Eye Diseases in Boston Terriers

Eye diseases can have an element of inheritability or they can simply occur. Sometimes they are secondary to another disease or caused by an injury. Boston Terriers that will be bred should have their eyes examined by a licensed veterinary ophthalmologist on an annual basis. The eye of the Boston tends to be large and somewhat prominent and protruding. It is at a higher risk for injury than the eye of a dog with deep set eyes. Common eye issues in Boston Terriers include the following:

Corneal Ulcers – Corneal ulcers tend to be the result of an injury. They can be difficult to treat and hard to get to heal properly. They sometimes result in the loss of the eye. Because other diseases and underlying problems can influence healing rates and how well the eye heals, it is important to follow up on any abnormal delays in healing to avoid further problems down the road.

Cataracts – Hereditary cataracts can show up at any age but they tend to be more common in younger dogs. Older dogs may develop cataracts due to inheriting the genes for them or as a result of the age of the dog. Cataracts progress at different rates with some leading to blindness quite quickly while others take years to progress. They can be treated surgically although it is expensive.

Corneal Dystrophy – There is an inherited form of endothelial dystrophy that tends to begin later in life (around the ages of 5 – 7 years). It starts with a cloudiness at the edge of the cornea that moves inward, ultimately engulfing the entire cornea. The cloudiness is caused by a build-up of fluid. It can result in a corneal ulcer which is often difficult to heal.

Cherry Eye – This is a congenital problem. The tear gland protrudes from the eye. It is fixed surgically by repositioning the tear gland and the third eyelid.

Glaucoma – Glaucoma is a very serious disease in which the intraocular pressure increases. It is very painful and can lead to blindness. It is treated with medication to bring the pressure down. If it is not treated in time, the Boston can lose the eye.

Keratitis Sicca – Also known as dry eye, this is a relatively common condition. The eye fails to produce an adequate amount of liquid to keep the eye moist. It can be very painful and often requires lifelong treatment with artificial tears to keep the eye moist and comfortable. It can also be the result of some medications and other diseases. In these cases, it may subside once the base problem has been cured.

Distichiasis – This is a disease where the eyelashes grow inward, towards the eye, rather than outward. These lashes irritate the eye and may lead to corneal ulcers if left untreated. Normal treatment is to remove the eyelashes.

Entropion – This is a problem of the eyelid. It fits too tightly and rolls inwards so that the eyelashes rub against the eye. As you would expect, this is painful and irritates the eye. It can result in corneal ulcers if left untreated. Treatment is usually surgical and involves pulling the eyelid away from the eye so that it cannot roll inward. It is not as common in Boston Terriers as it is in many other breeds.

There are a number of things that can go wrong with the eye. Any time your Boston’s eyes appear red and irritated for more than a day or two, you should take him in to the vet and have it examined. Many things can irritate the eye. Some are much more serious than others. Breeding dogs should have their eyes examined on an annual basis to ensure they do not have an inherited eye disease that could be passed on to future generations.

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