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Shar Pei Fever | A John Burns Blog

Shar Pei Fever | A John Burns Blog

by Burns Team Writer

Until recently, and like most people, I had never heard of a condition called Shar Pei Fever. Even if you haven’t got a Shar Pei, you might want to keep reading, because this information would most likely be valuable to all pet owners.

For those who don’t know, a Shar Pei is a breed of dog originally from the southern provinces of China. They were traditionally kept as watchdogs, and were actually on the brink of extinction before they experienced a rise in popularity in the USA in the 1970s. You may know them as the dog with the excessively wrinkled skin that makes them resemble a roasted Hasselback potato when they’re puppies.

Shar Pei Recurrent Fever, or Familial Shar Pei Fever, or even Shar Pei Auto-Inflammatory Disease, is characterised by recurrent bouts of fever and inflammation. As the word ‘familial’ suggests, it seems to be a hereditary condition, and is what we in the trade call, ‘idiopathic,’ which means, there is no identifiable cause.

Those familiar with my work, in particular my Veterinary Guide to Health and Nutrition, may recall a section called ‘Development of Disease, Stages 1 – 3.’ To summarise, this section is my take on how incorrect diet can lead to many health problems, including inflammation in the system. Incorrect diet can mean (i) the consumption of the wrong type of food, for example excessive protein or fat or chemicals in the diet; (ii) consumption of foods which cause adverse reaction (allergy or intolerance); (iii) over feeding. This last applies even when feeding good quality food.

Over feeding is a huge problem. Some pet owners often overestimate how much their pet really needs, others like to indulge their pets, especially with treats. It is of course well known that over feeding leads to excessive weight gain, but as I explain in my guide, excessive food intake can cause all manner of health problems.

I will go further: my explanation allows us to begin to understand and categorise most disease conditions, including those where there is no recognised explanation for the cause – idiopathic diseases. For example, any disease ending in -itis, such as arthritis, pancreatitis, myosotis, neuritis, cystitis etc. mean that it is an inflammatory disease, see Stage 2 in the ‘Development of Disease’ section of my guide. This helps us in understanding how the disease has occurred, how to tackle it and how reforming the diet can avoid it in the future.

Did you know that issues such as tear staining and bad skin could be related to diet? Read more about common problems in dogs and find out how a healthy diet could help your pet become happier and healthier.