Purebred dogs are subject to certain physical conditions that vary by breed. Boston terriers, for instance, are prone to congenital blindness, caused by cataracts or corneal dystrophy. Watch for signs and symptoms that your Boston terrier is having problems with her vision so you can contact your vet for treatment.
Opacity of the Cornea
If one or both of the corneas of your Boston terrier's eyes turns grayish- or bluish-white, the cloudy covering might indicate corneal dystrophy. This opaque layer over the center of the cornea is the first noticeable symptom, and it should prompt you to consult your vet to begin treatment to prevent corneal ulcers.
Opacities in the lenses of your Boston terrier's eyes don't always indicate corneal dystrophy, though. They might be signs of cataracts, another vision condition that Boston terriers are predisposed to.
With corneal dystrophy, the clear fluid that is supposed to naturally flow to the eye to keep it lubricated stops, and it can build up in the cornea. This causes inflammation and swelling of the cornea and can result in a tear and a corneal ulcer. This stage of the disease is painful for your Boston terrier, all the more reason to seek medical attention when you first notice any changes to her eyes.
Other Physical Symptoms
If your previously healthy and well-sighted Boston terrier shows abnormal physical symptoms such rapid or frequent blinking, squinting, or eyes that are constantly teary, any of these can indicate a vision problem. It's always best to err on the side of safety and take her to the vet, either to rule out a serious condition or to begin treatment if necessary.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Boston terriers can adapt fairly well to vision loss because of their keen senses of smell and hearing. If you don't notice any physical symptoms that your dog might be losing her sight, the first indications might be from how she acts. Bumping into furniture and walls, sudden reluctance to go up or down stairs, failure to react to a hand waved in front of her -- all are signs that your Boston terrier's vision might be failing.
"The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats" advises trying the cotton ball test to determine whether your dog has trouble seeing. Stand a few feet in front of your Boston terrier and drop a cotton ball. Your dog might respond to the sound of a heavier object hitting the ground, but the cotton won't make a sound. If your dog doesn't watch the cotton ball as it falls and lands on the floor, contact your vet for an appointment as soon as possible.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- Diseases of the Dog and Their Treatment; Georg Mueller and Alexander Glass
- Vet Info: Corneal Dystrophy in Dogs
- Vet Info: The 5 Most Common Dog Eye Problems
- The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.