Familial Shar-Pei Fever

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This familial immunoreactive disorder is found only in Chinese Shar-Pei dogs, characterized by episodic fever and swollen hocks (back of the leg). If left untreated, it can lead to excessive amyloid accumulation throughout the body and subsequent kidney and liver failure. 

Symptoms and Types

  • Fever (for up to 24-36 hours)
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Swollen hocks
  • Weight loss
  • Fluid-filled soft tissue swellings involving one or more joints
  • Joint and abdominal pain
  • Reluctance to move
  • Hunched posture
  • Heavy breathing (tachypnea)


Any chronic infection, inflammation, immune-mediated disease, or cancer can cause reactive or secondary amyloidosis. However, dysregulation of immune and inflammatory processes are also thought to predispose shar-pei dogs to this disorder.



You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, to the veterinarian. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination as well a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, complete blood count (CBC).

Other tests which can be done to rule out or identify the underlying disease causing the amyloidosis include Ehrlichia and Borrelia serology, Heartworm exams, Coombs' test, rheumatoid arthritis factor tests, and a clotting profile, which can help rule out liver disease. Chest X-rays and abdominal X-rays and ultrasounds are used by the veterinarian to look for liver and kidney abnormalities, and an analysis of synovial fluid may show acute inflammation.

X-rays of the joints will show a swelling of the soft tissues around the joint with no bony involvement. An abdominal ultrasound is useful to examine the consistency of the liver and kidneys.

Lastly, if amyloid is being deposited in the kidneys the urine protein:creatinine ratio can increase from less than one (normal) to greater than thirteen.

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