The 5 most common health problems in Shar Peis
The Shar Peis, known for its wrinkled skin and unique appearance, is a treasured breed for dog enthusiasts. Their loyalty and independent nature make them unique companions. However, due to their unique genetic makeup, Shar Peis are prone to certain specific health problems. This article aims to highlight the five most common health problems in Shar Peis and the signs to look out for to ensure your dog’s health.
Family Shar Pei Sauce (FSF)
Familial Shar Pei fever is an inherited, breed-specific inflammatory disorder common in Shar Pei. This condition presents with recurrent episodes of fever often accompanied by swelling of the ankle (ankle area). These episodes of fever can last 12-36 hours. In severe cases, FSF can lead to kidney and liver damage from overproduction of amyloid proteins. If your dog shows signs of unexplained fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, or swelling, contact your veterinarian immediately. Regular veterinary checkups can help manage this condition and prevent complications.
The characteristic wrinkles of Shar Peis make them susceptible to various skin diseases. Deep folds can harbor moisture and bacteria, leading to infections, dermatitis and, in severe cases, skin sores. Signs to look for include redness, bad odor, itching, and excessive scratching. Regular cleaning of skin folds and maintaining a healthy diet can help prevent these problems. Veterinary intervention is essential if any signs of skin infection become apparent.
Hip dysplasia is a skeletal condition that commonly affects larger dog breeds, including the Shar Peis. This condition leads to hip deformity that can lead to discomfort, pain and, in severe cases, arthritis. Symptoms include difficulty standing, unwillingness to run or jump, limp, and gait changes. If you notice these signs, your veterinarian may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or surgical intervention in severe cases.
Tinnitus is an inherited condition in which the eyelid folds inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea, resulting in eye irritation or damage. Shar Peis are particularly susceptible to this due to their unique facial structure. Signs of entropion include excessive tearing, squinting, and sensitivity to light. In extreme cases, corneal ulceration or perforation may occur. If you notice these signs, seek veterinary help immediately. Treatment usually includes corrective surgery.
Shar Peis is prone to hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, which affects metabolism. Symptoms include unexplained weight gain, lethargy, intolerance to colds, and dull skin and coat conditions. If you notice these symptoms, contact your veterinarian. Hypothyroidism is usually managed with daily medications to replace the missing hormones.
Being aware of these common health problems in Shar Peis can help owners take precautions and know when to seek veterinary help. Regular veterinary care is essential for early detection and management of these conditions. Early intervention can significantly improve the prognosis and quality of life for your Shar Pei. However, keep in mind that not all Shar Pei dogs suffer from these health problems and with proper care, your dog can live a happy and healthy life.