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What Health Problems Do Shar-Peis Have?

By Mawoo Pets · 10 Feb · 6 mins read
What Health Problems Do Shar-Peis Have?

Shar-Peis are a unique breed of dog originating from China. Recognized by their distinctive wrinkles, these dogs are loved for their loyalty, intelligence, and independence.

If you’re a Shar-Pei owner (or are soon to be one), you should know that this breed is prone to certain health conditions. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the most common health issues that Shar-Peis face, providing you with the knowledge you need to detect, prevent, and manage concerns to keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

1. Skin Conditions

Shar-Peis are perhaps most well-known for their wrinkled skins, which unfortunately makes them more susceptible to various skin conditions. The deep folds can trap moisture and dirt, leading to infections if not properly cared for.

Pyoderma

One common skin condition in Shar-Peis is Pyoderma, a bacterial infection that can cause itchiness, redness, and pustules. Regular cleaning of the skin folds can help prevent this condition.

Dermatitis

Shar-Peis can also suffer from Dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin that can lead to itching and discomfort. Dermatitis in Shar-Peis is often caused by allergens such as pollen, dust mites, or certain foods. If your Shar-Pei is constantly scratching or licking their skin, it may be a sign of Dermatitis.

Managing Dermatitis often involves identifying and avoiding the allergen, as well as using medicated shampoos or creams to soothe the skin. In severe cases, your vet may prescribe steroids or other medications to control the inflammation.

A related skin issue is Seborrhea, which causes flaky skin and can lead to a foul smell. This condition can be managed with special shampoos and frequent bathing.

Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mange is a skin condition caused by mites. These mites live on the skin of most dogs without causing issues, but in Shar-Peis, they can lead to redness, itching, and hair loss. Regular grooming and vet check-ups can help catch this condition early and start treatment.

It's also important to keep your Shar-Pei's skin clean and dry, as moisture can create a breeding ground for mites. Regular baths with a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo can help keep their skin healthy.

2. Eye Problems

Shar-Peis have unique eyes that are often described as almond-shaped. However, their distinctive look can also lead to several eye problems. These issues can be painful and, if left untreated, can lead to vision loss.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma, a condition characterized by increased pressure in the eye, is another potential issue for Shar-Peis. Glaucoma can be genetic in Shar-Peis and causes redness, pain, and a cloudy appearance in the eye. If not treated promptly, it can lead to blindness.

Treatment for Glaucoma typically involves medication to reduce the pressure in the eye, and in some cases, surgery may be necessary. Your vet can help you catch this condition early and prevent permanent damage.

Entropion

Entropion is a common eye condition in Shar-Peis, where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the eye. This can lead to irritation, redness, and even corneal ulcers or even blindness if left untreated. Surgery is often required to correct the condition.

Regular eye exams can help catch this condition early. If your Shar-Pei is squinting or rubbing their eyes frequently, it's important to get them checked by a vet as soon as possible.

3. Joint and Bone Problems

Like many larger dog breeds, Shar-Peis are prone to certain joint and bone problems. These conditions can affect a dog's mobility and overall quality of life.

Hip Dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint doesn't form properly, is common in Shar-Peis. This can lead to pain, arthritis, and difficulty walking. Treatment can range from pain management and physical therapy to surgery in severe cases.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Hip and elbow dysplasia are common in many large breed dogs, including Shar-Peis. These conditions occur when the joints don't develop properly, leading to pain and mobility issues. Early signs include difficulty getting up and reluctance to run or jump.

Treatment can involve pain management, physical therapy, and potentially surgery. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help manage the symptoms of dysplasia. Regular vet check-ups can help detect these conditions early and start treatment as soon as possible.

4. Familial Shar-Pei Fever (FSF)

One of the most common genetic conditions in Shar-Peis is Familial Shar-Pei Fever (FSF). This condition is also called Shar-Pei recurrent fever syndrome. It is characterized by recurring episodes of high fever and swelling in the hocks. It can be quite distressing for the dog and may lead to more serious conditions like kidney failure (Amyloidosis) if left untreated.

It's also important to keep your Shar-Pei cool during hot weather, as heat can trigger an episode. While there is currently no cure for FSF, the condition can be managed with medication to reduce fever and inflammation. Regular vet check-ups are crucial for early detection and management of FSF.

How Can I Prevent These Health Issues?

owner attending to shar pei dog on a walkWhile it may seem daunting to consider these potential health issues, it's important to remember that not all Shar-Peis will experience these problems. Regular vet visits, a healthy diet, and proper care can go a long way in ensuring your Shar-Pei lives a long, healthy life.

With the right knowledge and care, you can help your Shar-Pei stay happy and health, reduce incidence of aggressive behaviors (caused by health issues), and ensure they remain a happy and beloved member of your family.

A healthy diet and regular exercise are key to preventing many health issues in Shar-Peis. Obesity can exacerbate conditions like elbow dysplasia and can lead to other issues like diabetes and heart disease.

A Balanced Diet

Shar-Peis require a balanced diet to stay healthy. This should include high-quality protein, healthy fats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Avoid feeding them human food, as some foods can be toxic to dogs and can lead to obesity.

It's also important to monitor their food intake. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, while underfeeding can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Your vet can provide guidance on the right amount of food for your Shar-Pei.

Regular Moderate Exercise

Regular exercise is crucial for keeping your Shar-Pei healthy. This breed is naturally active and enjoys walks, playtime, and even swimming. However, it's important not to overdo it, as too much exercise can strain their joints.

Your vet should regularly check your Shar-Pei's weight and overall health to detect any problems early. You can also ask them for advise on the right amount of exercise for your dog based on his/her weight.

Conclusion

Understanding the health needs of your Shar-Pei is just the beginning of a wonderful journey with your loyal companion. At Mawoo Pets, we're committed to helping you find the perfect pet that's not only a great match for your family but also comes from a background of love and ethical treatment. 

Our breeders adhere to the highest standards, ensuring that your new furry friend is healthy, well-socialized, and up to date on all vaccinations and deworming schedules. If you're considering adding a Chinese Shar-Pei or even a Miniature Shar-Pei to your home, we invite you to explore our available puppies from leading breeders in the US & Canada. 

Available Miniature Shar-Pei Puppies

Dove

$1225
Miniature Shar-Pei | Girl

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Dove

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