Sharpei 'Potential'
Health Problems
in the Breed


In general, dogs with any of the following conditions should not be bred. You should try to make sure that the parents of the puppy you may be considering are not affected by any of these conditions. Most Shar-Pei will not have any of these problems in their lifetimes and they are listed here as potential.

All breeds have potential health problems, some more than others, we would rate the Shar-Pei as medium on the scale and number of potential health issues. Most owners will not experience any or very few of the conditions below, some conditions are more common than others, some are rare, they are listed here so that in the event of a health problem occurring, it can be recognised early and professional help sought quickly for the benefit of the dog.

The Shar-Pei is the most wonderful of breeds, with outstanding qualities, reputable breeders have a HUGE love of their breed and will try their utmost to avoid breeding any of these conditions in to their puppies.

Sharpei Eye Tacking & Entropion

The Shar-Pei are one of a number of breeds that can have this condition. This is where the eyelid rolls in towards the eye, rubbing against the cornea and irritating this sensitive structure. Watery eyes, infection, even a corneal ulcer, can occur. Surgical correction is required, this can be a comparatively simple puppy eye tack through to an *Entropion operation (* should not be carried out on a young puppy unless problem is extreme).

Sharpei Lens Luxation

A condition where the lens in the eye is displaced into an abnormal position leading to abnormally high pressure in the eye. this will most often cause blindness if untreated very quickly, an irritated eye with a 'blueing' on  the cornea often indicates this condition, normal treatment generally requires rapid surgical removal of the lens in the eye and the condition will often occur in the other eye within a relatively short period.

Sharpei Cherry Eye

Certain breeds of dogs commonly develop KCS and cherry eye. These breeds (American Cocker Spaniel, English Bulldog, Shar Pei, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, and Chow Chow) frequently develop KCS (Dry Eye) after removal of the cherry eye condition.
Dry eye is a serious eye condition that is difficult to treat, and requires life-long treatment. The chance of developing KCS (Dry Eye) is lessened by tacking the gland back into its normal position thereby keeping the gland functional. This is the most desirable way of handling "Cherry Eye". Tacking surgery performed by an experienced veterinary ophthalmologist has a failure rate of less than 5 %.



Sharpei Ears and Pseudomonas Infection

Due to the breed standard calling for small ears, this results in the Shar-Pei having very narrow ear canals. frequent cleaning is often necessary to avoid problems. If ear irritation is noticed it may be necessary to commence a routine cleaning of, once every week or every two weeks depending on the individual dog, (Over-cleaning can also cause inflammation, so care is advised).
Use cotton swabs or make-up pads (cotton ones) with an ear solution such as Epiotic, from your vet. Do not use cotton buds as it may push the waxy build-up further down the ear canal. After you have cleaned the ears with Epiotic or similar, let them shake (this will throw loosened debris up the canal)  and then clean the debris from under the ear flaps and round the canal entry. (never poke a cotton bud down into the ear canal, this is likely to cause pain and ear damage) Use a make-up pad to gently clean the ear area. ...

Also 'Atopic Dermatits' can affect the ear's....always consult a Vet...

The first signs of an ear infection that you will see is your dog scratching the affected ear and shaking its head. There may be a discharge and smell from the ear, as well as redness, swelling, crusting or pain in the affected ear.

Examination of the ear canal by a veterinary surgeon using an auroscope will confirm the diagnosis, sometimes a veterinary surgeon may need to flush the ear out under anaesthetic...

Dogs with severe chronic ear infections should have a complete medical exam to eliminate the possibility of underlying systemic disease for example, hypothyroidism and cushings disease is a common underlying reason for bad ears. If atopy (an allergic condition caused by inhaled allergens) is the cause, you may need to give low doses of anti-inflammatory medicine during the season. If food allergy is the cause, then a special hypoallergenic diet may be needed. If the dog is hypothyroid (under-active thyroid), continuous thyroid therapy will be needed...

 Otitis externa, it is an inflammation and infection of the external ear canal and is commonly seen in dogs,The causes are numerous and include foreign bodies,parasites, yeasts, fungi and bacterial infections. (grass seeds, hair, dirt or ear secretions...

Haematoma, is a soft swelling on the ear flap usually caused by blood that has en-fused from a broken blood vessel. It can be brought on by a bite or by violent head shaking, by the dog....

Sharpei Nose - Stenotic Nares

Stenotic nares: a condition where the openings of the nose (nares) are too small. These dogs snore because of excess flesh. If the dog is unable to pass air with ease. An "elongated soft palate" is likely to be the cause of "respiratory distress." See more on  Brachycephalic and the Sharpei...

Masticatory Myositis and Extraocular Myositis

Myositis is the medical term for inflammation of the muscles.
Masticatory muscle myositis (MMM) is an inflammatory disease that affects the muscles of the jaw. "Masticatory" refers to chewing.
Extraocular myositis (EOM) is an inflammatory disease that selectively affects the muscles that surround the eye. Extraocular myositis does not affect the muscles of the jaw. Neither type of muscle inflammation affects the muscles of the limbs.

