now to help breeders avoid producing affected puppies while we continue to understand the mechanism of the mutation. Please contact researchers if you have an affected puppy and would like to participate in the project (

Mode of Inheritance

This form of the disease is inherited as an autosomal recessive disease meaning that affected puppies inherited one mutant copy of this gene from each of their parents. In addition, JADD is not completely penetrant meaning that not all puppies with two copies of the mutation will go on to develop the disease. Based upon our research, approximately 75% of puppies with two copies of the mutation and haplotype will develop Addison’s disease.

Test Results and Explanation

Note: The test currently offered looks for multiple markers in the region associated with JADD and includes the probable disease-causing mutation. Further research is needed to determine how the mutation causes Addison’s Disease. Until the mutation is confirmed with functional data, the designation will be one of “Probable.” In order to keep the costs of this test low, it will be run in batches of 48 samples which could affect the turnaround time for results.

JADD Probable N/N: This dog has two normal copies of the JADD region and will not get the specific form of juvenile onset Addison’s Disease identified by this test. There are other forms of Addison’s Disease in the breed. This dog can only transmit the normal gene to its offspring, and therefore will not produce offspring with this form of Addison’s Disease.

JADD Probable N/A: This dog has one mutant (abnormal) copy of the JADD region and is classified as a carrier. No dogs that are carriers have ever been reported with juvenile onset Addison’s Disease. This dog can transmit either the normal copy of the region or the abnormal copy to its offspring.

JADD Probable A/A: This dog has two mutant (abnormal) copies of the JADD region and has a 75% chance of developing Addison’s Disease by 1 year of age.

Breeder Guidelines

JADD is inherited as an autosomal recessive disease which means that animals with only one mutant copy of the region (N/A) are normal, but they are carriers of the disease and can produce affected puppies if bred to an affected dog (A/A) or another carrier (N/A). In addition, JADD is not completely penetrant meaning that not all puppies with two copies of the mutation will go on to develop the disease. Based upon our research, approximately 75% of puppies with two copies of the mutation and haplotype will develop Addison’s Disease.

At the time that this test was released, approximately 20% of Tollers carried JADD(N/A); however, the number of carriers can change with each generation. Dogs that are carriers (N/A) are normal themselves and can be safely bred to N/N dogs in order to maintain diversity within the breed and select for other positive attributes in carrier dogs.

If you have a dog identified as being A/A or having early-onset Addison’s Disease (<1 year old) and you would like to participate in further research to understand this disease please contact Danika Bannasch DVM PhD,  

Order DNA Test

Tests are ordered online through the secure area of the OFA website. Payment is accepted by credit card (MasterCard and VISA). The OFA administers all order handling. Upon receipt of an order, the OFA will send out the test kit which will include a Foam-Tipped Applicator card for DNA sample collection, along with sample collection instructions. Using the FTA card technology, owners can safely collect DNA samples at home. The collection process is non-invasive, and no veterinary appointment is necessary.

Samples are then sent to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine where the samples will be processed by the Small Animal Molecular Genetics Lab. Results will be forwarded to the OFA, and the OFA will issue the resulting report to the owner.

The fee for each test includes the test kit, laboratory processing, and subsequent registration in the OFA databases.