Care of your Shar-pei

Tianshan Funky Red Roller
Tianshan Funky Red Roller

EARS. The ears of a shar-pei are small, so it is imperative that they are checked on a weekly basis so that any sign of infection can be picked up At the earliest opportunity.

If you look after their ears you should not get a problem but you need to keep on top of them, i make my own ear cleaner/drop.

Mullein Ear drops,
apply several drops of the warmed oil into the ear canal wipe ear with cotton wool ball, you can use a cotton bud to clean around the knobbly bits, but do not poke down the ear,  or you can just put the oil on cotton wool balls & wipe ears out for just routine cleaning.
Ingredients light olive oil, Mullein leaves & flowers, Garlic cloves,
place all in large jar & leave in a dark warm place for a month or so, drain oil through a sieve & put in to bottles, now it's ready to use.   
Mullein Ear drops,
apply several drops of the warmed oil into the ear canal wipe ear with cotton wool ball, you can use a cotton bud to clean around the knobbly bits, but do not poke down the ear,  or you can just put the oil on cotton wool balls & wipe ears out for just routine cleaning.
Ingredients light olive oil, Mullein leaves & flowers, Garlic cloves,
place all in large jar & leave in a dark warm place for a month or so, drain oil through a sieve & put in to bottles, now it's ready to use.   

If you do notice a smell coming from the ears or they are red & swollen wet & the dog is shaking there heads like mad, IT IS IN PAIN, SO PLEASE TAKE IT TO THE VET, ASAP, you will need proper ear drops.

The pet shop will not have what you need, sorry.

If you just leave them to scratch this will increase swelling & narrowing of the ear canal, which then make it very hard to treat.

My tip is if you ever have to put drops in your dogs ears, do it for a few day’s longer then the vet tells to too, (an over kill) just to make sure you clear the infection right down at the bottom of the ear canal, as they tend to kick of again in a few weeks if you don’t.

Always keep your dogs ears clean, use cleansers designed to retard yeast & bacterial overgrowth.

I like to use Cider apple vinegar 50/50 with warm water, cotton wool ball damp it & wipe the muck out, & use a cotton bud to remove loose hairs which can block the ear canal, But do not poke down to far,

Live/ Bio yoghurt is also very good for ear cleaning.

Keep a close eye on the ears when moulting all that lose hair going down their ears can cause havoc.

Eyes, whilst teething, moulting or when a bitch is in season there is a chance that your shar-pei;s eyes may blink or water slightly, they can water also if an infection is present in the ears, or they have become stressed.

You can try golden eye drops or optrex eye drops to flush out the eyes just in case there is any dust or debris. You can then try golden / optrex with chlorampheniol Antibiotic 1% eye ointment, (you can get it over the counter,( but do not say its for the dog) This works well, but you have to pull the eye open & put the ointment right around the eye ball, this will lubricate & protect the eye ball until you can get to a vet, or if you are lucky it may right its self.

There is a condition called entropion, rolling in of the eyelids.

Please call the breeder so they can suggest a shar-pei friendly vet.

Please do not leave any dog with sore eyes it is very painful & you must act quickly.

 COATS.   Shar-pei are very good for not moulting all the time, just once or twice a year, but do not drop their coats  in-between, but some can have very patchy moults they can look a bit moth eaten.

I find it best to get the coat out, as they just scratch it out & make a right mess, I use a furminator which does the job very well,  (but do not press to hard ) This is the time when you do need to bath using a good soap / shampoo, go for ones with out SLS paraben free such as Aloe Vera, Tea tree, Neem. Always give a final rinse of a big jug of 50/50 Cider apple Vinegar & warm water, You can give a rub down with this in- between baths, it helps to stop them inching, plus it keep all parasites away.

If your dog is a foot licker & chewer try washing them in a good mouth wash like Listerine.

some products I have found good. 
Wash bedding once a week, feed lots of garlic in the summer, always use herbal products. Never use strong chemicals, such as the Spot On for fleas or any other Spot On or pills for parasite. Shar-pei can be very allergic to such things, always ask the breeder first if not sure. Aloe Vera gel, tea oil, neem oil is very good for sore & dry skin, if they have had a good scratch this is what I would rub on it. If your dog gets a hot spot try putting Listerine mouthwash on it using a cotton wool ball.

See the feeding page on how to feed for a good coat.

Teeth. There should be no need to clean teeth, all you need to do is feed your dog a raw meaty bone every week. (Never feed cooked bones)

If you have more then 1 dog it is best to separate them as they may fight over bones.   Teeth cleaning at the vet is very expensive, plus do  you want to put your dog through the unnecessary risk of anaesthetic?