Sharpei Tight Lip Syndrome

This is where the excess flesh from the lower lip covers the teeth making it difficult for the Shar-Pei to chew. This excess flesh also traps food and is usually associated with an overbite. It is often necessary to clean inside the lower lip/gum......

Sharpei Malocclusion

Overbites are very common. This can occur due to the misplacement of the incisors causing an overcrowding. Extraction at a young age can prevent the adult canines from cutting into the hard palate.

Familial Shar-Pei Fever ~Amyloidosis~Swollen Hock Syndrome.

Familial Shar-Pei fever also known as "Swollen Hock Syndrome" (SHS) typically may include the following symptoms:

1. Swelling of the hock joint and sometimes other joints can be affected.
2. Reluctance to move.
3. Sometimes a swollen painful muzzle.

4. Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, and shallow breathing.

This is one of the worst conditions that any loving owner could experience, it is a genetic condition reputable breeders would not breed from known FSF carriers, know your pedigree's before breeding, research before buying a Shar-Pei, some breeders have been heard commenting "they all have it, so what does it matter" does matter, as all Pei's do not have it, anyone who tells you that, is making excuses for their own bad breeding practices...

"Familial Shar-Pei Fever (FSF) is an episodic fever disorder. Shar-Pei with this disorder have one or more bouts of unexplained fever, usually 103-107 degrees but rare cases may go higher. Fevers usually start when they are less then 18 months old but sometimes the first attack is not until they are adults.
Fever episodes usually become less frequent with age. Fevers last 24-36 hours in most cases without treatment. The disorder is thought to result from an inability to regulate the immune system.

Dogs suffering from this disorder are at risk of dying from a related disorder, Amyloidosis. affected Shar-Pei with Amyloidosis have an inability to break down chemicals released in the bloodstream when inflammation results from abnormal deposition of amyloid protein throughout the body.
While not all dogs with Shar-Pei fever die of Amyloidosis, when they do, death most commonly occurs between the ages of 3 and 5 years".

 We are riding the wave of the current level of understanding of these autoinflammatory disorders.  As researchers learn more, new areas of exploration evolve.   Your support and cooperation is appreciated and necessary. What can breeders do now?   Do not breed dogs with FSF or the offspring of dogs that have been diagnosed with amyloidosis after autopsy...   Breed your healthy old dogs to healthy young bitches and vice versa; breed for longevity and good health.   Don’t put the blinkers on… if it looks like an FSF episode, it probably is.  Educate your puppy buyers about the disorder and ask them to call you if they experience any problems – what you don’t know will hurt you.   Have routine blood chemistry tests and first morning urine sample urinalysis done on all Shar-Pei annually after 2 years of age and especially before any breeding to detect any latent kidney or liver problems.

Most Common Signs of Advanced Amyloidosis.

* Unexplained weight loss.

* Increased thirst and frequency of urination.

* Vomiting

* "Bad Breath" as in a very distinctive 'Foul Smelling' smell as a result of uremia
(the buildup of toxins/wastes in the bloodstream as the kidney +/- liver fails to process them)

Sharpei Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome

The Vast Majority of Familial Shar-Pei Fever (FSF) episodes seen in Shar-Pei run a fairly benign course, but there are occasional exceptions which can have life threatening consequences. If not recognised early, STSS can lead to death in 24 hours or less. A similar syndrome has been seen in human medicine, the so-called "flesh-eating bacteria".   

Lot's of vets have never seen this condition, so do not know how to recognise or treat it

Sharpei Hypothyroidism

A common endocrine disease where the body produces an abnormally low amount of thyroid hormones. An autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland which affects more than 50 dog breeds.
The thyroid glands secrete a hormone which controls the basic metabolic rate of the entire body. Inadequate hormone levels reset the body to function at a lower metabolic level.
In that case, dogs fatten easily on a normal diet, become sluggish, and are easily chilled. Hair changes are most noticeable and include loss of hair from the flanks and back, increased pigmentation of the skin, scaling and seborrhoea (an abnormality in the production of skin cells.) Secondary bacterial infection of the skin is common.
The ears may also be affected, filling with thick, yellow greasy material which may predispose the dog to ear infections. Blood tests will determine the level of thyroid function and administration of thyroid hormone can treat the condition.

Sharpei Demodectic Mange

One of the most common dog skin problems, not only in Shar-Pei. this is a kind of skin disease (mange) caused by microscopic' Demodex canis' mites living within the skin layers and producing an immunodeficiency syndrome.
Irritation starts off as small dry areas on the head, chest, and legs of the Shar-Pei. Because the dog scratches to relieve the intense itching, the skin becomes red and raw with a leathery look about it. Check with your vet for prescribed medication, shampoos, and other appropriate treatment.


Pemphigus ..
an uncommon skin condition

We have come across a number of Shar-Pei with Pemphigus Foliaceus, this condition is not commonly seen by vets and often gets mis-diagnosed, there is no clear reason as to why some Shar-pei develop Pemphigus, but it seems that periods of extreme stress have been involved in relation to some Shar-pei we have seen and been directly involved with.

What is Pemphigus?

