Health Issues More Commonly Seen in the Boston Terrier

Health Issues More Commonly Seen in the Boston Terrier

Health & Safety

The Boston Terrier is a lovely, active little dog and they certainly know how to keep themselves and their owners busy. Like so many other short-faced breeds, they do tend to suffer from breathing issues and are known as brachycephalic. The breed is also known to be prone to other hereditary and acquired health disorders which are worth knowing about if you're thinking about getting either a Boston Terrier puppy or adult dog.

If you know a breed is more predisposed to a condition, it means you are more likely to recognise early symptoms and the earlier a condition is diagnosed, the better the outcome usually is for the dog. Below is a list of disorders more commonly associated with a Boston Terrier, although it is worth bearing in mind that not all dogs will develop any of the health conditions listed below during the course of their lifetimes.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

As previously mentioned, the Boston Terrier is a brachycephalic dog and as such is more predisposed to suffering from Brachyphalic Syndrome. In fact, this is one of the most common health issues to affect the breed. Dogs with the condition have trouble breathing due to an excess of soft tissue having formed in their airways. The three most common disorders include stenoic nares, everted laryngeal saccules and elongated soft palate.

Patellar Luxation

This is one of the more common orthopaedic health issues that affect many breeds including the Boston Terrier. If left untreated, it can lead to all sorts of problems involving the anterior cruciate ligament. The symptoms to watch out for include lameness, stretching a hind leg which dogs do in an attempt to "pop" the patella back into the correct position. If the condition is severe, a vet would recommend surgery.


This is a genetic disorder which affects many brachycephalic breeds that also have screw-tails which is typically an example of the way bones form in hermivertebrae manner. Although, aesthetically a lot of people find a screw-tail to be a pleasing trait, it can however, have quite a serious impact on the well-being of a dog due to the impact the deformity could have on their spine.

Sensorineural Deafness

The Boston Terrier is also prone to suffer ear infections which can lead to Sensorineural Deafness. If you notice your dog scratching at their ears, constantly shaking their heads or a bad smell coming from their ears, these are all signs there may be an infection and the sooner a dog is examined by the vet, the easier an ear infection is to treat.

Eye Issues

Due to the fact Boston Terriers have such prominent eyes, they are more predisposed to suffering from certain eye problems and injuries which include the following:


Cataracts are frequently seen in older, senior dogs where the eyes become cloudy sometimes affecting a dog's vision quite dramatically although if not too severe, it may not affect their eyesight too much at all. It is considered an hereditary condition the Boston Terrier is prone to suffer from affecting dogs of any age. However, it's worth bearing in mind that cataracts can also develop if a dog suffers from diabetes.

Corneal Ulcers

This is a painful condition that affects the eyes and which needs to be treated as soon as possible to avoid dogs having to go through unnecessary pain and discomfort. A vet would need to establish the root cause of the problem and then treat affected eyes accordingly.


Glaucoma is a painful condition where excessive pressure builds up in a dog's eye. It's an hereditary disorder that typically shows its ugly head when dogs are around 2 years old and once it takes hold it can very rapidly damage the eye causing total blindness.

However, the condition usually only affects one eye at a time and not both. Veterinary attention is essential so a preventative measure can be put in place to protect a dog's other eye or to at least control the progress of the condition if it has already taken hold.

Cherry eye

This is a painful condition that affects a dog's third eyelid. The cause is not known but vets usually recommend surgery as soon as possible to prevent any infection taking hold and again, the earlier the condition is diagnosed, the better the outcome. If dogs develop the condition in one eye, it's really important to make sure the other eye does not get affected too.


This is a painful eye disorder where too many eyelashes grow around a dog's eyelid. Often two hairs growing out of the same follicle is responsible. If left untreated, corneas become ulcerated which could end up causing permanent damage to a dog's eye and ultimately lead to blindness.

Keratitis Sicca – Dry Eye

This is another painful eye condition where the cornea gets damaged by ulcers. The condition is very often associated with an autoimmune disease.


Another extremely painful eye condition where the eyelashes grow inwards and where the cornea can become ulcerated if left untreated, causing permanent damage to a dog's vision.

Puppies Born by Caesarian Section

Another consideration is that Boston Terrier puppies are typically delivered by caesarian section due to the fact they have such large heads.


The Boston Terrier is a lovely looking little dog and although it may seem like they are predisposed to many health disorders, not all dogs would develop any of the conditions listed above. You should contact a reputable dog breeder who takes great care at screening all dogs used in a breeding programme to reduce the chances of puppies inheriting any genetic disorders. However, it's important to bear in mind the bad genes responsible for many genetic health issues are capable of skipping several generations so there is never any guarantees.



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