Vaccination. I prefer to use homeopathy to help build up the immunity as I have experienced severe side effects following vaccination at the vets.  go to
Arriving home. Whilst I appreciate that you & your family will be tempted to play with your new puppy as soon as you arrive home you must bear in mind that moving to a new home is a huge change, a car journey will be tiring in it self, take things quietly, not over fussing, give time to settle in before introducing your baby to friends & neighbours.

Do not let very young children pick up the puppy & let the puppy sleep when it wants to, ( its only a baby, you must remember this).

EXERCISE & PLAY. Do not let your puppy jump on & off the furniture or run up & down the stairs as this can damage the bones of a developing puppy. Exercise must be kept to a minimum; very short walks or time in the garden will be sufficient. Walks can get longer with age.

Framilial Shar-Pei Fever (FSF) is a periodic fever syndrome that is characterized by random inflammatory events with high fever, sometimes with swelling about joint/s or face, that usually last 12-36 hrs. FSF is an autoinflammatory syndrome (not autoimmune). The underlying genetic defect appears to cause inappropriate inflammatory responses to danger signals recognized by the innate immune'system and chronic elevations of inflammatory chemical messengers in the bloodstream. This comp|ex disorder may involve multiple interactive genetic mutations. Shar-Pei may have abnormal initiation and also amplification of inflammation.

Amyloidosis is a disease caused by abnormal deposition of the breakdown products of chronic inflammation in the extracellular matrix (between cells). The severity of disease and risk for amyloidosis will vary with the amount of inflammation initiated and the autoinflammatory over-reaction. The chronic background inflammation puts' affected dogs at risk for developing reactive systemic amyloidosis which can lead to early death from kidney failure.

Not every dog with FSF will develop amyloidosis but the fevers are a warning sign that they have aberrant autoinflammation and are at high risk tor kidney disease. Shar-Pei with FSF can live to over 10 yrs of age. Two of my mother's Shar-Pei lived to 12 1/2and 15 1/2years respectively with lifelong FSF. By doing everything you can to reduce their chronic inflammation and monitor their disease, you can help them live their best possible lives - however long that may be. Unfortunately, a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental influences may lead to early death from kidney or, more rarely, liver failure due to amyloidosis in some individuals.

Your veterinarian will usually make the diagnosis of Shar-Pei Fever after ruling out other causes of fever with diagnostic tests indicated by your dog's condition but a minimum oaseline of first morning urinalysis, CBC, chemistry profile, T4, +/- panel for tick-borne diseases is common. Other tests, including those for autoimmune disorders, may be needed. It is a diagnosis by exclusion at this time. I am collaborating with Dr. Kerstih Lindblad-Toh and Mia Olsson on a genetic test that is currently in development and undergoing validation studies at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Uppsala University in Sweden. I am also very grateful for the many years of support and assistance of Drs. Dan Kastner, Elaine Remmers. Francesca Puppo and the team at the NIH-NIAMS in discovering why Shar-Pei suffer from this fever disorder. The current research Is very much an international team effort.

Because fever events are a marker for the presence of autoinflammatory disease, therapv should be started early to prevent complications. Some dogs have only one observed fever event yet die prematurely from amyloidosis - the number and frequency of fever events does not correlate with the severity of underlying chronic inflammation. In rare instances, dogs may die of amyloidosis without any observed fever events or mav have their first fever after going into kidney failure.

My current treatment recommendations for Shar-Pei Fever include 0.025-0.03 mg/kg of colchicine twice daily or less to bowel tolerance. I recommend that the dog be started on a low dose once daily and then gradually increased to the maximum recommended amount (up to the calculated dose above) as tolerated without diarrhea once or twice daily. For most average weight Shar-Pei, this is one 0.6 mg tablet given twice dairy. Colchicine is a potent drug but it accumulates in white blood cells (the desired target for treatment) and Cl signs occur long before other serious side-effects.

I have never seen evidence of an)' damage from colchicine except for a transient, treatable diarrhea that goes away when the drug is withdrawn in sensitive patients. Colchicine treats the underlying pathology by blocking the movement of neutrophils (one ol the white blood cells), decreasing levels of cytokines (the messengers of inflammation) and blocking the formation of amyloid protein (a waste by-product of inflammation). In humans, it has proven to be safe in infants, pregnant women and when given lifelong. Treatment is for life. I have been using the drug since 1993 and have had individual patients on the drug safely for over 10 yrs. Some dogs cannot tolerate colchicine without chronic diarrhea and they are given smaller amounts or none if it is severe. Colchicine and cydosporine (Atopica®) should not be given together because ot increased risk of bone marrow suppression.

