** Disclaimer Please Note
I am not a Vet nor have formal veterinary training. I am
a breed enthusiast, with over 20 years extensive experience in this breed,
having anywhere from10 -20 Shar-Pei in residence though out these years. I
have myself, spent many thousands of dollars on veterinary help on most if
not all of the various issues I have written about here. In addition I have worked
in a Veterinary Clinic, research and studied many veterinary books
and attended University lectures and seminars on small animal care and
management over the years. I own and operate a successful commerical
boarding kennel and grooming salon where I am also the main groomer.
The following information is only from my own experiences and is not intended in
any way to be used as veterinary advice. The information below is widely
known in breeder circles and is as such, is only being futher disseminated. Always
seek the advice of a veterinarian if you believe your pet is in need of such
Probably one of the most frustrating problems to deal with is the variety
skin conditions which plague the Shar-Pei. Some of these conditions are
hereditary and will be chronic such as allergies or thyroid problems.
Other conditions are environmental or diet related. Yet some skin
conditions are transitory and will resolve as the dog approaches adulthood.
Some conditions will be reoccuring, from hormonal or enviromental seasonal
changes and whether you spend thousands of dollars or nothing at all, will
eventually spontaneously resolve themselves all the same on their own.
The TRUTH about MANGE...
Sometime during your pups ADOLESCENCE your perfect puppy may start
to blow coat and after running him to the Vet to "fix him" your Vet will start
him on an expensive medical protocol in an attempt to put him back into
perfect coat again..This is not necessary in most cases.
Juvenile MANGE is related to stress and maturity..just as if your teenage son
or daughter might go though "teenage pimples" Its something most teenagers
will grow out of and nothing you can do will change that fact until the child
outgrows it..There is not going be a magic bullet cure..Time in most cases
will cure the problem..spending $1000's of dollars is not necessary and a
waste of time and effort..most Shar-Pei will OUTGROW their problem when
they finally get past adolescence and into maturity..Ofcourse if the problem
becomes more serious, there is medical protocol to follow..but try to wait it
out or at least not try to "fix it" overnite..Most mange problems will resolve
itself PERMANENTLY once the dog passes one year of age or no later than
14 months. I have rarely seen Pei's plagued by demodetic mange after a year.
Goodwinol ointment might just be the product to use and is very inexpensive.
Since you are not using something to saturate the entire dog, I would
recommend it for a few localized spots. This product is available though most
catalog mail order company's. Most have web sites now for ease of ordering.
Many Vets will advise that a dog not be breed if there has been any
mange. A few spots in a juvenile demodectic mange occurring in adolescence
DOES NOT WARRANT this admonition. Its outdated Vet School rhetoric
which causes breeders so many problems with Vets. Often Vets do not like
this breed nor have not taken the time to research or learn about the breed
quirkiness and are simply not able to do anymore than quote from their Vet
school books about conditions. The Shar-Pei is an unusual breed with
different criteria than other breeds and this must be taken into account. A self
limiting case of mange during adolescence so long as it does not reappear
after adulthood should not be considered a serious problem. Mange in other
breeds is often a life long problem. In this breed chronic mange happens
much rarer than one would think.
Too often Vets who do not see enough Shar-Pei in their practices will
not know how to manage the demodetic mange in young Shar-Pei and will
run up unnecessary costs for the owner.
Shar-Pei, a sensitive breed, often reacts to stress visibly though
coat, skin and even eyes. Stress, whether it is from maturity or going to live in a new
home or environment, plays a distinct part in the relationship of a health in our breed.
Because so few Shar-Pei comprise the "foundation" stock of the breed
70's, virtually every Shar-Pei in America today is related. The close
bloodlines are the basis of most of the Shar-Pei's problems.Unfortunately,
it is virtually possible to tell which pups in a litter at 8 weeks will
be the affected ones as they grow up.
In the early days, when the breed arrived from Hong Kong, breeders saw
these lovely wrinkled puppies and tried to reproduce that look in the adults.
So for many of the early years, breeders were breeding adult dogs with many
wrinkles to attempt to keep that look.
What was NOT known then as IS known now is that excessive wrinkling
adults is caused by a serious thyroid condition and results in chronic health
problems. They were breeding unhealthy dogs in trying to maintain the
LOOK people thought the breed should have and this is when our breed
received the bad reputation of having serious health and skin conditions.
