Boston Terrier Health Care & Feeding
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
Quick list of Boston Terrier health problems
Unfortunately, this good-natured breed is deliberately bred to have a deformed structure (domed skull, shortened muzzle, protruding eyes) that causes a lot of health issues.
All Boston Terriers suffer from some degree of brachycephalic syndrome, which is associated with respiratory problems, digestive problems, and all kinds of eye problems, especially severe corneal ulcers and cataracts.
Loose knee joints (luxating patella) can require expensive surgery. Then there is epilepsy, mast cell tumors, and chronic allergies that cause terribly itchy skin.
Boston Terriers can be 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 Boston Terrier have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases and luxating patella, your Boston Terrier 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 Boston Terrier, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Boston 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 Boston Terrier puppy or adult dog:
Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Boston Terrier lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.
The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Boston 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.
Kibble or Canned Dog Food – Almost As Good As Homemade?
Are you looking for the best dry kibble or canned dog food?
Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but think you don't have the time or skill to make it? I have the solution for you....
Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.
Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Boston Terrier puppy really need? Does your adult Boston Terrier need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.
Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.
Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.
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 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 Boston Terrier health problems
The Boston Terrier Club conducted a health survey that included 1900 Boston Terriers. They report that 86% of over 675 litters were C-sections because Boston Terrier puppies have such large heads. About 9% of the puppies died soon after birth and about 14% were born with birth defects. The average age of death was 10.4 years old – a short lifespan for a small breed.
When the survey looked specifically at 109 Boston Terriers who had died, only 9 of them died of old age. 20% died of cancer (most commonly mastocytoma). Another 10% died of epilepsy.
Because of their short face, all Boston Terriers suffer from some degree of brachycephalic syndrome, which causes all kinds of health problems.
Boston Terriers are susceptible to many eye problems:
- The most common eye problem is corneal ulcers that occur when the breed's prominent eyes are scratched.
- Corneal dystrophy causes another form of corneal ulcer which is especially painful and difficult to treat.
- Cataracts can be very severe in Boston Terriers. If they appear in a Boston Terrier puppy (2-12 months old), cataracts usually lead to blindness. If they appear later in life (after 4 years old), they may or may not cause blindness – and these late-onset cataracts occur in up to 35% of middle-aged/elderly Bostons.
- Other eye diseases that affect Bostons include cherry eye, dry eye, glaucoma, entropion, and eyelash abnormalities. Occasionally progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) occurs in the breed.
Skin problems include allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to pyoderma), demodectic mange, and mast cell tumors.
Some Boston Terriers have pattern baldness, a gradual thinning or complete loss of hair around their temples and ears, underneath their neck and abdomen, and on the backs of their thighs. It's not itchy and the skin and coat are otherwise normal. Since it's a cosmetic condition, there's no treatment required other than adding supplements that are good for the skin and coat, such as fatty acids (The Missing Link).
Orthopedic health problems include luxating patella, hemivertebra, and surprisingly for such a small dog, hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 270 Boston Terriers and found 12% dysplastic – that's very high for a small breed.
Heart diseases (patent ductus arteriosus and mitral valve disease) are a serious concern in Boston Terriers.
Inherited deafness can occur in Boston Terrier puppies with a lot of white on their head.
Other health problems in Boston Terriers include pyloric stenosis, megaesophagus, Cushing's disease, craniomandibular osteopathy, hydrocephalus, and hernias.
To help you train and care for your dog
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.
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.
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.