Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Eye Disorders

Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Eye Disorders

Health & Safety

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are strong looking dogs that are generally pretty healthy too, but they do have a tendency to develop certain eye disorders some of which are hereditary health conditions which are worth knowing about. This is especially true if you've set your heart on sharing your home with a Staff puppy because if any symptoms develop, you would recognise the fact there may be a problem and get them to the vet sooner rather than later.

Hereditary Cataracts

Staffies are one of the breeds that's more predisposed to inheriting this condition if both parent dogs carry the gene responsible for the eye disorder. Sadly, it's a progressive condition so that if a Staff puppy is born with it, the signs of there being a problem might not be immediately detectable. However, the condition would start to manifest itself while dogs are still young which could be as early as when puppies are just 8 months old. If left untreated, a puppy would eventually go totally blind and it's worth bearing in mind that both eyes could be affected. On the up side, Stafford Bull Terriers can be DNA tested for the condition and all reputable breeders would ensure any breeding stock they use is screened before using them in any programme.

Any Staffordshire Bull Terrier that shows any symptoms of the condition developing would need to be seen by a vet as soon as possible so they can assess the dog's eyes and to see to what extent the cataract is affecting their vision. Hereditary Cataracts should never be ignored because the condition is considered as being serious and therefore a Staff with the condition would need to undergo surgery to remove the cataracts as soon as possible or they could end up going blind in affected eyes. The surgery is quite expensive and it's worth bearing in mind that some pet insurances do not cover the cost of the procedure because it is a genetic disorder which in short means it's worth reading the fine print in a policy before taking it out.

Persitent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous - PHPV

This is another eye disorder that appears to affect Staffordshire Bull Terriers and it's one that vets are not sure how puppies inherit it from parent dogs. With this said, puppies are born with the condition so it is a congenital disorder and as such they can be tested for PHPV when they are around 6 weeks old. The good news is that it is not a progressive eye disorder so if a puppy is born with the condition it will not get any worse during the course of their lives.

A vet would be able to correct the condition through surgery if they feel it to be necessary although the procedure tends to be quite expensive and it can cause a dog quite a lot of trauma. The other thing to bear in mind, is that because the condition is a hereditary disorder, some insurances would not cover the procedure to put things right. All Staffs need to be screened for the condition before they are used in any breeding programme to reduce the chances of offspring inheriting PHPV.

Posterior Polar Subcapsular Cataracts

Staffs are also more predisposed to developing Posterior Polar Subcapsular Cataracts along with a few other breeds, namely the Golden Retriever and the Labrador. The good news is that it's an eye disorder that does not generally interfere with a dog's vision. The bad news is that puppies cannot be tested for this sort of cataract and how they inherit the condition from parent dogs is not known either. Dogs of any age can show symptoms of the condition developing which is why it's essential that every Staff should be tested every year to establish whether or not they have the condition or not, especially if they are being used in a breeding programme.

A lot of veterinary clinics in the UK will send you the swabs and the kits needed to test Staffies for eye disorders free of charge with a full set of instructions on how to use them. All that's left to do once the swabs have been done, is to send them back to the laboratory so they can be analysed. Any dogs coming back with positive results should not be used in a breeding programme and when it's established a Staff puppy may have inherited an eye disorder from parent dogs, they need to be fully examined by a vet as soon as possible so the condition of their eyes can be assessed.


In general Staffordshire Bull Terriers are hardy little dogs although there are a couple of health disorders that can seriously impact their vision as mentioned above. Should you suspect your Staffie has developed any signs of having a problem with their eyes, it's really important to get them along to the vet so they can be thoroughly examined. Once a condition has been correctly diagnosed, your Staffie would then be given the right sort of treatment and medication to help things up quickly and before the condition gets any worse. If left untreated, a young Staffordshire Bull Terrier might end up losing their vision in an affected eye.



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