Most common health problems in Parson Jack Russell Terriers, plus health care and feeding.


My Complete Health Care Program for your Parson Jack Russell Terrier

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Jack Russell Terrier, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Jack Russell Terrier HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

My best-selling dog health book


Jack Russell Terrier dog breed

Parson Jack Russell Terrier Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Quick list of Jack Russell Terrier health problems

Inherited eye diseases are the main concern, especially lens luxation, glaucoma, and cataracts. We see a lot of blind Jack Russell Terriers.

Epilepsy and several different heart diseases have become serious concerns in the breed.

Bad joints can occur, especially bad knees (luxating patella). Jack Russell Terriers are supposed to have a square build, but some breeders deliberately produce dogs with short (dwarfed) legs and a longish back (see the photo in this article). This is a medical deformity called chondrodysplasia that increases the risk of malformed joints and intervertebral disk disease.

Some severe neurological/neuromuscular diseases occur in Jack Russell Terriers. Brain abnormalities may also be responsible for the excessive shaking or tremors of the rear legs that sometimes occur in Jack Russells.

Chronic allergies that cause terribly itchy skin are very common in all of the terrier breeds.

Some Jack Russell Terriers are born deaf, or partially deaf.

(See more health problems below.)


Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Jack Russell Terrier have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases and luxating patella, your Jack Russell has less risk of developing those conditions.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Jack Russell Terrier, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Jack Russell Terrier puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!


Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Parson Jack Russell Terrier puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Jack Russell Terrier lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Jack Russell Terrier
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Jack Russell Terrier. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Jack Russell Terrier
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Jack Russell Terrier. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Jack Russell Terrier puppy really need? Does your adult JRT need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.


Information on spaying your Jack Russell Terrier. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Jack Russell Terrier. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.


Complete list of Jack Russell Terrier health problems

Eye diseases are the main concern in Jack Russells, especially lens luxation (which can lead to secondary glaucoma) and cataracts. Other eye diseases include eyelash abnormalities, persistent pupillary membranes, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Epilepsy and heart disease (cardiomyopathy, patent ductus arteriosus, sub-aortic stenosis) are serious concerns in the breed.

Orthopedic problems in Jack Russells include luxating patella (loose knees), Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia. All of these cause pain and lameness and may require expensive surgery. Unfortunately, many breeders aren't even testing their dogs for orthopedic diseases before breeding them, so we don't know how widespread these problems may be in the breed.

Jack Russell Terriers are supposed to be square in build (length should approximately equal their height at the shoulders). But there are a lot of dogs with short (dwarfed) legs and a longish back, which is a deformity called chondrodysplasia. These dogs have an increased risk of malformed joints and intervertebral disk disease.

Some severe neurological/neuromuscular diseases occur in Jack Russells, specifically cerebellar ataxia, myasthenia gravis, and lysosomal storage disease. Another neurological syndrome called spinocerebellar ataxia can appear during adolescence, but is not as devastating as cerebellar ataxia. Mild abnormalities of the brain may also be responsible for the excessive shaking or tremors of the rear legs that sometimes occur in Jack Russells.

Allergies (which cause itchy skin and often leading to pyoderma) are very common in all terrier breeds.

Inherited deafness can occur in Jack Russell Terrier puppies with a lot of white covering their head.

Blood-clotting diseases include von Willebrand's and factor X deficiency. Hormonal/endocrine system diseases include hypothyroidism and occasionally diabetes. Liver shunt and hernias occur more often in Jack Russells than in many other breeds.


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.