Cleft palate and syndactyly is an inherited developmental disease affecting the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever. Affected dogs present at birth with facial deformities of variable severity which include incomplete fusion of the upper lip (clefts) under one or both nostrils which often extends to involve incomplete fusion of the palate and an open connection between the nasal cavity and mouth. In addition to malformation of the face and mouth, most affected dogs also display partial or complete fusion of the third and fourth toes (syndactyly) on any or all of their feet.
At least one other genetic Mutation (in the canine DLX6 gene) has also been associated with cleft palate in the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever. Therefore, obtaining normal results on this ADAMTS20 gene test does not completely exclude cleft palate in a pedigree.