is a member of the American Kennel Club and is also the
National Club which represents, protects, and furthers
the interests of the breed and its owners throughout the world.

Boston Terrier Health Committee News


OFA Fee changes!
Three or more soft tissue applications submitted together on a single dog (example: Cardiac, Patella and Eye applications on single dog submitted together)

The Fee is $7.50 per test submitted together ($7.50 X 3 = $22.50)
*Note – this discount does NOT apply to any applications requiring radiographic evaluations.



Dr. Sara Thomasy of University of California, Davis recently notified the BTCA Health Committee that her work on corneal endothelial dystrophy in Boston Terriers is proceeding well.  The initial genetic results are promising but indicate a complex mode of inheritance.  More samples from affected dogs are needed in order to find and confirm the mode of inheritance.  Dr. Thomasy is currently collecting blood samples from affected dogs and these dogs do not need to undergo sedation and advanced imaging. Of course if they are in northern California and could participate in the imaging, that would be excellent!  

More information about how to participate in the study and contact Dr. Thomasy is available at:    

Please contact Dr. Thomasy's lab before drawing or sending blood samples.  Thank you for your participation in this vital research.


Clemson University Research Study on Clefts & Spina Bifida

The Canine Genetics Laboratory at Clemson University (previously at Texas A&M University) is soliciting samples from Boston Terriers for a current project investigating two developmental disorders: spina biflda and cleft palate. Spina bifida is a condition in which the neural tube fails to close and can lead to incontinence and paralysis; cleft palate results from an incomplete closure of the hard palate, which separates the nasal and oral cavities. Both conditions usually result in puppy death.

Our study aims to identify candidate genes that may either cause the conditions or be involved in canine developmental pattern processes. Our ultimate goal from this work is to identify the mutation(s) causing closure defects in brachycephalic dogs. This would allow us to develop a genetic test that would enable early classification of affected dogs as well as detect carrier dogs. Breeders would then be able to make informed decisions in their breeding programs and avoid these disorders in their breeding lines.

To accomplish these goals. we need your help. We need to collect samples from at least 50 affected Bostons (either cleft palate, cleft lip or spina bifida) and from at least 50 normal Bostons. The more samples we can accumulate, the better our chances of definitively identifying the gene(s) causing spina bifida and cleft palate.

To participate in the study, please provide the following:

  • DNA sample - samples can be either blood or buccal (cheek) cells, with a preference given to blood.
  • Many veterinarians are willing to draw blood for research purposes at no cost.
  • DNA Submission Form - complete one form for each DNA sample submitted
  • Pedigree information for each dog with DNA submission
  • Pictures of dog if affected and radiographs (x-ray) if possible
  • Informed Consent Form - can be completed once for owner if submitting multiple samples

Owner and patient confidentiality will be maintained. No identification of individuals shall be made when reporting or publishing the data arising from this study.

I would be happy to discuss this project or address any questions. Thank you for your time and consideration of this study.

spina bifida in a newborn puppy
spina bifida in a newborn puppy
Alison N. Starr, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
Clemson University
Department of Genetics and Biochemistry
office: 864-656-0191
cleft palate in a newborn puppy
cleft palate in a newborn puppy

Blood Collection Instructions

DNA Submission Form

Informed Consent Form.


News Alert from OFA: Effective in 2008 Verified Permanent Identification (VPI)

The OFA’s policy regarding permanent identification is an extension of the AKC’s policy in that the AKC will only accept OFA numbers into their registry for inclusion on registration papers and pedigrees if the dog is permanently identified. While DNA profiles are able to uniquely identify individual dogs, it is also the AKC’s policy to limit permanent identification for health screening purposes to tattoo or microchip. The rationale is that DNA profiles are not immediately verifiable, they require a sample to be taken and subsequent laboratory analysis. The AKC’s premise is that tattoos are visually immediately verifiable, microchips are immediately verifiable using a scanner, and that the verification should be done at the time of testing. Currently, the OFA will accept applications regardless of whether the dog has been tattooed or microchipped. Dogs with acceptable permanent ID are assigned a PI suffix to their OFA number, dogs without permanent identification are assigned a NOPI suffix.