Pemphigus covers a group of uncommon disorders that occur in dogs. With these conditions, there is an abnormal immune response to normal components of the skin, resulting in separation of cells. This leads to blisters, pustules, and crusting erosions in the skin. There are some similarities to Pemphigus in humans, but many significant differences as well.

Breed predispositions are recognized for 2 forms - Pemphigus Foliaceus and the milder Pemphigus Erythematosus. (There are no breed predispositions recognised for the other 2 forms - Pemphigus vulgaris and Pemphigus vegetans).

Sharpei Hot Spots!!

Your dog is chewing constantly at a  wet, raw looking skin lesion.   And it looks like it is bigger and nastier than it was just hours ago. 
You show it to your neighbour and they say your dog has a "Hot Spot".  What on earth is that?



Sharpei Seborrhoea Oleosa

A skin disease with excess scaling of the skin and often an excess of sebum (oil-like substance) and odour. The body odour which comes from raw, scaly, bloody skin, could be caused by hypothyroidism, yeast infections, and or food allergies. This condition should be immediately discussed with a vet and the appropriate shampoos (i.e; Malaseb or Seleen) and medication can effectively treat this condition. light powdering with Flowers of Sulphur can help the healing process

Skin Odour...

Skin odour is a common manifestation of a skin infection. The most common skin infections are bacterial (superficial pyoderma) and yeast (Malassezia dermatitis) infections.
Dandruff (Scale) is often present on animals with skin disease; it can either be primary sign of disease or secondary to other skin changes. It is a major presenting sign of Cheyletiella mite( Dandruff) infestation and idiopathic seborrhoea but is more commonly a part of a mixed pattern of signs as seen with hypothyroidism or Pyoderma...

The bacterial infections are usually caused by bacteria that are part of the normal flora of the skin (e.g. Staphylococcus intermedius). For this reason the infection is not contagious to other animals. In dogs that have abnormal skin (e.g. allergies) the bacteria increase in number and cause red bumps (papules) and rancid odour. Some dogs with bacterial skin infections also develop excessive shedding, patchy hair loss and scaling. If the infection is left untreated, involvement of deeper parts of the skin is possible. In these cases nodules that have a purulent (pus) discharge develop. In most cases skin infections are secondary, so it is very important to pursue an underlying cause. Failure to do so will result in recurrent infections.

Animals often develop a yeast infection (Malassezia dermatitis), which manifests itself as greasy, red, itchy skin with a rancid odour. Areas most commonly affected include the ventral neck, groin, armpits (axillae) and perineal areas. This infection is also secondary to an underlying disease, most commonly allergies. In some dogs this may be a consequence of chronic antibiotic and steroid therapy but, as a general rule, dogs do not develop yeast infections after antibiotic therapy as commonly as people do...

Sharpei Cutaneous Mucinosis

Mucin is the substance in the Shar-Pei skin that causes all the wrinkling. It is clear and stringy and acts like glue in open wounds. Some Shar-Pei have an excess of Mucin causing it to form clear bubbles on the skin that may rupture and ooze. it may be associated with possible allergies and can be treated by steroid therapy. Excessive mucinosis can also occur with hypothyroidism.  Severe mucinosis interfere with breathing if the bubbles are in the back of the mouth too. This has a lot to do with Pei that snort and snore, the danger with severe Mucinosis it can increase the risks associated with general anesthetics, if repeated treatment is required, hypothyroidism must be ruled out.

If you Pei only have mucinosis and no other illness, Some Shar-pei may Pei outgrow mucinosis by 5 years of age.

 However, after 5 years of age if the mucinosis has healed up, it then comes back say  2 or 3 years later; biopsies may show up as mass cell tumors in some areas of the skin that was diagnosed as muccinosis…

It had often thought that Cutaneous Mucinosis  was only a cosmetic condition in the Shar-Pei…

Sharpei Allergies

Just like humans dogs can be allergic to some substances, Some Shar-Pei can be susceptible to allergies caused by food, grass, plants (indoor and outdoor),  Other allergies are "Inhalant allergies" (Atopy: an allergy caused from things dogs inhale). that causes the dog to lick his/her paws, scratch, and rub its muzzle. "Eliminating the allergy's cause, using the correct type of shampoo and administering antihistamines or cortisone are common forms of treatment". Always consult a Shar-Pei knowledgeable vet for proper treatment and care.

Sharpei Alopecia

Alopecia ::
Hair loss in patches, either localized or general. Leaves either bald skin, or irritated skin.

