Tollers & Health

First, an overview of Toller Health and Genetics information
While the vast majority of tollers are healthy and live long lives, they aren't exempt from some of the health issues that affect the canine population in general! They can also be prone to various disorders (most very treatable) of immune system function. The general state of Toller health, including results of a 2002 survey, is outlined in this excellent collaboration by toller club enthusiasts in Canada, The Toller Health Coalition.

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA) also has an active Health and Genetics Committee which helps find valuable research studies that could benefit the toller breed.

Nutrition and general care
Given that there's a propensity toward a couple-few immune system disorders in the toller breed, and, that actual illness involves a "trigger", and knowing the largest immune system organ in the body is the "gut", It makes sense to me, to maintain the health of the "gut" or digestive tract, as much as possible. And, to not trigger or suppress natural immune system function with unnecessary vaccination.

Vaccination. Everyone has an opinion.
Discussions among dog-people can get as heated as arguing politics! I urge reading the following publication by Dr. Ronald Schultz, Chairman of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Considerations In Designing Effective And Safe Vaccination Programs For Dogs.

Read, Read, Read. Give serious thought to the very adequate protection provided by Minimal Program A. The information here can help us with vaccination decisions, even when we must politely refuse what"s routinely done at the veterinarian"s office. Repeated vaccinations, for our pet dogs, are not necessary. Nor are multiple "puppy series". I"m grateful for the information available to lay people in this modern age; no longer needing to rely on the marketing claims of the pharmaceutical companies.

About feeding a dog for health

Nature gives us so many wonderful foods. How is it we've come to rely on factories to add inferior ingredients, preservatives, & flavorings, and produce a lowly end product in bags to feed our pets? Those who take the time to learn to feed fresh, real food to their dogs DO see good results. And once learned it is not difficult. At a minimum you can eliminate the need for "routine" veterinary dental cleanings.

Are there healthy commercial dog foods? A veterinarian in the Denver area has written some concise practical wisdom on food for pets: Dr. Judy Jasek's blog.

Spring morning: Oxtail breakfast

Sidebar: Healing Touch for Animals

Healing Touch for Animals® is a Cooperative healing modality, not an Alternative one. The Energy-based methods provide healing support bridging holistic animal healthcare with traditional veterinary medicine. I've completed the workshops for Levels 1 and 2; and plan to continue through the studies, possibly working toward certification in the future. You can read about the HTA Komitor Healing Method here.

Finally a few of my favorite books on canine health.

Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs - Small Doses for Small Animals, by Don Hamilton DVM. Even if you don"t have an interest in learning or using the healing art Homeopathy, Chapter 2 on the nature of disease, and Chapter 16 on vaccination, are worth their weight in gold.

The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat, by Juliette Debairacli Levy. Juliette Levy is the grandmother of the Natural Rearing for pets "movement". While I don"t find it realistic to follow all her practices, it"s a valuable read for the principles involved.

Optimal Nutrition Raw and Cooked Canine Diets: The Next Level, by Monica Segal, AHCW, Foreword by Ana Hill, DVM, PhD. Ms Segal"s book gets into a lot of measuring and a large array of ingredients for feeding dogs " more complicated than I like to make it. But, one of my friends found it very useful for selecting the main meats and a few key supplements that make up her dogs" diet.

And, Ms Segal starts off with a very wise introduction about dogs" health in general, touching on genetics, what breeders can and cannot control about the genetic component, and what we Can control about the environmental component of health.

Quote from Optimal Nutrition:
"Commercial foods formulated to meet AAFCO guidelines are labeled as "complete and balanced. We need to ask ourselves, if indeed we are capable of providing optimal nutrition for animals, why would we not do the same for people? Bags and cans labeled "child" "adult" and "senior" could easily replace the fresh food sections in supermarkets. Of course, this seems unreasonable given what we know about the healthful properties of fresh foods. Only animals in human care are expected to eat highly processed foods for a lifetime."