Still hardly a day goes by I don't hear from a perspective new
the most potentially wrinkled puppy from the most wrinkled adults they
can find..I cringe and try to tell them ...NO THEY DON'T! As adults, Shar-
Pei are NOT suppose to have wrinkling all over their body. This breed is a
HEAD breed. A nice looking head gives the dog a beautiful look, it's not the
wrinkles. If a person is stubborn in wanting adult wrinkling, then they must also
accept the chronic health problems and awful odor which goes along with that look!
Of course we now know its not appropriate to breed any Shar-Pei with
chronic skin or eye problems. If either of the parents have chronic skin
conditions or had eye surgery, then it is safe to assume that some if not all of
the pups will suffer from similar problems. If even one of the parents have
recurrent problems and the other does not, some of the pups will be affected.
Sometimes the parents appear fine, but the resultant breeding
can bring forth
problems from the past. This is particularly difficult for breeders guard
against. If a recent ancestor, grandparent or great grandparent had problems,
it can easily pass down through the genes. The 3 generations directly behind
the dog, will have the strongest impact on the physical characteristics and health.
To make matters more confusing, when one is searching for a healthy
most Shar-Pei mothers will "blow their coat" ( again due to the stress of whelping
and nursing) and look absolutely bald and problematic just about the time her
pups are 8 weeks old. This is not so much of a problem, except it makes it
very hard to determine what the mothers coat is at other times. It is
impossible to know if the mother usually has a good coat. Perhaps asking for
previous photographs of the mother can help you make a decision. Those
mothers with a good coat at the time her pups are 8-10 weeks of age, is a sign
to me that the mothers immune system is healthier than most. However, if the litter
consisted of one or two pups or if the breeder pulled the pups off the mother very
early, then as a result of less stress, the mother may not blow their coat.
Unfortunately, some novice breeders who simply adore their dogs too
choose not to recognize certain conditions as something chronic and hereditary
or are simply not knowledgeable enough about breeding and bloodlines
to know the difference. Often a breeder is not devious, but simply inexperienced
Doing research before buying a puppy as to the condition of the parents and
grandparents can go along way in evaluating whether the puppy you are considering
will be plague with chronic conditions. Look for any unhealthy signs in a young
puppy or the litter and guaranteed it is a forecast of things to come.Thin patchy
coats, red spots and or a greasy feel to the coat should raise a red flag.
In this breed no close relatives should ever be bred together. This
includes, brother to
sister, half brother to half sister, parent to child or any other close combination.
Even if you don't know anything about pedigrees, look to see if there has been
inbreeding or close breeding in the three generations directly behind the puppy being
considered. Line breeding is best left to those with formal education in genetics.
So how can one evaluate some of the commonly found skin conditions and
what can be done about it?
Sometimes evaluating skin problems is much like fixing a car.
You begin by trying
to fix the least complicated and most obvious reason for the problem and
then go on from there.Try one thing at a time and see what works and what
doesn't. Doing everything at once will result in not knowing which one was the
one which solved the problem.
This, along with some basic tests your Vet can do, can go along way in
solving or managing your dogs' problem. So learn to evaluate the condition
of your pets skin and what happens to your dog in specific circumstances.
There are some basic questions you need to ask yourself which will give
much information to your Vet in making determinations. These are as follows:
How old is the dog? Young dogs are much more prone to skin problems
adults. Chronic problems much over the age of one year usually indicate its
going to be a lifelong management problem. .Sudden coat problems in older dogs,
should be evaluated by your Vet.
What kind of food is the dog being given? Most of the time, grocery
diets are simply not enough in quality to support a healthy Shar-Pei coat. This
does not mean that a healthy Shar-Pei should be in a special fish and potato
diet for his entire life. But stay away from grocery store diets, filled with
additives, artificial colors, favors, or with fillers and soy as a main ingredient.
What maintains one Shar-Pei in a perfect coat, may not do anything for
next. The proper balance of Omega 3 and 6 oils are essential in our breed for
a good coat. Multiple meat proteins are beneficial to some, while others may
do better with lamb or one of the special meats. Do your research and hopefully
you will find one agreeable to your dogs requirements.
