When your Chinese Shar Pei gets sick, it's a gut-wrenching time of waiting and wondering. No doubt, ensuring that your Shar Pei is healthy will make it less prone to illnesses, but there is often no amount of the care in the world that will prevent certain breed-specific health issues. As the owner of a Chinese Shar Pei, you will likely have to deal with 'Shar Pei fever', or 'Swollen Hock Syndrome' (SHS) as it is often called, at some point or other. SHS is a fever disorder that appears periodically in young Shar Peis, but it decreases in frequency as the pup reaches adulthood.
To determine if your dog's illness is indeed Shar Pei fever, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
Swollen hock joint, other swollen joints
Unwillingness to move, but when it does, there is a noticeable limp
Swollen and pained muzzle
Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea
Shortness of breath
If your Shar Pei has at least two of the above symptoms in addition to a fever of 103 degrees or more, immediately take it to the vet. One of the suspected causes of Shar Pei fever is stress. Since the fever typically occurs in Shar Pei under 2 years old, it is likely that improper socialization has contributed to your dog's stress levels. You can limit the occurrence of Shar Pei fever by helping your Shar Pei reduce stress.
The good news about Shar Pei fever is that it usually goes away in about 36 hours without treatment. If you're too impatient to wait for the fever to subside on its own, take your Shar Pei to the vet, who can prescribe medication to lessen the symptoms and return your dog's breathing to normal. Your vet may even recommend adult aspirin to reduce your Shar Pei's fever. Make sure you follow the doctor's orders as closely as possible. Many believe that Shar Pei fever is caused by the pup's inability to regulate the immune system, which is why it's imperative that you monitor your Shar Pei's diet.
The bad news is that dogs with Shar Pei fever are at risk of developing another disorder, Amylodiosis, which often results in death. However, not all dogs with Shar Pei fever die from Amyloidosis; many do grow out of the bouts of fever and go on to live long, healthy lives. But if your Shar Pei does develop Amyloidosis, you should expect death to occur sometime between three and five years old.
There is no "cure" for Shar Pei fever, but it goes away on its own without treatment. However, it is still highly recommended that you seek the advice of a veterinarian immediately after you discover that your Shar Pei has been stricken with a fever.