Hello Boston Terrier Lover and Thank You For Taking the Time to Read This Do you have or know of a Boston who has eye problems or one that has produced a dog with eye problems? Juvenile Cataracts is a devastating condition that can affect any Boston Terrier regardless of the breeder or lines it comes from. Puppies with the condition become blind by the time they are 1 year old, but some dogs may develop this type of cataract up to 3 years of age. This genetic defect produces the cataracts in BOTH EYES (bilaterally), and initially looks like small white flecks in the eyes which you can see when the pupils are dilated. As the cataracts progress, it is easy to see them with the naked eye, they look like spokes of a wheel. It is not a condition of the surface of the eye (the part you can touch), but of the lens, deeper inside. It is a recessive gene, which means that you can breed 2 dogs with no visible eye problems together and have puppies who will become blind. At Brindle Hill, we have been lucky to have never produced a dog with Juvenile Cataracts, but know that it IS in the breed, and that it can happen to even the best intentioned of breeders.
The good news is that as of February 2006, a new genetic test has become available and can be performed on puppies and dogs to identify which dogs are carriers of the juvenile cataract gene. The test was developed by the Animal Health Trust in England and it is now available to all breeders worldwide. In fact, there are now 3 different companies that offer this test, 2 of which are in the USA.
Here are the places breeders can get their dogs tested:
Vet Gen Choose the "Hereditary Cataract" test.
Animal Genetic Testing & Research Laboratory, U of KY
Animal Health Trust (UK/England) This was the original research facility that first found the gene and offered the test.
Boston breeders are very lucky to finally have found a way to test our breeding stock. Next we hope that there will be a test for late onset cataracts which is an even more common problem in the Boston Terrier. The 2 different cataracts are not related, so just because your dog is free from the juvenile cataract gene doesn't mean the dog will not develop cataracts at 3-5 years of age.
All of our Brindle Hill breeding stock has been tested and found to be clear of the hereditary juvenile cataract gene. If you would like to find links to pages that deal with some of the other health problems that Boston Terriers have, go to the BTCA Health Committee Web Site here.
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