Additionally, it is good to give your dog cooked green and yellow
with his process kibble. Broccoli, green beans and carrots are some excellent
choices and will help maintain the health of your dog while offering some variety.
What type of environment is the dog kept in? Inside or outside much?..grassy
areas, concrete. or dirt. This breed does best living inside comfortably maintained as
we would consider suitable for us. Keep them out of the grasses, dirt and sand as much as
possible. This is not a breed to live outside and is very effected by weather extremes.
It is important to keep your dog clean with regular bathing. If the dogs paws look irritated
or they chew or fuss with their feet after being outside, wash their feet off with a baby wipe
as soon as they come in.
Do you have wool carpets, new carpets, or have you used any carpet powders
on your floors or rugs. There is a very real problem with toxic chemicals in
new carpets. If problems arises shortly after you install new carpet, then
have it tested. Toxic carpets won't just hurt your pet, but is dangerous to
humans and especially young children. There is plenty of information on the
Web about this. Do your search for "toxic carpets" and you will be very
surprised about what you will discover.
How often is the dog bathe? Usually this breed should not be bathed
once a week unless directed by your Vet. What type of shampoo is used? There
are many type of shampoos which are good, Again its a search for the one or ones
which seem to do best with each particular dog. One of the most important things to
remember when bathing is to rinse the dog free of all residual soap and dry the dog
WELL.. Leaving soap residual on the dog or the skin damp under the coat can lead
to problems.What other kinds of dips, sprays or flea products have been used on or
around the dog? In the environment? If the product information on the package suggest
you use"gloves" to apply it. Then by all means, do not use it on your pet. Don't assume
just because its on the store shelves it is a safe product to use.
I like to use a dandruff shampoo on my Pei such as Head &
Shoulders or Selsun Blue.
Both leave the dog smelling good and helps with the problems of dry flaky skin and
itchiness. Dandruff shampoos for humans stop itching of the scalp and flaky skin problems
Both of these actions are beneficial to our breeds skin and coats. Recently, when speaking
with another Shar-Pei enthusiast, I learned from her, after she spent quite a bit of money
going to a canine skin specialist, he recommended the regular use of a dandruff shampoo!
Follow the bath up with a conditioner unless the skin or hair is already
In this case you would not want to use a conditioner.
There are various shampoos to deal with a myriad of conditions. So you
analyze what condition your dealing with to decide which shampoo is appropriate.
For skin with sores you may want to decide on a peroxide based shampoo
like Oxydex. For bacterial, fungal or yeast problem, try betadine scrub or
For oily skin there are other shampoos with a drying action or for extremely
sensative skin, a hyperallergenic shampoo might be best. Remember to buy only
those products which state they contain no animal by products or harsh chemicals
and were made and tested "cruelty free" Do not support in any way, cruel chemical
testing on defenseless animals. I use a produce called Natures Choice which
abides by a humanity code. Their number is 1-800-925-8984 to find a distributor
Many chronic skin problems are the result of an endocrine or thyroid
imbalances in the breed. It's a wide spread problem, chronic and life long.
Managing it is all one can do.
Where was the dog born and where does it live now? Being born in one
of the country and then relocating to another seems to have an effect on some
Pei's skin. I theorized a certain amount of environmental immunity
is gained in the very early weeks of a puppy's life or transferred from the
mother though the mothers' milk. How this action exactly works or what can
be done to improve on it, I can not tell you. This protection will help fend
off allergic responses when the dog is older. So if a puppy is not exposed to certain
elements of the environments when very young, it seems like the immunity to
some of these elements is not there as an adult. This is simply speculation on
my part, in this case.
Rarely does a very young puppy exhibit any signs of skin
problems. Most of these
begin around the age of 4 months or older. The only early problem I have
seen in puppies is a tendency to staph infections while still in the whelping
box. I now realize that when a litter is infected with staph in the litterbox, the
pups are showing a weakness in their immune response and this may give early
indications of future problems ahead.
How old was the dog when the problem first occurred? Usually chronic
lifelong problems can begin as early as 4 months and in a matter of days go
from bad to worse. Transitory problem begin around the same time however.
