Needing a home for my medical mystery shar pei. *please read, very long*

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Member Since
Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 8:47am PST 
After much debate, and reasoning my husband agreed to one more vet visit (mostly because I will be getting paid for my last day care jobs in a couple weeks so I should be able to cover most of the cost). So I called and scheduled for a complete work up to look at EVERYTHING. so he will be getting another complete blood panel, a skin scraping, a urinalysis and a complete physical. They've always done one thing at a time (blood panel here, uranylsis there etc. etc.) and has not any of it done at the vet that I prefer (she's always looked at previous labs from our other vets) so Im HOPING with all the info right there coming from her labs that POSSIBLY something will pop? is there ANY other testing that I should be asking for, besides these, if anyone knows this would be greatly appreciated! I want to bring in a full list just to make sure nothing is missed, especially if this is the last chance I have to get him help

I dont know what this will help, because our hands are tied financially, but maybe its something as simple as some medications that havent been tried, I really dont know but hopefully something pops and its fixable in a way that we can handle (or one that we could make aware to potential families?) Or it can help us determine if its something unfixable entirely and he needs to be put down. At least then I could make a decision one way or another for sure without feeling like I have failed, or given up on him. Since that is currently how I feel.

Woo-woo- whineybutt
Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 11:09am PST 
Just wondering
but why pay for all of these tests that previously gave you no leads ?
I would invest that money elsewhere.

You've mentioned trying all these different diets, what is he on now ?
What supplements ?
Are you cleaning him regularly so bacteria doesn't have a chance to form?

Why not buy a Kong inflatable collar so he can't chew while you figure this out?

I would put the money towards some fish oil, kelp, glucosamine/MSM, and other stuff..

BTW could it be environmental ?

I know some dogs are sensitive to the chemicals in tap water, so they have to be given bottled water.

Where are the hot spots usually located ?
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 12:24pm PST 
OP, the Shar Pei is a substantial health breed with many problems and what you need is an expertness. Consider having a consult with a veterinary hospital. Or, seeking out expert guidance.

A previous poster mentioned, I believe, Dr. Jeff Vidt. He has some writeups on cutaneous mucinosis, rare in other breeds but inherent in Shar Peis. Other links, too, to further your education. Start HERE, the site is good to use, consider contacting him for guidance and referral.

Another expert is Dr. Linda Tintle, found HERE. Same thing....look around, contact her for guidance, referrals, etc. She and Dr. Vidt are the two leaders in progressive bettering of breed health. Dedicated and absolute go-to's for guidance. They will likely know of vets in your area who are participating in the drive towards managing and bettering Shar Pei health.

Both of these vets are highly valuable to the national breed club on health issues and a part of the fight to get the Shar Pei on better footing. This is a complicated, genetically condensed and unusual breed, so you need to be a good advocate, go to the professionals on the pulse of things who can point you in the right direction.

If you have one last shot left, get this Pei to one well versed in the breed. It's a quirky breed, and a general vet may be a little out of lurch.

Please keep us posted and if there is any I can do to help, just let me know. In terms of a raw diet some are recommending here, I would only do that under a vet's supervision. Shar Pei's tend to have lower proteins needs (and can be protein sensitive) and it can be a more critical act of balancing. It's just more complicated. The breed is more unusual/complex, but getting in with the breed experts is your first step.

If you need help with the advocacy end, let me know. Thanks for listening to your dog's heart and being such a good guardian. hug

Edited by author Wed Jan 30, '13 12:31pm PST



When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 1:05pm PST 
Not sure if this would help, but maybe find a GOOD Pei breeder- Tiller do you know one?- and see if they can point you toward help or offer suggestions. If you are only getting one more shot make it count, no point in going over old ground.
Thanks for being his angel.hug
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 1:51pm PST 
Good breeders are breed psychics laugh out loud That's how it seems. Ones who have been in the breed forever, in amongst their mentors or other peers, can just read rhythms (as in progressions, life histories, etc.), symptoms, even have a special looking glass into what the outcomes will be. Just because you directly or vicariously experience every turn the breed has to offer. I have a few like that in my life. Here on Dogster, we have Toto wink

I can look for a CA breeder to be a mentor/counsel to OP. But the Pei is such a health breed, you have these vets who are dedicating their lives to these issues, even a charitable trust geared towards research, etc. So there is this whole other avenue, not as dynamic in some other breeds. And this one is so unique, that looking for veterinary support where there is an expertness is a bit essential. It's a complicated breed. You really need to be an advocate for your dog when it comes to Shar Pei health.

Member Since
Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 1:54pm PST 
Here is why I think it would be beneficial for him to have a full work up at the same vet. When we first got him, he had the biopsy, and urinalysis at vet A. After he healed from everything, is when we started noticing the itching. This is when he did blood testing (I do not believe this was a complete panel) with vet A (this is all in the beginning of '10) from that they said thyroid problems. insert soloxine. the problems did not, get better. This is when they rechecked his thyroid, adjusted meds as his thyroid was super high. rechecked later (there was also a panel done about this point) still high, he was taken off soloxine, thyroid levels were normal (liver enzymes elevated). Itching was still there. Vet A had another vet in his practice who I also saw that said that his issues did not seem indicitive of food allergy. Also had skin scraping, they checked for mites (none). He was on steroids for most of 2010.