Loss of fur
Available Treatments::
is a symptom, it's underlying cause must be determined in order to be treated.
Possible Causes.........
Cushing's Syndrome Cushing's Disease, or Hyperadrenocorticism, is the production of an excess of adrenal hormone, or, more particularly, corticosteroids.
Acral Lick Granulomas Acral Lick Granuloma:: Irritating skin disease causing constant licking of a single area and subsequent hair loss and skin lesions.Commonly known as a Hot Spot.
Hypothyroidism A common endocrine disease where the body produces an abnormally low amount of thyroid hormones. Blood tests will determine thyroid function and thyroid hormone can treat the condition.
Alopecia Areata Alopecia Areata is considered  an autoimmune disease where cells of an individual's own immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles and prevent hair follicles from producing hair fibre.
Demodicosis These are reddened patches and may be itchy. Secondary bacterial infections occur as the numbers of Demodex canis'  mites proliferate
Sarcoptic Mange Less serious, but more highly transmittable type of mange. otherwise known as "Scabies," much easier to cure than Demodectic mange, the Sarcoptic mite doesn't burrow deep into the skin
Folliculitis It involves flare ups in the local population of otherwise normal skin bacteria and treatment is quite similar to the treatment for hot spots
Pyoderma It's normal for the skin to contain a certain level and certain types of bacteria.  Pyoderma refers to abnormal levels or types of bacteria that cause inflammation and damage to the skin
Flea Allergy The flea allergic dog has a severe, itch-producing reaction to flea bites. This occurs because the dog develops an allergic response to the flea's saliva. When the dog is bitten, flea saliva is deposited in the skin. Just one bite causes intense itching and this is of a long lasting nature
Allergies Just like humans dogs can be allergic to some substances, Some Shar-Pei can be susceptible to allergies caused by food, grass, plants (indoor and outdoor)


Staphylococci ‘Staph bacteria’ are the most common organisms found in bacterial skin diseases (pyoderma's) in dogs. Fortunately, these bacteria (S. intermedius) are not contagious to humans or other pets.


Commonly itchy, yellow pustules are often observed early in the disease, and the dog’s skin can be reddened and ulcerated. Dry, crusted areas appear as the condition advances, along with loss of hair in the affected areas (lesions) and an odour.

All areas of a dog’s body may be involved, but most cases are confined to the trunk. The chin is one area commonly affected. Called chin acne, this condition is actually a deep bacterial infection. Obese dogs and dogs of the pug-nosed breeds are frequently affected by pyoderma in the skin folds on their face, lips and vulva. 

Other areas where pyoderma may occur include between the toes and on the calluses of the elbows that mostly affects the abdominal area in young puppies. 

 This is usually made from the case history and appearance and location of the lesions. In some cases, it may be necessary to culture the skin (grow the bacteria) and conduct sensitivity tests to determine which antibiotic will be effective in treatment. Most bacterial skin infections in dogs are secondary to another disease such as parasitism, allergies, endocrine (hormonal) disorders or abnormalities in the immune system. Therefore, in recurrent cases, it is important to search for underlying causes. It may be necessary to do blood tests, allergy tests or skin biopsies to achieve a complete diagnosis. 

 Initial treatments may entail removal of the hair in and around the lesions, washing of the whole dog with antibiotic shampoos such as benzoyl peroxide, careful drying and the application of an antibiotic ointment to local lesions, in most cases, antibiotics will also be administered orally for 3-4 weeks. Bandages or a protective collar which prevents the dog from mutilating the lesions may be applied. 
Some pyoderma involving skin folds can require corrective surgery. In recurrent cases where testing reveals no definable underlying cause, special staphylococcal vaccines as an alternative to long-term antibiotic treatment can be tried. 

It may be necessary to continue treatments such as antiseptic shampooing, antibiotic ointment applications and giving antibiotics orally at home. While most cases respond to treatment, recurrences of pyoderma are common, particularly if treatment recommendations and follow-up visits to your veterinarian are neglected. Glucocorticoid steroids cannot be administered.

Fungal Skin Infections (Ringworm) 

 The fungal skin infections of dogs are caused primarily be two species of fungi: Microsporum and Trichophyton. The skin diseases resulting from these fungi are commonly called ‘ringworm.’ 


Ringworm is seen most commonly in young dogs. The fungi live in dead skin tissues, hairs and nails. Hair loss, usually in circular patches, may appear. If infected, the center of the patches may have a dry, crusty appearance. The head and legs are most commonly affected by ringworm, although the disease may spread over other parts of the dog’s body if not treated. Dogs may scratch the lesions.

The appearance of the lesions, the history of their development and the age of the dog are all helpful in diagnosing ringworm. A Wood’s Lamp Test (ultraviolet light) can be used to help diagnose the Microsporum species only. A definite diagnosis can be obtained through a fungal culture -- grow the fungi found on the affected hairs. 

The hair around the lesions is clipped, and special fungicidal shampoos or rinses are used for bathing the dog. Topical lime sulfur and mandatory systemics should be administered. 

Public Health Aspects of Ringworm
Ringworm is contagious to humans, particularly to children and to other household pets. Infected dogs should be kept away from children and other dogs and cats until the infection is cures -- which can be as long as 2-3 months or more after the treatment begins. Adults should be careful to wash their hands thoroughly after handling an infected dog. If treated early, ringworm is readily controlled in humans. Other household pets should also be examined for ringworm.

Allergic Skin Diseases

Allergies in dogs are common. Signs such as itchy skin, nasal and eye discharges and sneezing, and/or digestive upsets and/or skin lesions may indicate an allergy is present. Many skin diseases seen in dogs are caused by an allergy. 