Is the problem seasonal? Then allergies to the environment point
cause. Does hair loss coincide with a bitches heat cycle? I have had several
females lose hair or bloom into a beatiful coat in relationship to their cycles,
which means this is directly related to hormones other than thyroid. Making notes
as to when the coat is good and bad in relationship to her heat cycles or seasons
may help you and your Vet identify this problem and manage it.
Does the dog have an awful odor like dirty socks or strong popcorn?
skin oily even shortly after a bath? Does your dog sleep a lot? Shiver easily
when the weather is cool. Then this is probably a thyroid condition. Many
skin problems are related to a thyroid condition. Thyroid problems in this breed
is very wide spread. It can show up at any time in a Pei's lifespan. This often
causes a seborrhea complex as in a greasy feel to the skin and coat not to
mention SMELL, bilateral hair loss,lethargy, sores, dry skin, oil skin and
chronic ear infections just to name a few.
There is much information on the web regarding canine thyroid symptoms
management. For the most current information do a web search for "canine
thyroid".I would venture to say that at least 50% of this breed is experiencing
If you believe your pet may have some of these symptoms then have your
tested by the Vet for "low thyroid". It is a simple relatively inexpensive blood
test. Even if the tests results come back as a "low normal" urge your Vet to try
your dog on medication Your dog will benefit by thyroid medication. Management
of a low thyroid condition should solve many of the coat problems your dog may
be experiencing. Make sure the test includes testing for the T-4 or the results will
You will be surprised how common it is in dogs in general and
many of the problems
your Pei may be experiencing may be symptoms classic to this syndrome. Far too often
Vets will overlook this possibility and will not order the appropriate test.
When your dog is put on thyroid medication, is usually for the rest
of his life.
While it is not an expensive medication, it is essential that the medication is
given 2 times a day, 12 hours apart or you will find little change in your dogs
condition. Perhaps eventually there will be some sort of patch or other
method of introducing thyroid into the dogs system rather than having to rely
on 2 times a day treatment.
Don't hold out much hope for allergy testing. I believe for the most
part it is a waste
time and money. There are several types of allergic conditions, either by inhalent particles
or skin contact. Most dogs which I known to undergo allergy testing and shots have not shown any
improvement. Off the shelf, made for humans, Benedryl is often suggested as the medication for the
treatment of allergic responses as are some of the other hay fever medications for humans. This is
often prescribe by Vets to assist in controlling allergic responses. Any pet which exhibits a
tendency toward allergies should be kept away from commonly known allergens as much as
Does your dog have more hair loss and skin problems in the areas which
contact the ground? Then look to this as a contact allergy possibility. If the skin
around the nose or eyes look puffy, chronic ear infections, then perhaps it is an inhalent reponse.
Eyes, which have never had a prior problem with entropian, can
suddenly slam shut from pollen,
stress, other irritations or allergens. This is referred to as "spastic entropian" and is not the same
as anatomic entropian.
Below is directly taken out of Kirks Current Veterinary Theraphy Book, copywrite, 1992.
one of the medical books your Vet mayl keep in his office for use as a reference source.
"Spastic entropian may occur in any dog with any painful or prurituc
eye disorder, including
anatomic entropian. In spastic entropion, intense contraction of the orbicularis oculi muscle results
in a rolling inward of the lids. This problem is then compounded by irritation of the conjunctiva
and lids by hairs from the rolled in lids. If allowed to continue, spasm may become a permanent condition.
Distinguishing anatomic from spastic entropian may be a diagnostic challenge. Differentiation is
important because although anatomic entropian requires permanent corrective surgery, spastic
entropion should be treated with everting sutures and treatment of the underlying problem".
To identify which problem it may be the book goes on to say...."Topical anesthesia or sedation
may be required to correctly differentiate anatomic entropion from spastic entropian.
Spastic entropian usually disappears after topical anesthesia; the anatomic entropian
remaining after the topical anesthesia usually should be surgically corrected"
In laymans terms, perfect good eyes can appear to go" bad "due
to an insult to the eye, either by irritation,
allergic response or infection. Consider how it feels to get something in your eye? Your eyelid will twitch and
contract.as long as the irritant is in the eye. Remove the source of the irritation, allow your eye to rest
and heal and you will be normal again. In essence, placing everting sutures just above the rim of the dogs
eye, will allow the eye to recover and the spasm to cease. Once it does, the lid will relax and there
will be no more rolling in of the lid..This is why they call it "spastic entropian" which is not the same as
Truthfully, the CSPCA/AKC standard presently calls for an eye which
lends itself to
entropian. The standard calls for "small, almond shaped and sunken". The exact nature of this type of eye
encourages the rolling in of lids. Until they change this part of the standard and instead call for a natural eye,
open eye which does not lend itself to entropian, we are fighting an uphilll battle.
