Common Shar Pei Dog Diseases

Shar Pei dogs are loyal, affectionate and calm. However, they can become aggressive if they feel threatened. Shar Peis learn easily if they are trained. If you are getting a Shar Pei, you should be aware of the pluses and minuses of the breed. Shar Peis are prone to numerous health problems.  

Swollen Hock Syndrome

Swollen Hock Syndrome, known also as familiar Shar Pei fever (FSF), is a serious congenital disease that may cause fever, lasting up to 24 hours. The condition is usually accompanied by accumulation of  fluid around the ankles. The fever may be recurrent. Some other symptoms of the disease are:

  • Lethargy
  • Decreased  appetite
  • Stiff and swollen legs
  • Muzzle tenderness

Amyloidosis is a disease related to the swollen hock syndrome; it is caused by unprocessed amyloid protein deposits in different organs of the body. The liver or the kidneys are most commonly affected. This condition may lead to kidney failure. A tissue examination will reveal if the disease is present. With proper care, Shar Peis with FSF or amyloidosis can live a completely normal life.

Shar Pei Eye Problems 

Entropion and ectropion are common, congenital eye diseases commonly seen in the Shar Pei breed. The conditions are due to an excess of skin around the eye. Entropion is a common defect of the eyelid that rolls inwards; the eyelashes curl inward irritating the eye. Ectropion is a condition that involves the eyelid drooping outward.

Eye drops and antibiotics can offer temporary help. Surgery is required to correct these eye problems. If left untreated, the conditions can cause recurrent eye-infections, ulcers on the cornea or even blindness.

Skin Infections in Shar Pei Dogs

Demodectic mange is a skin condition caused by a tiny mite called Demodex Canis. The mange may be acquired by the puppies shortly after birth from their mother, but the disease is also contagious and can be contracted from other infected dogs. The condition manifests through patches of hair-loss with a moth-eaten like appearance, which can spread on the head, legs and trunks. This condition can be treated using:

  • Cleansing shampoos
  • An antibiotic therapy
  • Immune stimulants
  • Topical ointments

The treatment of generalized demodex can be lengthier. The localized forms in puppies will disappear after the puppy’s immune system gets stronger.

Moldy wrinkles may also be a skin problem affecting the Shar Peis. Improperly cleaned, sores and rashes can occur in the folds of the skin. To avoid these problems, you should avoid the wet or overheated places because the skin folds keep moisture and favors the development of mold, sores and rashes. Always dry all the skin folds with a clean towel.

Shar Peis and Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Hip and elbow dysplasia refer to joint abnormalities, which can occur in Shar Peis. A dog affected by hip dysplasia has difficulties when performing certain moves, due to the fact that the ball of the femur does not fit into the hip socket properly. There are milder and more severe forms of the disease. Elbow dysplasia affects the elbow joints and will also make movement difficult. Monitor your pet and make sure to get some x-rays if you notice lameness, behavior changes or any difficulties performing movements.