 An allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction to allergy-causing substances known as ‘allergens’ or ‘antigens.’ Dogs (like people) can develop allergies at any age, and the signs can appear quite suddenly.
The most common allergy dogs develop is the flea saliva. The presence of a single flea on these allergic dogs causes intense itching. These allergies are seasonal in climate zones where fleas are eliminated by the cold in winter months -- and a year-round problem in warmer climates. 

Atopy (atopic dermatitis, allergic inhalant dermatitis) is a pruritic (itchy) skin disease dogs develop in response to inhaled particles such as house dust, molds and pollens. This common form of allergy usually starts at a relatively young age. Rarely, dogs can be allergic to chemicals contained in soaps, waxes, carpets and flea collars. This type of hypersensitivity is known as a ‘contact allergy.’ Also, some dogs are allergic to insect bites and stings. Food allergies usually case diarrhea and/or skin lesions

Itching is the primary sign of allergic skin diseases in dogs. The affected skin may appear normal, or red and moist in patches called ‘hot spots.’ Pus and dried crusts are apparent if a bacterial infection is also present. The dog tends to constantly scratch and lick affected areas. Initially, flea allergies are most evident over the dog’s back and near the tail. A dog’s face, feet, chest, and abdomen are more often affected by pollen and dust-type allergies. Contact allergies are seen mostly on the hairless areas of the abdomen and on the bottoms of the feet. 


The dog’s case history helps with the diagnosis. The intense itching and location of the lesions are also helpful in diagnosing the type of allergy present. Response to treatment (flea control) is often used as a method of diagnosis of flea allergy. Trials of special hypoallergenic diets are used to diagnose food allergy. Allergy testing is used to help choose immunotherapy. Blood tests are also available to diagnose allergies, but their use is more controversial. Ask your veterinarian for his or her current recommendations. 

Allergies can be controlled in most cases, with few ‘cured.’ Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be used by your veterinarian to give your dog relief from the intense itching. In most cases this will stop the self-mutilation. The owner will be instructed to give corticosteroid tablets in decreasing dosages for a few months. Corticosteroids are potent drugs and should not be used carelessly or for long periods of time. The main objective in controlling flea allergies in dogs is to kill the fleas on the dog and in the dog’s environment. 
Another approach to allergy control is hyposensitization (immunotherapy). In this procedure, a correct diagnosis by intradermal or blood testing is necessary. The dog is then given injections of small but increasing doses of the allergy-causing substance at varying intervals for up to 12 months. Lifelong response may take up to 12 months.

Parasitic Skin Diseases

Fleas are the most common parasitic skin disease found in dogs. Mange is another type of skin disease which is caused by mites. There are two severe types of mange: sarcoptic mange and demodectic mange.

Ear mites, lice, and ticks are other parasites that affect dogs. Their presence irritates the dog, leading to self-mutilation. 

Sarcoptic mange causes intense itching, loss of hair and crusting of the skin. A dog’s ears, front legs, chest and abdomen are most often affected by sarcoptic mange.

Demodectic mange can cause itching. The skin is reddened and scaly, and hair loss occurs in round patches resembling ‘ringworm.’ The face and front legs are most commonly affected, although some cases may be generalized. Generalized demodectic mange is often a sign of underlying internal disease or a hereditary problem. 

Ear mites cause severe irritation in the ears. Often, an affected dog will scratch the hair off the back of its ears. Ticks, lice and fleas may transmit other diseases, in addition to causing irritation. 


Mange is often suspected on the basis of the case history and the appearance and location of the lesions. A skin scraping test is always performed to aid in identifying parasites. Ear mites, which are barely visible to the naked eye, appear as small white objects. The black debris commonly seen in the ears of dogs with ear mites is a combination of dried blood, normal ear wax and discharges from inflammation. Lice, fleas and ticks can also be seen by close examination of the dog’s skin. 


Mange is treated by clipping the affected areas and washing them with an antiseptic. Antimite dips are often necessary and may be used weekly or biweekly for several months. Shampoos can be sued before each dip. The dog’s eyes should be protected with mineral oil or eye ointment and the ears plugged with cotton before dipping. Most cases of mange respond well to this treatment. Antibiotics can be administered in cases of mange where infection may be present.

Ear mites can be readily treated Initially, your veterinarian may recommend a thorough cleaning of the dog’s ears while the animal is sedated. This treatment can be followed up with home treatments using special solutions or ointments to kill the mites and prevent infections in addition, insecticidal dips, sprays, powders or shampoos are often used. 

Lice, ticks and fleas must be killed on the dog and in the dog’s environment with insecticides. Dips, shampoos, flea collars, sprays, powders, foams and foggers containing insecticides are available from your veterinarian to help control these parasites.

 Hormonal Skin Diseases

Skin diseases caused by hormonal abnormalities in dogs are difficult to diagnose. The thyroid gland, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, testicles and ovaries all produce hormones. If excessive (‘hyper’) or deficient (‘hypo’), these hormones produce changes in the skin and hair coat. Most hormonal problems that affect the skin produce hair loss that is evenly distributed on each side of the dog’s body. The skin may be thicker or thinner than normal, and there may be changes in the color of the skin or hair coat. These diseases usually are not itchy. 

