The shar pei dog is physically strong and lives an average of ten years and is not plagued by too many health concerns, as long as he comes from a strong line and is not inbred.  However, like all dogs, there are certain diseases and ailments that sharpeis are more susceptible too.  Since this is the case, if you are an owner of one of these charming pooches or are thinking of owning one, you need to be aware of what problems can affect the breed.

While a shar pei dog can be prone to several diseases, the following are common concerns:

Swollen Hock Syndrome (SHS) – Also known as Familial Shar Pei Fever and Amyloidosis, this is a frequent health issues that affects this pooch.  It occurs when the body cannot breakdown and eliminate amyloid proteins.  This causes the proteins to accumulate and take over the liver and kidneys.  It can be characterized by lethargy, a decrease in appetite, fever, tenderness, pain and swelling in the muzzle, stiff or swollen legs, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

SHS is usually diagnosed when the pup is between the ages of 4 and 18 months, but can be found at any age.  While there is no cure for the disease, it can be controlled through a low protein diet.  You should also be aware that, though not always the case, it can be fatal and death tends to occur between 3 and 5 years of age.

Entropion – This shar pei dog issue effects the eye.  It is when the eyelid folds in towards the eyeball and rubs against the cornea, causing it to irritate its sensitive structure.  The result of this irritation can lead to watery eyes, infection and cornea ulcer.  Though each of these conditions can be treated with antibiotics, sometimes surgery is necessary.

Elbow and Hip Dysplasia – Both are painful conditions and occur when the affected joint does not properly fit in its socket.  This can make it difficult for the canine to run or walk.  Some dogs are only mildly affected with little discomfort while others experience so much suffering they need to be put down.  A pooch with this condition will likely have trouble running and will be particularly protective of their hips and elbows.  For the best treatment options, speak to your vet.

Other shar pei dog health problems to watch for include:

•    Cherry eye (protrusion of the third eyelid)
•     Hypothyroidism (Malfunctioning thyroid gland)
•    Patellar luxation (Knee slips out of a socket)

Since many shar pei dog physical ailments are hereditary and/or the result of poor breeding, you can actually obtain a hearty and healthy pet by making certain the breeder you choose has done everything they can to ensure all genetic diseases and illnesses have been avoided through careful breeding.  This includes guaranteeing the sire and dam of the litter have both been cleared of hip dysplasia through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.