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Other Systems

This is an other system condition.

Shar-Pei Autoinflammatory Disease, SPAID, Shar-Pei Fever

What is SPAID?

More commonly known as Familial Shar-Pei Fever, this autoimmune condition causes recurrent high fevers, joint swelling and pain, and overall malaise. Some Shar-Peis will also develop amyloidosis, an inappropriate accumulation of an abnormal protein, amyloid, in the liver and kidneys.

What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?

During an episode, affected dogs will be listless, have no appetite, and have swollen hocks and/or muzzles. A fever of 106ºF is considered a medical emergency. Please ask your veterinarian to show you how to take your dog’s temperature at home.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

First signs typically appear before 18 months of age, but can occur at anytime.

How do vets diagnose this condition?

Shar Pei fever is diagnosed based on clinical signs: fever and swollen hocks/muzzle. Your veterinarian will want to perform blood and urine tests to determine the extent and severity of the disease.

How is this condition treated?

SPAID can often be managed symptomatically with anti-inflammatories, although response to treatment does vary. In severe cases, the liver and kidneys can be affected and hospitalization with more aggressive treatment will be required. Colchicine, which can prevent kidney damage secondary to amyloidosis, is typically recommended in the early stages of disease. Antioxidant supplementation should also be considered.

What actions should I take if my dog is affected?

  • There is some confusion surrounding SPAID due to an early paper which suggested that all Shar Peis are at risk for developing SPAID. However, researchers subsequently identified a mutation in severely affected SPAID dogs in the MTBP gene, which causes proinflammatory reactions. There are Shar Peis that have two normal copies of this gene, and do not develop signs of disease.
  • Monitor your Shar Pei for signs of fever and swelling of the legs and muzzle. Bring your dog to the vet at the first sign of these symptoms.
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