When any of the hormone-producing glands malfunction, they affect other body functions besides the skin. Hormonal skin diseases in dogs can be much more serious than a ‘skin problem.’ 

Some causes of hormonal skin disease, such as hypothyroidism and adrenal gland problems, can be diagnosed by special blood tests and effectively treated. Others may be more difficult to diagnose and treat. Skin changes related to the sex hormones can be successfully treated with surgical neutering, if this has not been performed previously.

Sharpei Carpal Laxity

This is a weakness is the carpal ligaments which causes instability and bowing forward in young puppies. Decrease the protein level and exercise on a non-slippery surface. In severe cases soft splints will be required.


Sharpei Patellar Luxation

A condition where the knee caps slide in and out of place. Any Shar-Pei with this condition should not be bred. often characterised by the dog making a kicking motion occasionally as they walk

Sharpei Hip Dysplasia

Affecting many breeds, this is a developmental malformation or subluxation of the hip joints A dysplastic dog has an abnormal hip joint where the femur and acetabulum are misaligned. This can range in severity.

Sharpei Hernias.

Hernias are something to look out for when buying a puppy. The most common type is the umbilical hernia, which is really a developmental defect in the belly button. This does not close properly after birth in affected dogs, and abdominal contents are able to push through to lie just under the skin. The size of the hole regulates the type of tissue that will push through, with small defects allowing only fat to come out. This fat often blocks small hernias and effectively cures the problem. Larger hernias will allow bowel and parts of the spleen and liver to enter the area under the skin. These have to be corrected surgically...

The next most common type of hernia is the one found in the groin. The groin is properly called the inguinal area and hernias here are termed Inguinal hernias. Again the problem occurs in the development stages of foetal life. There are two small gaps in the muscles of the inguinal area in all our animals. These are called the inguinal canals and allow the testicles to pass through to the scrotum. Female do not need the canals and should be born with very tight openings. The male's canal should also be tight enough to stop the escape of abdominal organs other then the testicle. Hernias occur when the canals are looser than normal and then tissues, such as the bowel, bladder and womb, can escape…

Hernias may lead to life threatening illness if they strangulate. This means that the contents of the hernia are trapped in the hernia sac and can not be replaced, The circulation to the trapped organs gets cut off and gangrene develops as the tissues die from lack of blood...

Other serious problems include pregnancy with pups being carried in the hernia, and inability to urinate when the bladder is trapped...

Most hernias are inherited and affected lines should not be used for Breeding

Sharpei Regurgitation/Vomiting

Megaesophagus and or diaphragmatic hernias may not be detected until the dog is much older when they will appear underweight or emaciated with a history of vomiting. This is a developmental defect possibly a delayed maturation of the oesophageal neuromuscular system. Mild cases in young dogs can improve with careful feeding. Feeding the dog by elevating the food in such a way as to raise the dog's front end. Putting food bowls on a stair or two and then allowing them some time to digest in the same position may help.

Diagnostic tests may include radiography (x-rays) with or without barium, blood tests, biopsies of the stomach and intestinal tract, and exploratory abdominal surgery. Once the diagnosis is known, treatment may include special medications, diets, and/or surgery...

Sharpei Addisons Disease

Addisons disease is the common name for hypoadrenocorticism, or adrenal insufficiency (an insufficient production of adrenal hormones by the adrenal gland). Since these hormones are essential for life, this is an extremely serious disease and it must be treated as such. It is a disease with symptoms that are common to many other ailments, making diagnosis difficult and sometimes a process of elimination.  But once Addison’s is correctly diagnosed, a properly treated dog can live a normal, active life.


Cushings Syndrome/Disease

Cushing's Disease is a disease in which the adrenal glands overproduce certain hormones. Although a serious disease, it is normally treatable, many dogs with Cushing's Disease enjoy a greatly improved quality of life for many years.


Sharpei Epilepsy

Epilepsy is relatively common in dogs, including Sharpei, The single most striking feature of this condition is of course fits. Nerve cells in the brain function by transmission of electrical impulses.  Epilepsy is a sudden, excessive discharge of electrical energy in groups of brain cells, causing a seizure or convulsion.  Why this spontaneous discharge occurs is not known, but in many cases the condition is hereditary in dogs. Dog's with Epilepsy must be excluded from any breeding program...
Epilepsy usually becomes apparent between 6 months and 5 years of age.  Nearly all breeds, including mixed breeds can be affected…

Having said that, there are many other causes of fits, which must be considered in any pet presenting with such a history. Other causes of fits include the ingestion of poisons, kidney and liver disease, infections, meningitis, encephalitis, brain tumours, congenital abnormalities and many others. These must all be ruled out before a diagnosis of epilepsy can be arrived at. Many tests may be necessary to rule out such conditions, and the arrival of MRI scanning has added new possibilities. However, under many circumstances, a diagnosis of epilepsy is often arrived at simply by process of elimination...

