Canine Eye Disease in Boston Terriers

Boston Terriers are susceptible to various forms of canine eye disease due to the prominence of their eyes. Following are some of the most common to the breed:

  • Corneal Ulcers:
    Corneal ulcers are by far the largest eye problem in Boston Terriers, resulting from an injury to the eye. The best treatment is prevention, since corneal ulcers can become infected and difficult to treat. Try to keep your Boston Terrier away from thorny plants and out of dusty conditions.

  • Glaucoma:
    Affects about 1% of Boston Terriers, and is caused by pressure build up in the eye; may result in blindness.

  • Early-Onset Cataracts:
    Appear in dogs at a very early age and can lead to blindness in both eyes. These cataracts can be removed but the operation is expensive. There is no way of knowing which dogs are carriers of this canine eye disease until a genetic test is available.

  • Late-Onset Canine Cataracts:
    Appear to be genetic. According to a 2000 health survey, about 9% of Boston Terriers have older age cataracts. The best way to avoid cataracts of old age is to breed with older clear-eyed dogs.

  • Cherry Eye:
    Mode of inheritance is unknown; a congenital defect that has a breed predisposition. According to a 2001 health survey, Cherry Eye occurs in approximately 6% of Boston Terriers. This is because the tear gland may bulge out. Surgery may be required to reposition the third eyelid and the tear gland.

  • Corneal Dystrophy:
    Mode of inheritance is unknown. Boston Terriers have a form of this canine eye disease that usually develops at 5 to 7 years of age. The disease begins with fluid build-up that makes the cornea appear white in color, beginning at the edge of the cornea, progressing to the center, often involving the entire cornea. It can cause a painful corneal ulcer that is difficult to treat.

  • Distichiasis:
    A condition where hairs on the inner surface of the eye lid are abnormally placed, causing discomfort, and may cause corneal ulcers to develop. Corneal ulcers may not heal because of the irritation. Hair removal is usually recommended.

  • BT Eye Question?

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  • Keratitis Sicca (aka "dry eye"):
    Occurs in 1 in 50 Boston Terriers very early in life, due to inadequate tear production. It can result in chronic, painful eye infections. Mode of inheritance is unknown.

  • Entropion:
    Affects less than 1% of Bostons, and is caused by the lower lid margins rolling inward and the hair to rubbing against the eyeball. It can cause a reddened, inflamed eye, infections, and corneal ulcers. This condition is believed to be inherited and can usually be remedied with surgery.

If you suspect that your Boston Terrier has one of these forms of canine eye disease, consult your veterinarian for treatment.

Eye Care Tips:

boston terrier patellar luxation
  • Avoid long periods of sun exposure. You can even purchase dog visors, sunglasses, and goggles that will help keep the sun out of their eyes.

  • Don't let your BT stick her head out of automobile windows because of the increased air pressure on the eyes.

  • Keep your Boston out of dusty conditions.

  • Carry dog eyewash eye drops with you so that you can wash it out any debris before the dog rubs his eyes, resulting in scratches.

  • Keep your dog away from thorny plants like roses or cactus.

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