Athough not necessary a skin condition, this reference book explains
without doubt about neonatal entropian.
"Neonatal entropion is seen as soon as the lids open and in Shar-Pei is caused by extremely thick lids
and relatively enophthalmic globes that do not support the lids. In general , permanent entropian surgery
should not be performed until 5-7 months when the lid-to-globe proportions have matured. Instead,
the lids should be everted with temporary mattress sutures for 2 to 3 weeks. This can be performed
as early as 3 (to 4 )weeks of age often with only topical anesthesia.
Jeff Vidt, DVM writes in his "The Shar-Pei Puppy Answer Sheet","that
most Shar-Pei puppies have some
degree of entropian or "rolling in" of the eyelids. He goes on to explain, " this is an inherited condition in the
Shar-Pei" Then advises, "if your puppy is having PERSISTANT squinting, mucous eye discharge or paws
at the eye alot, we may need to place TEMPORARY stitches in the eyelids. This is known as EYE
TACKING..." in severe cases or in pups over 6 months of age a permanent corrective surgery may need
to be done.*The CSCPA has a link to Jeff Vidts site. The CSPCA site is located at www.cspca.com
Unfortunately 75% of the time when new owner proudly takes his new puppy
into a Vet for his first check-up, the
Vets will use this time to instill in the new ower, that this puppy will need this surgery at sometime in the near future. I would
venture to say, that some minimal degree of neonatal entropian can be exploited into a cash cow, on this first visit. Always
get a second opinion. (Hey, they have to make a living too and all too often they see $har-pei$ in this light.)What
happens here is a loss of trust between the breeder and the new owner, much because of the "fear" some Vets
use to exploit the issue.In the case of States which have a doggie lemon law, Vets know they can ante up
medical costs to the amount of the purchase price..and they do. The doggie lemon law was meant to be a decent
act to protect unscruplous puppy millers from selling ill and disease pups, now its being abused by unscrupleous
Vets charging up to the purchase price of each pup, knowing that the breeder will have to reimburse the new owner up
to that amount for medical costs. How convenient?
Breeders, can protect themselves as well as the buyer by always
having a certified health evaluation by a licensed
Veterinarian on every puppy immediately before purchase, even if it means the buyer will have to wait until the
the next day to get the puppy.Write your contracts include what must be done by the buyer for approval by the breeder
of any medical treatment within the time period the breeder is responsible for the charges. This is only fair.
Currently the AKC sees even temporary sutures as a surgical procedure
( I disagree) and at this time
any Shar-Pei having visable suture scars will be eliminated from the show ring even though they have never had
It plainly explains above that the reason for neonatal "eye tacks" has nothing to do with entropian but rather the
imbalance of a heavy lid and an eye orbit which cannot support it. Hopefully, the current AKC ruling will
change when it is realized the exact function of eye tacks.
Lets begin with the basics..
Food is the basic building block to life...Shar-Pei, I believe have
needs as far as diet than most other dogs.Why? Because a Shar-Pei has a very
different skin type complicated by the fact that they carried rolls and
wrinkles.The rolls are covered by moist often super elastic skin. This equates
to the need to pay close attention to what kind of food you feed your Shar-
You can't be cheap when you feed a Shar-Pei. They simply do better on
food. It's best that Soy is eliminated as a major food source. They seem need
extra fat for the maintenance of their wrinkles.and moderate protein.
. There is really no dog food onearth that is specifically developed for Shar-Pei,
so we do the best we can figure out what works best for your dog. Remember,
one dog food will work for one dog and not another. It's important to learn to read
and evaluate what the ingredients have to offer.
Just like in our own foods, ingredients in dog foods are listed
order in direct relation to the amount of that particular ingredient is in the
product. Most grocery store dog foods just do not offer the necessary
ingredients nor the quality of ingredients needed . However some Shar-Pei
can do OK with these brands.