Sharpei Canine Herpes and Fading pup's

Canine herpes virus … has been largely forgotten for many years, due in part to the difficulty in making a definitive diagnosis. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the virus causes many more problems than was first thought. Where entire litters die off, one pup at a time...
 Herpes virus, also exists on or in nearly all animals, including probably a transient and harmless guest on humans. However, we therefore could transmit the virus to our dogs.  Virus particles do not live forever in non-nutrient (host) environments, but long enough to be carried to the ultimate host on clothing, by sneezes, etc. It is the immune-challenged weakened pup that would fall to its onslaught...

Neonatal deaths and Herpes viremia... This syndrome, caused by a herpes virus, is a major cause of death in pups between five days and three weeks, and may take two weeks to spread through the litter. “Herpes” actually refers to a class of several viruses, so you may encounter the word used in the context of a human disease, or a disease in other animals. One of this class will not produce the same disease as will another. With this viremia, death from kidney and liver failure usually occurs within eighteen hours; symptoms include constant crying, shallow and rapid breathing, loss of appetite and coordination, and a soft, yellowish green stool with no particular odour. The stool symptom can be easily missed if the bitch is cleaning her pups to make them defecate. This virus can remain latent for many months and be reactivated by stress or an  immunosuppressive a agent such as a shot of cortisone or similar steroid. Thus, pups that contract a marginal infection but not enough to be fatal, might still have their immune system weakened, or else harbour the inactive virus. Pups seem to get the virus through the saliva of their infected dam, though a few may contract it in the birth canal or even in the uterus before birth... The unborn puppy: CHV attacks the placenta of the mother, starving the foetus of nutrients. This can lead to abortion, stillbirth or re-absorption of the foetus (seen by the breeder as infertility...

At this time, there is no cure for an animal that has CHV – infection is probably lifelong and can flare up repeatedly during periods of stress. Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir have shown very limited efficacy and are expensive. Some work has shown variable success by injecting infected puppies with the serum of immune bitches. Early intervention appears vital and will depend on the immune status of the donor. Always check with your Vet, to as and when they may have information on any new drugs to treat Herpes...


Mastitis is the infection and/or inflammation of the mammary gland and may include all or just one or several glands.  The affected glands become firm and hard, often resembling rocks, are very red, warm to the touch and painful.  Milk may possibly be off-colour. Vets are divided in their opinions as to whether nursing from these infected glands may harm the puppies, although it would be wise not to do so.
Treatment includes antibiotics, massage and manual expression of the gland, warm compresses and may also include surgical drainage and flushing


What is Pyometra?

In its simplest terms, pyometra is an infection in the uterus. However, most cases of pyometra are much more difficult to manage than a routine infection.

The clinical signs depend on whether or not the cervix is open. If it is open, pus will drain from the uterus through the vagina to the outside. It is often noted on the skin or hair under the tail or on bedding and furniture where the dog has laid. Fever, lethargy, anorexia, and depression may or may not be present.

If the cervix is closed, pus that forms is not able to drain to the outside. It collects in the uterus causing distention of the abdomen. The bacteria release toxins which are absorbed into circulation These dogs often become severely ill very rapidly. They are anorectic, very listless, and very depressed. Vomiting or diarrhea may be present.

Toxins from the bacteria affect the kidney’s ability to retain fluid. Increased urine production occurs, and the dog drinks an excess of water. This occurs in both open- and closed-cervix pyometra.


Sharpei Should You Breed or Castrate/Spay ?

Your female's reproductive system makes her vulnerable to serious health problems that can shorten her lifespan?   

Your male's reproductive system causes hormonal surges that can drive him to ignore your commands, to lift his leg on your belongings, to escape from your yard, to pick a fight with other male dogs, and/or to be attacked by other male dogs? Also 'Castration' saves your dog from Prostrate Cancer...

Sharpei Canine Brucellosis

Canine Brucellosis is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause infertility and bone infections in both males and females. Testicular atrophy and infections of the prostate gland or tests may also occur in males. The disease may cause repeated spontaneous abortions in females. Determining that a dog is free of brucellosis requires two tests done one month apart. An infected dog may appear to be healthy. Antibiotic therapy is generally ineffective....

Sharpei Torsion Bloat
 Bloat can kill in less than an hour, so time is of the essence.
please get your dog to a veterinarian immediately! ...

Being one of many deep chested breeds, bloat can occur in Shar-Pei. It can also be caused by the way you roll your dog during play, etc, bloat and torsion occur when the stomach swells with gas and then twists and cuts off its blood supply. Without rapid surgical intervention the condition is fatal. This is a very serious medical emergency situation and the dog must see a vet urgently...

Sharpei Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Often complicated by food allergies and or Chronic stress Diarrhoea. Usually responds to a strict hypoallergenic diet.

Grapes, Raisins, Onions = Rapid Kidney Failure!

If your dog has ingested large quantities of raisins or grapes, he/she will immediately begin to vomit repeatedly, and will become extremely hyperactive and jittery.  After about 24 hours, the dog will become lethargic and depressed.  He/She may experience abdominal pain and may stop urinating, drinking, and/or eating.  He/she will also become dehydrated.  Both his/her vomit and faeces will contain partially digested raisins or grapes.  His/her breathing may become irregular, and he/she will also become hypercalcemic (high calcium concentrations) and hyperphosphosphatemic.

