Boston Terrier Health Problems

The Boston Terrier health problems most common to the breed are brachycephalic syndrome, patellar luxation, hemivertebrae, sensorineural deafness, and eye problems.

Although BTs are generally healthy, long-lived dogs, problems can still occur with even the best of care. Bostons may also be affected by the more common diseases that affect all dogs, such as bordetella, distemper and parvovirus.

Brachycephalic Syndrome:

One of the most common Boston Terrier health problems is brachycephalic syndrome. This syndrome is a combination of upper airway disorders that cause airflow resistance in the upper respiratory tract (nose and larynx) in short-nosed breeds of dogs.

The cause is related to the shortened bones of these dogs' flattened faces without a proportionate shortening of the overlying soft tissues. The excess soft tissue leads to airway compromise. The most common conditions include: stenotic nares (pinched nostrils), elongated soft palate, and everted laryngeal saccules.

Patellar Luxation:

boston terrier medication

The most common orthopedic-related health problem is patellar luxation. Untreated, it can lead to rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament. Signs of patellar_luxation are limping, pain, and frequent stops to stretch the rear leg.

Stretching and straightening the leg allows the patella to pop back into its normal place. There are varying degrees of luxation, ranging from the knee cap popping back into place on its own to severe luxation, which requires surgery.


Genetic in nature, the incidence of hemivertebrae is highest in brachycephalic (short muzzled), screw-tailed dog breeds. The screw-tail is actually an example of a hemivertebrae formation. This condition may be pleasing when located in the tail but can have serious consequences when located elsewhere in the spine.


Since the Boston's ears are erect, they are not as prone to ear infections or yeast that some drop-eared dogs are. However, Boston Terriers can be affected by sensorineural deafness.


Boston Terriers have large and expressive but somewhat protruding eyes, so protecting them is very important. Because of the prominence of their eyes, Bostons are susceptible to number of eye diseases including:

  • Corneal Ulcers
  • Glaucoma
  • Early-Onset Cataracts
  • Late-Onset Cataracts
  • Cherry Eye
  • Corneal Dystrophy
  • Distichiasis
  • Keratitis Sicca (aka "dry eye")
  • Entropion
Additional information on the other eye diseases listed above.


Although Boston Terrier health problems can occur, that alone shouldn't deter you from choosing a BT for a pet. Odds are that with good selection of a puppy and routine veterinary care, your BT will have a long and happy life.


We are not veterinarians. The information on this site is provided "as-is". As BT owners, we try to stay current on Boston Terrier health problems and those affecting dogs in general, and offer this information for your reference. If you believe your Boston Terrier may be sick, please consult with your veterinarian.

Additional Boston Terrier Health Information:

In order to prevent any unnecessary Boston Terrier health problems, here are some issues that you may want to address in caring for your Boston Terrier:

Boston Terrier - Hemivertebrae
Boston Terrier - Sensorineural Deafness
Boston Terrier - Canine Arthritis
Boston Terrier - Dental Care
Boston Terrier - Internal Parasites
Boston Terrier Health Problems - Protecting Against Hot and Cold Weather
Boston Terrier - Hemorrhoids or Anal Sacs?
Boston Terrier - Lyme Disease
Boston Terrier - Immunization

Go from Boston Terrier Health Problems to the BT Health Forum Q&A

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