I treat the fever events with 50% dipyrone (500mg/ml) injedable i usually 0.5-1.0 ml/dog under the skin), or meloxicam (Metacam®), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID (by weight per package insert instructions). Dipyrone is an IL-1 beta inhibitor available from compounding pharmacists. Aspirin has also been reported to be effective. Some fevers are very serious and can require emergency veterinary treatment if they approach or exceed 106 degrees F(4rQ. You will need to discuss treatment with vour veterinarian because treating the fever as early as possible in the inflammatory cascade can often stop it from becoming life-threatening and it is best to have medication available on-hand at home. Avoid giving NSAIDs with corticosteroids like prednisone and alert your veterinarian if your dog is vomiting because gastric ulcers can be a common complication.

Use caution with ice packs or baths: external cooling efforts should be reserved only for those dogs with fevers approaching 106 degrees while en route to a veterinarian. Unless the dog's internal thermostat is reset with medication, the dog's body will simplv work harder to keep the fever up and may prolong the fever event. An ice pack wrapped in a damp towel that is placed in the groin area will help cool the patient en route to emergency care.

Some fever events may be initiated by infection. It the fever is severe, persistent and/or poorly responsive to anti-fever drugs like dipyrone, aspirin or NSAIDs, there may be an underlying infection that needs treatment. Veterinary care should be sought whenever the fever is severe, worse than'usual for that dog, lasts longer than 48 hrs or is not responding to anti-inflammatory medication. In rare instances, a neutrophilic vasculitis and/or septic shock-like syndrome with skin sloughing can occur. The  

latter is often associated with bacterial hyaluronidases that break down the abundant mucin in Shar-Pei skin.

Your Shar-Pei should get regular and routine monitoring of first morning urine with urinalysis (UA) as well as a CBC, blood chemistry profile and T4. 'Urine Specific Gravity at or below 1.020 is'often the first sign of Shar-Pei kidney trouble and, if present, the UA should be repeated to see if the dog has a consistently low specific gravity. Medullary amvloidosis is the most common kidney disorder in Shar-Pei and proteinuria is usually a late-stage event, Urine protein levels should also be monitored and a urine protein to creatinine ratio performed if proteinuria is found on routine UA. FSF patients should be examined and tests performed whenever they are not eating normally, if they are vomiting, having diarrhea for more than a few day's, acting sick in any way or it they are just "not right". The bare minimum is annually in the healthy active young dog and many dogs should be checked more often.

Hyaluronosis: Shar-Pei overexpress Hyaluronan Synthase 2 (HAS2) and excess hyaluronan (HA) leads to their unique skin thickening and wrinkles. Excess cutaneous mucin may form vesicles or bubbles in the fragile skin. Hyaluronan health is integral to Shar-Pei health. Damaged'or degraded low molecular weight hyaluronan is a danger associated molecular pattern that can activate the innate immune system.

Corticosteroids (for example medications like prednisone or dexamethasone) or cortisol produced by the dogs body during stress (this may happen during a high fever or when ill) can shut down the production of hyaluronan by HAS2. These steroids may shrink the Shar-Pei's muzzle and they may lose wrinkles. Very low dose prednisone is sometimes used for this reason to treat severe vesicular cutaneous mucinosis (bubbles of mucin in skin) or lymphedema of the hocks (chronic swelling due to fluid buildup).' A Shar-Pei that has a suddenly shrunken muzzle for no apparent reason should get a full physical exam and lab tests.

Addressing Hyaluronosis (the downside to Shar-Pei Wrinkles):

High Quality diet low in simple carbohydrates: grain-free or containing small amounts of whole healthy fresh grains (not corn) if possible. Pasture-fed meat source is preferable if money is no object (grain-fed meat has a high ratio ot omega 6 to omega 3 fats and is lower in antioxidants and conjugated linoleic ado). Shift the arachidonic acid pathway away from the pro-intlammatory end-products.

High dose omega 3 fatty' acids daily. Again, to shift arachidonic acid path to anti-inflammatory end-products but also for its resolvins and other inflammation-resolving mechanisms at high doses. (900-1800mg EPA, 450-900mg DMA/day - source is important to ensure no rancidity or contaminants).

Lecithin: 1-2 tbl/day in food. To alter the choline composition of the "hyaluronasome" in plasma membrane lipid rafts: may impact how HA fragments are internalized for further degradation.

HyVitality™: contains magnesium, methylcobalamin, antioxidant and many other HA health promoting effects. Magnesium is integral to stabilizing HA in its high molecular form and magnesium deficiency is a very common finding in the breed. Severe cobalamin (Vitamin B12) deficiency is also common in Shar-Pei. HyVitality is a formulation of my recommended vitamins! minerals, antioxidants and

phytochemicals. It had proved difficult for clients to purchase the correct canine dosages using OTC human supplement products and working witn a trusted manufacturer has allowed me to be assured of purity and quality. (Average Shar-Pei dose contains 50-80mg Alpha iipoic Acid,' 200mg Boswellia Serrata, 60mg Coenzyme Q10,200me Curcumin, 450mg Diosmin, 100-200mg Magnesium citrate, 1000 meg Methylcobalamin, 50mg trans-Resveratrol, 25mcg Vitamin K2). Available through my office at 845-888-4884. HyVitality is dosed by weight.