We have a variety of kinds of dog foods "meats" to choose from.
To compliment these, combinations of wheat, corn,.rice, barley
or soy... are used in
combination. Add your fats, vitamins, minerals including various
additives such as preservatives, artificial coloring and flavoring, etc..
Ingredients are listed in the descending order that they are in quantity in the
dog food. So if your present dog food lists Soy, Corn or Wheat as the main
ingredient, this is mostly what the food consists. Basically you are feeding an all
cereal diet to a naturally carnivorous canine .You have to consider how you would
feel andwhat condition you would be in if you consumed cereal most of the time.
A healthy Shar-Pei should not need specialized dog food. but it is important
not to skimp on the quality.
I have fed many different kinds of dog foods over the years and they are
several I highly recommend.
I use and highly recommend Diamond pet foods. My dogs have healthy,
shiny coats and keep in excellent weight and muscle tone .It is one of the few
commercial dog foods which include "fish meal" as a regular source of protein in
their ingredients. Diamond also uses flaxseed oil which is an excellent source
for healthy skin and coat. Diamond has the EDGE line for those dogs which
may be sensitive to corn or wheat..
This line excludes all corn and wheat products. and is exclusively "rice" in
combination of other meats and nutrients.
You can find information at the Diamond web site www.diamondpet.com or
by calling: 1800-442-0402.
I also recommend other dog foods such as Natures Choice, Eucanuba, Iams,
and Solid Gold and many of the very expensive specialty kibble made
specifically for various skin conditions. Keep trying until you find one which
works for your dog.
Bathing: Dogs are not wood!...sometimes I hear of people using
Murphy's Oil soap to try to correct skin conditions. My advice..is DON'T. If
it is not made for a bathing, DON'T USE IT. Although ph balances are
different in humans as compared to dogs, however, many human shampoos do
work as good or better than the run of the mill doggie shampoo.
As far as bathing products, I like using an oatmeal shampoo and
on healthy coats. Don't forget to pick up some deodorant spray
made for dogs at your local pet supply house. I like and recommend two:
Cologne and Deodorant for Pets by Farnam and Fresh 'n Clean by Lambert
Kay. These will make you dog smell like he just stepped out of a grooming
There are various Ringworm remedies on the market. Ringworm is not a
worm at all, but a fungal infection which is identified by hair loss in a round
patch often with an outer crusty edge. Ringworm is contagious to you and
your children and other pets too, so immediate treatment is necessary. If it is
only a spot or two, then home treatment may work. If the ringworm is
widespread, the besides topical medications, your Vet will have to put the
dog on orally meds too.
There are all kinds of medicated shampoos made for specific problems
is important to try to identify what is the root cause of your pets problem in
order to know which type of treatment is warranted.
Sarcoptic mange is very common in some areas of the US and mostly in
Spring and Summer..These mange mites live in the tips of the grasses and as
your dog runs though the grass, the mites attach themselves to the
legs..eventually crawling and embedding in the moist soft parts of the skin
like the underside of the belly, in the armpits, back of legs and rump. When
you notice your dog, suddenly stop what he is doing and begin biting
feverishly and begin losing hair and seeing sores where the hair is gone, its a
good chance your dog has contracted this type of mange.
If you have ever been affected with a case of "chiggers" then you know what
it feels like to the dog.
These mites tend to burrow so deep that an ordinary skin scraping the
may do is not likely to reveal the mites. A biopsy might be necessary for
identification purposes. Or you can treat your dog symptomatically and apply
the dip, the intense itching will be gone in hours. These dips also treat fleas as
well. Be careful not to use certain chemicals if you are already using
Frontline, Advantage or other long term topical products. In this case, using
an orally dosage or Ivermec might be the safer alternative.
This requires immediate treatment, as well as washing and bleaching in hot
water all items your dog has come in contact with. It can be contagious to
you, unlike Demodetic mites, which are extremely unlikely to affect a person
or other family pet. There are some special products on the market to cure
you dog of this type of mange. Some of these are quite toxic and must be
used exactly as directed. Ivermec, which is not as quick acting, can be given
orally or injected and will rid the dog of mites as well.
