Skip to content

Shar Pei Health Problems – 10 Most Common Health Issues

The Shar Pei breed, originating from China, possesses several distinguishing features that make them special. Their loose, wrinkled skin and “hippopotamus” face are some of their most recognizable traits. However, these features also contribute to some of their health vulnerabilities. Shar Peis are prone to skin issues due to their excessive skin folds, making proper hygiene and grooming vital. Additionally, their unique facial structure can lead to entropion, a condition where the eyelids roll inward, potentially causing eye irritation and damage. To ensure the best possible health for your Shar Pei, consistent veterinary care, a balanced diet and a safe environment are paramount.

10 Most Common Health Problems & Issues in Shar Peis

1. Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia, a hereditary condition, occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to pain and limited mobility.

  • Symptoms: Dogs with hip dysplasia may exhibit difficulty standing up, lameness and reluctance to exercise.
  • Causes: Genetics and environmental factors play a role, with rapid growth and obesity increasing the risk.
  • Treatment: Management often involves weight control, physical therapy and sometimes surgical intervention.
2. Entropion

Entropion is a condition where the eyelids roll inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea, resulting in irritation and potential damage.

  • Symptoms: Excessive tearing, squinting and redness in the eye are common signs.
  • Causes: Genetic factors contribute to the occurrence of entropion.
  • Treatment: Surgical correction is the standard treatment, ensuring the eyelids are properly positioned to prevent further discomfort.
3. Skin Fold Infections

The excess skin folds on Shar Peis can trap moisture and bacteria, leading to skin fold infections.

  • Symptoms: Redness, odor and discomfort in the affected areas are common indicators.
  • Causes: Poor cleaning practices and inadequate drying of skin folds contribute to these infections.
  • Treatment: Preventive measures involve regular cleaning, drying and using medicated shampoos. Infections may require antibiotics.
4. Pyoderma

Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that causes pustules, inflammation and discomfort.

  • Symptoms: Dogs may develop pus-filled bumps, itching and hair loss.
  • Causes: Poor hygiene, allergies and immune system issues increase the likelihood of pyoderma.
  • Treatment: Treatment includes antibiotics, medicated shampoos and addressing underlying causes like allergies.
5. Familial Shar Pei Fever (FSF)

FSF is a genetic disorder causing recurrent fever episodes and inflammation of organs.

  • Symptoms: Dogs experience fever, joint pain and lethargy during episodes.
  • Causes: A genetic mutation affects the immune response, leading to FSF.
  • Treatment: Management focuses on symptomatic relief and supportive care during fever episodes.
6. Amyloidosis

Amyloidosis is characterized by the buildup of abnormal proteins that damage organs, particularly the kidneys.

  • Symptoms: Kidney issues, protein in urine and lethargy are common signs.
  • Causes: Genetic predisposition plays a significant role in the development of amyloidosis.
  • Treatment: Treatment involves managing kidney function and providing supportive care.
7. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces insufficient hormones, affecting metabolism.

  • Symptoms: Weight gain, lethargy and hair loss are often observed.
  • Causes: Autoimmune disorders are common causes of hypothyroidism.
  • Treatment: Thyroid hormone supplementation is the standard treatment.
8. Allergies

Shar Peis are susceptible to allergies triggered by environmental factors or specific foods.

  • Symptoms: Itching, skin irritation and ear infections can result from allergies.
  • Causes: Genetic predisposition and environmental triggers contribute to allergy development.
  • Treatment: Identifying and avoiding triggers, along with medications to manage symptoms, are crucial for managing allergies.
9. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is characterized by increased pressure within the eye, leading to optic nerve damage and vision loss.

  • Symptoms: Redness, pain and gradual vision loss are common indicators.
  • Causes: Genetic factors and age play a role in glaucoma development.
  • Treatment: Management includes medications and surgery to relieve intraocular pressure.
10. Cancer

Shar Peis are susceptible to various forms of cancer, including mast cell tumors.

  • Symptoms: Lumps, changes in behavior and weight loss may indicate cancer.
  • Causes: Genetic predisposition and environmental factors contribute to cancer development.
  • Treatment: Treatment approaches include surgical removal, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Precautions & Preventative Measures

Maintaining a healthy Shar Pei requires dedication and responsible practices. Regular exercise is essential to prevent obesity and related health issues, given their susceptibility to joint problems. Consistent grooming, especially in skin fold areas, helps prevent infections and skin problems. A high-quality, well-balanced diet that caters to their nutritional needs promotes overall well-being.

What do Shar Peis Usually Die From?

Shar Peis often succumb to various health problems, including cancer, kidney failure and heart-related conditions. Genetic predispositions and breed-specific vulnerabilities play a role in their susceptibility to these diseases.

Shar Pei Health Problems – 10 Most Common Health Issues in Chinese Shar Peis