Common Health Problems of Boston Terriers


The Boston Terrier is endowed with a long life expectancy.  Most of its health problems are associated with its unique facial conformation although these are not as serious and complicated. When showered with love and care they can live long and comfortable lives as wonderful canine friends of households.

Superficially, a Boston Terrier can suffer from Allergic Dermatitis and mites. However they may also suffer from orthopedic problems and abnormal conditions affecting the eyes. Boston Terriers can also suffer from certain respiratory problems because of their physical conformation of the bones in the face. 

If you have a Boston Terrier or you are contemplating getting a Boston Terrier for a pet, being aware of the health conditions that can afflict this gentle breed will help you protect your pet.

Health Problems Involving the Eyes:

  1. Cataracts – This is a degenerative condition that can lead to blindness if not detected and treated. It is an eye problem which is often experienced as your dog ages.  The most common signs that you can see are the presence of flecks in the eyes. These flecks can appear white, bluish or gray.  Surgery is indicated to remove Cataracts from the eyes. One of the serious health problems in Boston Terriers is Juvenile Cataracts, which is a genetic condition that can lead to total blindness in dogs less than a year old. When a Boston Carrier is a carrier, they should not be bred. Reputable kennels usually let their Boston Terrier puppies undergo a CERF Test to determine if they are free from Juvenile Cataracts.
  2. Corneal Ulcers –The protruding eyes of the Boston Terrier is favorable to accidentally catching particles in the environment which can cause irritation of the eye tissues. If left untreated, the irritation can led to infection and formation of corneal ulcers. There are commercially available eye shades which can be worn by your Boston Terrier to protect its eyes.

Orthopedic Problems

  1. Patellar Luxation – A condition that simply means the dislocation of the knee. It is manifested by pain, limping, and your Boston Terrier may stop periodically to stretch its rear legs. This action allows the patella to pop back to its normal conformation. Patellar luxation is generally genetic in nature. If left untreated it can lead to cartilage damage and Arthritis. It is also one of the most common predisposing factors of the rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Depending on the severity of the disease condition, serious cases are most likely to be corrected with surgery and undergoing a period of rehabilitative therapy.


Skin Problems

  1. Allergic Dermatitis –this is one of the most common skin problems that most owners of Boston Terriers have to deal with. Since this is an allergic condition, your dog needs to undergo allergy testing to be conducted by a dermatologist to identify the possible causes or the skin condition.  If the Allergic Dermatitis is associated with food problems, your Boston Terrier will be given a specialty diet and prescribed an anti-allergy drug.  Your Veterinarian may also prescribe medicated shampoos and lotions for the condition.
  2. Mites – Dogs afflicted with mites often have patches of skin which are devoid of hair. Mites are microscopic organisms which attack the skin and cause itchiness and hair fall. Since these mites can easily transfer from  one dog to the other, you should take your Boston Terrier to your Veterinarian so he can prescribe an anti-mite medication.

Respiratory Problems

The shortened muzzles of Boston Terriers predispose to certain respiratory problems. Perhaps you have observed your dog snoring, snorting or even snuffling.  This is caused by an abnormality in the upper respiratory system that can result in a partial obstruction or resistance in the nose and larynx. This is commonly observed in short-nosed breeds where there is an abundance of overlying soft tissues in the shortened bones of the face compromising their breathing. These anatomical aberration and the resulting conditions that arise are collectively called Brachycepalic Syndrome.