Hot Spots: This is not too uncommon in the summer. Available are
excellent sprays or ointments which can be applied to the spots. One I have
had much luck with is sold under Tomlyn label called Fungisan, comes in a 4
ounce spray for less than $5. Usually in a few days healing will be
noticeable. If necessary, clip the hair away from the skin and apply a
medication specifically made for hot spots. If your Pei starts shedding all
over and looks awful, to get the hair to regrow at a faster rate, shave your dog
down. For some reason, a coat which has been shaved will grow back twice
as fast. In some cases, hydrocortisone ointments sold over the counter for
humans seem to help stem the itching and promote healing in localized itchy
In the past, we believed the only way to cure mange or treat fleas was
dips..but after reading all the warnings on the labels as to the stuff being
dangerous and possibly cancer causing. I now believe it these substances can
be dangerous to you or your dog.
So dips like Lindane, Mitaban and Paramite should only be used if absolutely
necessary and not on a regular basis. Certainly, the old time remedy of using
burnt motor oil is very dangerous to your dog and will cause cancer or
immediate death and is OUT of the question..
The verdict is still out on using the alternatives which are still
as Ivermec, Frontline, Advantage and such but at this time these are our only
The disease which kills more Shar-Pei than anything else is CANCER
Amyloidosis following a close second.
Ivermectin is widely available ( even over the counter) and is being
everything from Heart worm Preventative to Mange cures. It is one of the
current protocols to rid the dog of both kinds of mange mites.
So far I am convinced it is the safest product on the market to date..of
new medical cures are always cropping up so its important to keep abreast of
It has proven effective for Demodectic Mange or Sarcopic Mange . I have
used Ivermectin 1%, 1/2 cc 3 times weekly, orally, on affected dogs ( perhaps
as long as 3 to 6 weeks) until the hair regrows.
As far as Heart worm preventative..it only takes 1/10 of one cc orally once a
month to prevent Heart worms.
This can be purchased in most animal or pet supply houses or catalogue
companies or farm supply stores in a 50cc bottle ( injectable) for about $35-
50 and at 1/10 of a cc per month for an average 40-50 pound Pei. ..It would
take 500 months to finish bottle up for one dog..Remember it is sold as an
"injectable" but you use it ORALLY. You will need a syringe to withdrawal it
from the container, then remove the needle and squirt the amount into the
dogs mouth. That all you have to do.
Now that Advantage and Frontline are available for flea management,
it is no
longer suggested to use Flea Dips or medicated flea shampoos, unless they
are organically safe, such as the critus based non chemical dips or shampoos.
The old fashioned dips only kill the fleas which are on the dog at the time of
bathing. The "once a month or so products" like Advantage and Frontline..(
hopefully are much safer for your pet) kill the fleas upon contact..and in a few
months..you will no longer ever see a flea in your environment. Advantage
seems to work better on fleas but it doesn't last as long as Frontline. However
the bottle that Advantage is marketed in..can be opened and re-closed..( close
tightly and set upright in your refrigerator. Buy the largest size possible and
apply about 15 drops for a medium size dog to your dogs neck and/ or base
of tail area This way one bottle can do several dogs and the cost of buying the
larger package is minimal. Reseal what is left and use the rest next month.
Both Advantage and Frontline can be used for those dogs which get bathed
often and does not wash out with the baths. Frontline does kill ticks, whereas,
Advantage does not ( yet).
I have discovered that some dogs will start itching after using Frontline.
you will have to evaluate your situation and decide which is best for you to
use on your pet.
Once you start using one of these regularly, your days of
flea problems will
be a thing of the past. It will virtually eliminate every flea in your environment
and you will not have to poison your grass, carpets or other areas with
There are also tablets given orally, such as Sentry and Program, which
can give your pet once a month and will protect him from fleas and intestinal
worms. This product and those like it, does not kill fleas but only sterilizes
them, once they have bitten your dog, so consider the drawback to this if your
dog suffers from flea bite allergy.Some Vets recommend using both. I believe
it is better to kill the flea first than require it to bite your dog in order to work.
The drawback to Frontline and Advantage, is that it can leave a chemical
residue for a short while after the application. Also Frontline and Advantage
do not do anything to eliminate intestinal worms which the oral products do,
so its a trade off depending on your specific situation.