In order to add a higher level of integrity to the OFA databases, the OFA Hip and Elbow application form has been modified to include an area for the attending veterinarian to indicate whether or not they verified the supplied permanent identification. The revised application form is currently available as a downloadable .pdf file from the OFA website. We will begin mailing printed versions later this year.

Beginning in 2008, the verification step must be performed in order for the data to be forwarded to the AKC for inclusion in their records. Dogs with the verification step done will have a suffix of VPI assigned to their OFA numbers.

Veterinarians are encouraged to make the verification part of their standard procedure for taking OFA hip and/or elbow films. Owners are encouraged to brief their vets on this policy change and when necessary proactively request that the verification step be performed.

Click here for the Verification of Permanent Identification Form
Information provided by the OFA Web Site.

We need Boston Terrier owners to participate in the following new study.

I am very pleased to announce that AKC Canine Health Foundation, with your club’s support, has funded a 2-year study to investigate the causes for vaccination-induced allergic reactions in dogs. Allergic reactions are the most common adverse event associated with vaccination in dogs. Recent research has demonstrated that small dogs in general, and Boston Terriers in particular, are at higher risk for these reactions. Although the specific cause of allergic reactions in dogs remains unknown, vaccine components residual from the manufacturing process have been incriminated. Our study will compare the serum antibody concentrations in Boston Terriers demonstrating allergic reactions versus antibody concentrations in other Boston Terriers that don’t have reactions, seeking to identify the vaccine components that stimulate allergic reactions.

Our desire is to receive serum samples from at least 25 Boston Terriers with allergic reactions after vaccination and 25 Boston Terriers (their littermates, if possible) that did not experience reactions after vaccination. We are asking owners to have their veterinarian draw blood (3-5 ml) from each dog within 1 month of vaccination/reaction, and we will coordinate with the veterinarian to mail us the serum from the blood. We will analyze the samples for increases in antibodies against vaccine components that might have caused the allergic reaction. Owners may choose to receive the results of the tests for their dog(s) or may remain anonymous.

I would greatly appreciate your widest dissemination of this study to your club members. Information regarding the study and client consent forms is posted on our website at (, and this information is also attached. If you or your club members should have any questions, please contact me at 765-496-3393 or . Thanks for your support!

George E. Moore, DVM, MS, PhD
Dipl ACVIM (SA Int Med), ACVPM (Epi)
Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology
Purdue University
School of Veterinary Medicine
Dept. of Comparative Pathobiology
725 Harrison Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2027

Phone: 765-496-3393
Fax: 765-494-9830


PetScreen is a pioneering company dedicated to improving cancer detection and treatment in pets. They have developed the first ever screen for lymphoma cancer in dogs.

Please click on the Pet Screen Logo to go to their web site to read all about this new screening test that detects cancer in your dog.


The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust will determine the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccine. The goal is to e extend the required interval for rabies boosters to 5 and then to 7 years.

Please click HERE to find out more about this very important study!


“The Boston Puppy Book 2005 Revised Edition” & “The Boston Terrier Puppy Owner’s Handbook” are available in the STORE now.


Boston Terrier Club of America Health Committee now has listings for Health Clinics in your area as they become available.

If you have been looking for a clinic in your area, please check the new Health Clinic Web Page for more information.

If you are associated with a club and have the published information on an upcoming Health Clinic that your club is putting on, please e-mail that information to Sue LeCalsey as an attachment and it will be added to this page. Thank You!!


New Brain Tumor Study

Dr. Mathew Breen and Dr. Natasha Olby have set up a site for our new brain tumor research. This is a two year grant that BTCA is contributing $3,000 from The Charitable Trust for this research.

In return the Canine Health Foundation is matching it with $120,000+ for this work which will involve any Boston Terrier whose owner needs help and wants to participate. Click Here

CAUTION! The material presented here is for educational purposes only. A diagnosis cannot be made without a veterinarian's examination of your dog. The Health Committee and BTCA do not vouch for the accuracy of any of the information presented here. Please consult your Veterinarian with any questions you may have.


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