Boston Terrier Information

Boston Terrier Health Problems

Fortunately Boston Terriers are a generally healthy breed although there are a few areas you will want to pay close attention to when it comes to Boston Terrier health problems. The majority of the issues reported in Boston Terriers are related to their eyes as they have rather large and somewhat protruding eyes you will certainly want to be aware of some of the issues that may arise.

Eye Problems:

The most common issue usually found in Boston Terriers are Corneal Ulcers that can occur when foreign objects enter the eyes and cause cuts or scratches that are not properly treated in a timely manner. When left untreated scratches and irritation can cause Ulcers to develop on the Cornea and one of the best methods of dealing with this issue is prevention.

Fortunately there are many commercial eye shades or goggles you can use to protect your Boston's eyes and avoid many irritants in the first place. Especially if your pet likes to ride on your bicycle or motor cycle or even in the car with the windows down it is a good idea to purchase eye protection for your pet and help avoid problems in the first place.

After Ulcers Boston Terriers have been known to have Glaucoma and both early an late onset Cataracts. These are generally hereditary problems, especially in the case of early onset Cataracts. Many reputable breeders will have their puppies tested using a CERF test to confirm they are free of early onset Cataracts.

Adult onset Cataracts and Glaucoma are usually problems that occur later in life. Just like Humans as your Boston Terrier ages they can become more susceptible to these eye problems. Some signs that your pet may have the beginnings of these issues are  flecks in the eyes usually appearing as white, bluish or gray spots inside the pupil of the eye. These issues can be corrected by surgery in many cases and it is important to consult with a reputable veterinarian as soon as you notice these to begin a treatment plan for your pet.

Respiratory Problems:

Another common issue to be aware of is Brachycephalic  Syndrome. This is an issue that is common to most "short faced" breeds such as Boston Terriers, English Bulldogs and Boxers. Due to their very short noses they can experience resistance to airflow through the nose and larynx. Many times this can be caused by excess tissue in the upper respiratory system.

This excess tissue can cause pinched nostrils (stenotic nares), an elongated soft palate or everted laryngeal saccules (tissue normally between the vocal area and the wall of the larynx in dogs but when everted begins to block the airway causing snoring, congestion and shortness of breath as well as coughing).

This is an issue that every Boston Terrier owner should keep in mind as there can be some serious issues with certain activities. Any long term heavy exertion in extreme heat or cold should be closely monitored to be certain your pet is able to breath properly and avoid over exertion and serious injury due to breathing trouble.

Another thing to be aware of is Air Travel,  Most commercial airlines will not guarantee the safety of any Brachycephalic or "short nosed" breed of dog when they are transporting them in the cargo area of the plane. At least one major airlines, American Airlines, refuses to allow Boston Terriers or any other Brachycephalic dog or cat to fly in the checked baggage compartment.

Some Other Known Problems:

There are a few other less common issues that have been mostly well controlled by good breeding standards. However some less than reputable and some less knowledgeable breeders can have a higher occurrence rate of these issues so you should be aware of them just in case.

Patellar luxation is an issue with the "kneecap" and may lead to damage of the anterior cruciate ligament.  Keep an eye out for limping, pain and frequent stops to stretch the back leg or legs. If you notice these signs it may be a good idea to have your pet checked by a qualified Vet.

Hemivertebrae is a genetic condition found primarily in Brachycephalic and screw tailed breeds such as the Boston Terrier. This is a twisted vertebrae usually seen in the tail which is not a problem. However should one occur higher in the spinal column it could have serious consequences.  

This is a congenital condition and usually occurs in the womb so you should know right away whether your dog has this condition or not. Fortunately it is less common in the spine than in the tail and many times the symptoms are mild or non existent  however the more severe cases can cause paralysis, incontinence and spinal pain as well as death.

As with people Dogs are individuals and the simple fact that  certain breeds have susceptibility to any particular ailment does not mean your particular pet will have that or any other problem. If you suspect your Boston Terrier does have one of these issues mentioned you should consult with a reputable veterinary professional for diagnosis and treatment options.


This article was not written by a veterinarian and is not intended to diagnose or treat any of the particular Boston Terrier Health problems listed. If you suspect your pet has any health issue at all you should consult a trained professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.