Many over the counter antibiotics are also available over the counter
know where to look. Expensive ones such as Keflex, Amoxicillin, Flagyl
(otherwise known as Metro- for coccidia and giradia) and Albon ( for
coccidia) etc. Sold labeled for aquatic pets or livestock..they require no
prescription..Consumer Pet catalogs such as KV (1-800-269-0093), PetMed
Express ( 1-800-USA-PETS) and Revival ( 1800-786-4751) The Revival
catalog explains alternative uses for the products they sell. Many of these
products widely and inexpensively available without prescription. The quality
is no less than what you might find in your local pharmacy.
Perhaps one of the most effective antibiotics for skin conditions which
be secured through your Vet is one called Clavamox. This in many instances,
should be used considerably long term. At least several weeks to 6 for some
chronic conditions. Clavamox is the one antibiotic you will find the most
success. It also comes in a pediatric liquid formula for young or newborn
One thing which cannot be replaced as far as over the counter medications
medicine for tapeworms. Never, never use over the counter medications for
Tapesworms .Go to your Vet and get Droncit. This works in a one dose cure
and is easy on the dogs intestinal track and very effective. Anything you can
buy over the counter for Tapes is too harsh to the dogs system and doesn't
work all that well anyway. Intestinal worms can drain your pet of health and
make him more prone to coat problems. Many worms are easily picked up
when your pet is walking on dirt..so worming regularly is advised. Take a
fecal to your vet at least once a year or if you suspect any problem. Dogs with
worms or intestinal parasites will have abnormal looking stools, including
mucus and blood tinged. Sometimes you will see the parasites in the
excrement. Round worms look like spaghetti and tape worms look like
segments of rice. Still there are several parasites which will not give you
much of a clue and the only way to identify them is though a microscope.
Thankfully with the advent of Frontline and Advantage, tapeworm
are becoming a thing of the past.
Finally there is an excellent book specifically on skin problems and
conditions of Cats and Dogs. I highly recommend getting a copy to keep and
refer to if you are owned by a Shar-Pei. The book is called " Skin Diseases
of Dogs and Cats", by Dr. Steven A Melman, DermaPet ..send for it at the
following address PO Box 59713, Potomac, MD 20859. Often you can find
the book at better pet stores.
Most serious breeders are doing their best to eliminate problems and
healthier dogs. If you are set on buying a Shar-Pei do so with the knowledge
than any one of the pups from the litter you choose could grow up to have
problems intrinsic to the breed. Breeders aren't scientist and if they breed
from apparently good lines and apparently healthy dogs, cannot be blamed for
something popping up out of the background of a very limited gene pool.
The difference in experience between a Vet and a Breeder is that the
sees a dog a couple times a year and usually only when the dog is in need of
medical attention or when updating vaccinations. He does not have the
opportunity for a day to day evaluation
A breeder lives with the dog, everyday, day in and out for years at
at time and
can see and evaluate cause and effect, what works and what does not,
much more clearly than a Vet has the ability to do so.
If you can find a Vet who loves the breed and perhaps has bred or otherwise
involved himself in Shar-Pei Club activities such as rescue and takes the time to
do research and keep current on medical news If your Vet will ask
questions of or listens to an experience breeder or owner then you will have
found yourself a very good Vet. If a Vet does not like this breed.find
another Vet, immediately
All breeds have their own inherent problems Do not get into this
that you can assure youself of selecting a problem free pup. If you decide to get a Shar-Pei
do so only with the understanding that you are going to accept any and all problems that go
along with the breed. Breeders do not force you to buy a puppy and most assume that you
have done your research and are willing accept what may be inherent in the breed. Most responsible breeders
do their best to breed and raise healthy offspring but none I know of has the magic DNA formula to produce
perfection. Science in on the verge of changing all this..but until it does, breeders will have to
make choices based their experiences, training and current knowledge.
So many of the prospective owners I encounter, are folks
who have already owned a Shar-Pei before and loved the breed so much and are
willing to take another chance on one again. This says much about the Shar-Pei.
As I re-read this article from time to time, I may add something as
I remember or learn more....
consider it a work in progress. There has not been a day in the past 20 years that I have not learned
something new about this breed. Thank you for spending the time reading this article and consider
yourself on the same path , a thirst for knowledge and a search for the truth.