Ultimately, without treatment, the dog will go into renal (kidney) failure, and may die a horrible very painful death.  Of the 10 reported cases, only 5 dogs survived, & these only with early, aggressive, & long-term treatment.

The best cure for an overdose, of course, is prevention.  Because dogs can get hold of raisins or grapes from a variety of sources—the kitchen worktop, an open larder cupboard, the coffee table, vines in a private vineyard, a child’s lunch box, etc.

DOG PROOF YOUR VINEYARDS & REMOVE RAISINS AND GRAPES FROM SHAR-PEI REACH.  Do not feed your Pei raisins/grapes as treats so that you can avoid him/her “getting a taste for them”.  Remember that raisins are even more concentrated (and hence more toxic) than grapes—approximately 4 pounds of grapes equal 1 pound of raisins.  The US Animal Poison Control Centre also warns that any substance in large doses can be toxic.

However, if you suspect your dog has eaten a large amount of raisins or grapes, take your dog to a vet immediately, and in the US have them contact the Animal Poison Control Centre for assistance.  Have your veterinarian initiate decontamination measures, and administer fluids and/or dialysis to assist/restart the dog’s kidneys.   Be aware that initially your veterinarian may suspect rat poison as the above symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of rat poison.

The US Animal Poison Control Centre is still unable to determine the cause of renal (kidney) failure.  Possibilities include 1) an agent in grapes and raisins themselves; 2) fungicides, herbicides, or pesticides contamination; 3) heavy metals; 4) high amounts of Vitamin D; or 5) fungus or mold contamination.

Everybody knows about (the dangers of) chocolate, Nobody knows about raisins or grapes or onions!

Information on raisin and grape toxicity is still very new; therefore, your veterinarian and fellow dog owners may not yet be aware of the danger.   Please pass on this information to every dog owner, veterinarian, rescue group, breeder, newsletter, and pet food store you can...

Sharpei Intestinal Malabsorption

This is a disease where the intestinal tract does not absorb nutrients properly. Also known as protein- losing enteropathy as a consequence of inflamatory bowel disease. In Irish setters there is also a wheat-sensitive enteropathy.


Sharpei Cancer

In regard to cancer, there are several forms in the breed, the most common being mast cell cancer. It is called this because it arises from the mast cells, whose function is not entirely known  but it has a role in allergic and inflammatory reactions.  These cells typically are located in connective tissues and release, as a part of their normal function, chemicals that assist the body in inflammatory and immune responses. cancer in dogs follows a similar course to that in humans.

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome/Senility/Dementia/Old Age Syndrome

Early signs of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome: pacing, crying, barking without apparent reason, loss of appetite, repeated attempts to get into small spaces, getting stuck in small spaces, diminishing interaction with family members, lack of recognition of family members, turning away from previously “favourite” family members, loss of house-training, sudden fascination with mirrors and staring into them, appearing hypnotized, appearing “lost.” In the initial stages, the dog will have good days and bad days. Not all vets recognize the condition, attributing the symptoms to “old age.” However, old age is not treatable and cognitive dysfunction syndrome can be.

Anipryl is a drug that can help a dog with cognitive dysfunction, although it does not help all dogs. It takes between 4 and 8 weeks to work. It is an expensive drug under its brand name, but there is a generic equivalent to the human form of the drug (Eldepryl): selegiline hydrochloride. Check with your vet to see if the generic form is acceptable. It is cheaper and can be purchased at any pharmacy with a prescription....

What Is CDS ? How Common Is CDS ?
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is the age related deterioration of cognitive abilities characterized by behavioural changes in dogs that cannot be wholly attributed to general medical conditions such as neoplasia (cancer), infection or organ failure.  CDS is often referred to ads "old dog syndrome" or "senility", and is manifested by one or more of the signs listed in Table #1.

CDS is not "normal aging".  A number of pathophysiological changes are suspected to play a role in its development.   These include:
* deposition of amyloid plaques in the cerebral cortex and hippocampal part of the brain
* alterations in neurotransmitters, including dopamine
* increased levels of monoamine oxidase B (MAOB) in the brain
* increased levels of free radicals

The progressive, degenerative course of canine CDS involves a gradual decline of cognitive abilities sufficient to produce functional disability in the home and/or as a family member.

A 1998 market research study indicated that 48% of dogs 8 years of age and older exhibited at least one clinical sign associated with CDS.  Meanwhile, in an ongoing prevalence study being conducted at the University of California at Davis, 62% of 11 to 16 year old dogs scored positively for one or more behavioural categories indicative of CDS.

How is CDS Diagnosed ?

The first step in diagnosing CDS is recognition of signs, frequently observed first by the pet owner.  Next the veterinarian should conduct a thorough behavioral and medical history, followed by a complete physical and neurological examination.  These can be supplemented, as appropriate, with diagnostic laboratory tests to identify other unrelated medical conditions that may be contributing to clinical signs