You want to know what Shar Pei fever is? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Shar Pei fever is an awful condition affecting only dogs of the Chinese Shar Pei breed.
It’s an inflammatory disorder—meaning it’s characterized by swelling—and it’s thought to be passed down through the family.
The most obvious symptom of Shar Pei fever is fever. The fever only lasts for about half a day or as long as two days, but it comes back in episodes which are largely unpredictable.
The temperature of the fever can reach about 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
As this is a chronic disease, it will appear multiple times throughout your Shar Pei’s life.
Another common symptom is swollen hocks, or the place where a dog’s back legs bend. The swelling in the hocks during Shar Pei fever doesn’t look like normal swelling from a bruise or a sprain, but rather, it looks less stiff and more deflated.
Other symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss and a general disinterest in moving.
When the Shar Pei is walking, it might look like he or she is trying to walk very delicately, to not put too much pressure on the hocks.
Of course, to really know if a Shar Pei is suffering from the condition, a veterinarian will have to run a series of tests to rule out other ailments.
The main mechanism of the disease is a condition called amyloidosis, which is where a certain type of protein called an amyloid accumulates in the dog’s kidneys, liver, spleen and gastrointestinal tract, eventually leading to those organs failing.
In other words, the condition makes the Shar Pei’s body make its own organs sick, leading to a premature death around the age of six.
This can be the result of many different complication such as kidney failure and thrombosis (blood clots).
Now for the Bad News:
Shar Pei fever is incurable, but it is treatable with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen. However, you should never give a Shar Pei these drugs without the supervision of a veterinarian.
Your veterinarian might suggest monitoring the dog as an outpatient and possibly administer antibiotics, fluid therapy, oxygen therapy and myriad other treatments.
Shar Pei expert, Dr. Jeff Vidt, suggests a few things you can do at home to prevent inflammatory episodes from recurring:
Keep the Shar Pei cool—both literally and figuratively.
Stress is a major cause of inflammatory episodes, and fever can be especially dangerous if it reaches above 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
To keep the dog from getting stressed out, avoid high-stress activities like dog shows, training class, or too much exercise. Also, interacting with your dog will keep him or her from getting too anxious from being alone.
Probably the biggest short-term threat is the fever. If the fever reaches over 105, it’s important the Shar Pei be taken to an emergency veterinarian immediately, as high fever can create other problems.
It’s unfortunate that there isn’t a cure for the condition, but at least there are some handy techniques to help keep your Shar Pei healthy and long-living.
Talk to your veterinarian, coordinate a strategy, and help your Shar Pei live a long, healthy life!