500 mg Vitamin C. Shar-Pei with excess HA have a high need for antioxidants. Also, 1 suspect that Shar-Pei do not synthesize adequate Vitamin C because of competition with HA for substrate (both formed by glucuronidation).

Ensure Adequate Vitamin D3. Active Vitamin D modulates the over-active toll like receptors in inflammatory disease, returning them to a more normal functionality. Shar-Pei on home-cooked diets or who are fed commercial diets and supplemented more than 10% of their calories with "extras* or who have active inflammation may have additional or increased need for Vitamin D3. Need for Vitamin D3 in dogs has been estimated to be 50-475 IU per 10 Ibs of body weight per day. Most dogs on commercial diets get at least this in their diets but more may be needed if a dog is not on a commercial balanced dog food, has severe allergies, arthritis or chronic inflammation.

Treat any signs of secondary hypothyroidism with thyroid supplementation. Common Signs: sparse coat on caudal/medial thighs and perineum along witn a brittle, lighter coat. I think that HA fragments down-regulate TSH releasing hormone via TLR2 binding, leading to clinical hypothyroidism characterized by low orlow normal TSH and vetv low to low normal T3/T4 and am studying this in Shar-Pei now. Response to therapy will be softer, thicker, and richer colored fur with hair re-growth, especially on hindquarters, and improved overall activity if the dog is functionally nypothvroid Monitor to keep T4 below 4.

Probiotics and attention to bowel heaBi. Skin and bowel are the immune system's biggest barriers and thev are both HA rich areas. Some cases of FSF flare-ups and 'moeased frequency of fever events have responded to treatment directed to eliminating over-growth of pathogenic Gl bacteria in IBD patients or stress cojitis. (Metronidazole, tylosin powder or endloxacin are usually elective.)

Fanatical attention to skin and ear issues. Bathing bv shampoo or washcloth tmicrofiber dust cloths are best' wipe-downs as needed - up to daily when skin inflamed and at least everv 2 wks in a "healthy" Shar-Pei. Remove superficial veast, bacteria (potential sources of hyaluronidases) and allergens like pollens, molds, dust. At least weekly ear cleaning/flush unless the Shar-Pei has a large open healthy ear canal.

Low close 81 mg aspirin: !4 - Vi tablet per day in dogs with no signs of gastric upset. Platelet derived growth factor might be an important mediator in their disease and aspirin also decreases risk of thrombpembolic events. Be cautious as the breed has an increased risk for Gl ulceration.

Eliminating inflammatory triggers, supporting healthy hyaluronan, reducing silent chronic inflammation wherever possible, providing good nourishment and playful daily exercise are key too. By Dr Linda Tintle Shar-Pei Expert

Managing Shar-Pei Autoinflammation & Hyaluronosis: Point #6

6. Ensure Adequate Vitamin D3.

Active Vitamin D modulates the over-active toll like receptors (TLRs) in inflammatory disease, returning them to a more normal functionality. Hyaluronan fragments bind to TLRs to activate the pro-inflammatory cascade. Activation of the Vitamin D receptor inhibits maturation and causes death of mast cell precursors and can help inhibit allergic inflammatory responses.

A study out of Tufts’ University showed that as many as 75% of dogs were insufficient or deficient in Vitamin D. Dogs on home-cooked diets had the lowest value and had the widest variation in their individual levels but dogs on commercial dog food were also very likely to have insufficient Vitamin D levels.

Supplementation may be needed if a dog is on a home-cooked diet without added dietary sources of Vitamin D, or who has severe allergies, arthritis or chronic inflammation.

Dog do not convert cholesterol into Vitamin D in the skin with sun exposure the way people do and require dietary sources. These include liver, other organ meats, fat from pastured ruminants, salmon oil, and cod liver oil.

Discuss baseline testing with your veterinarian if you are concerned that your dog may need supplementation. Maintenance need for Vitamin D3 in dogs has been estimated to be 50-475 IU per 10 lbs of body weight per day but more will be required to restore dogs insufficient or deficient to sufficient levels.

Vitamin D supplementation is best given in the morning with a fatty meal (along with some fatty meat or fish, cheese, butter or coconut oil, not a piece of bread or some plain kibble).

HyVitality contains Vitamin K2 and magnesium, necessary co-factors for proper Vitamin D3 absorption.

Excessive Vitamin D can lead to toxicity but is very uncommon unless due to rodenticide poisoning and massive overdose. Nevertheless, caution is advised when supplementing with Vitamin D.

Linda Tintle DVM - Oct 31, 2015