We moved to central california, he was checked out by the military veterinarian (VET B) who without testing told us, skin infection (another scraping for mites as well) he was put on antiobiotics, when the antibotics didnt work she decided to call a vet (I am assuming it was the vet out in town, he is known to be familiar with shar pei's. I'll get to him later) Who apparently instructed her to put him on steroids AGAIN as well as an allergy med (i BELIEVE it was something like tamerol-p)As soon as the steroid round wore off, he went straight back to chewing. the allergy meds were not working, even after being kept on for a while. She then told us she could not help any further and we needed to see a dermatologist. Not something we can afford in our area, the consult is $160 alone they told me. (this was fallish of '11)

While not taking him the the vet, he had the fever/shaking bout again (first was with Vet A-no treatment or testing as he acted fine in office, he was only slightly warm by the time I got him in) I took him to the Shar Pei vet. Well, he was SO caught up with Jack's skin that he did not even address the shaking/not wanting to walk OR his enormous hocks (they are not always huge) he was SO preoccupied with his skin. Anyway, ordered a blood panel. Again, I was told only issue that showed was elevated liver enzymes. He gave me simplicef (I believe thats what it was called, it was a spray for "hot spots") and an antibiotic.

Fast forward to vet C after having an extremely negative experience with the Shar Pei vet (which I cant rightly blame him entirely, there is a huge language barrier and it very well could be that he just did not understand my concerns, his assistants did relay what I was saying but perhaps it was not well enough) I went to a very well recommended vet that is an hour away. She did a scraping (for mites) and an exam, said infection, and allergies. Insert Atopica, Steroid injection and Keflex. as soon as the injection wore off he was back to scratching, he was on Atopica from APR until JULY with no improvement. She then looked at the Labs from my previous vets to see what else it could be, she also looked at his biopsy from '10 (btw this was all in '12) Said she couldnt see anything that would explain his symptoms. She then started mentioning the area here and how many dogs do this and cant cope and need to be put to sleep, this is assuming he has allergies. I know I am missing more, but to me since my current vet has never run any tests on him, herself I think it would be beneficial for her to have all current labs in front of her to try and piece something together. This vet hospital will also scrap for allergies (I think they test for 40 different kinds) she didnt want to do it before because she says whatever their scraping would come up with the Atopica should have taken care of, and it didnt. There are two or three other vets in that office that have also consulted trying to help.

As far as diet, as of right now they are on Canidae. He is on Omega-3's right now also.

He is bathed every 7-10 days. If he goes TOO long without a bath the itching gets even worse. We use a non-soap based dog cleanser as every other soap we tried caused irritation. He also itches intensly the day after a bath but it subsides to normal after that. We've also tried an antibactieral/anti fungal soap. Didnt help.

We have a collar that prevents him from chewing, and he goes insane with it on. We only use it when he will not stop itching and is causing massive bleeds. Otherwise we tell him to quit, and he stops. or he goes to his kennel and tries to do it in secret.

As far as we can tell it is not environmental, we've moved areas, and it didnt change (worsened when we first moved to this area, but it relieved after we settled) We went out and bought a hypoallergenic carpet shampoo, an air sanitizer and switched all his blankets to natural fibers. They are all also watched in hypoallergenic detergents (I have human children with skin sisues too, go figure) Oh, he is not outside for extended periods of time. Other than walks, his time out back in the grass is limited to as long as it takes him to use the bathroom.

The only chewing that is done is on his back and hind ish area as well as on his hocks. He rarely chews anywhere else. He has been known to chew his feet on occassion but we figured out that has to do with him being a turd. He only does it when we make him walk in dirty stuff (damp dirt, sand, etc)

Yes, I know they have many problems. The vet I go to is an animal hospital, there are a few different vets in the facility ( I have seen two regularly, and prefer one over the other) The other hospital I mentioned above, I do not like at all and they were the least helpful with him, they also turned away my boxer when he was dying (got into something, it blocked his intestines). As far as other experts, as in specialists we simply cannot afford that. Like I said, our hands are tied with the vets that are available in our area.

I have not spoke with Dr. Vidt but I have conversed back and forth with Dr. Tintle, briefly in September. I waited for her to get back to me as she said she would let me know what I needed to ask my vet to do (she said she would work with my current vet to get him treatment) and never heard back from her, I tried a few times after to contact her and didnt receive a response. I understand she is extremely busy so I cant rightly blame her for not being able to get back after a few emails.

I honeslty would not consider the raw diet, I researched it briefly before and have researched it more over the last few days and that just does not seem like a good option without me thoroughly talking it out with my vet. and that is IF we could afford it, as it were I think it would up our feed bill quite a bit (I only did calculations based on the meat cost for both our dogs, I didnt factor in the vegeatbles). Which is also, something we cannot afford with me not being able to work now.

Thank you for all of the advice, it would really be nice to not have to see him be put to sleep or rehomed. He's such a sweetie, i'd just like for him to be healthy. Whether that be with us, if we can find a solution that isnt too costly. Or with someone who has enough resources to get him to the specialists he needs.

Member Since
Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 1:59pm PST 
OH! I forgot to mention, he scratches his armpits. and backs of his front legs. not that often, could just be a normal dog itch. But I assume any itch with him is part of the problem...

Its not just the skin that concerns me either, its the swelling of his legs, the random weirdness with them (conincides with the swelling) not wanting to walk, or being mildly stiff. It doesnt seem like its just ONE issue ie. the skin.

Edited by author Wed Jan 30, '13 2:00pm PST


Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 2:14pm PST 
Not every dog reacts to every anti-allergy med the same. Our vet gave us a long list to try to see if any of them work. So I wouldn't take that as indicative of not having allergies. Indeed, the fact that the steroids fixed the problem very much indicates allergies.

If it is allergies, you need to find out what to. Elimination diets helps you figure out any foods it might be to. Scratch panels and/or the allergy blood test help you figure out environment allergies. I would insist on at least one of the latter two. Then, once you find out what the allergy is to, stop exposure to it. If it's food, then monitor all food he gets and make sure he doesn't get the allergen. If it's environmental, then it's either a matter of cleaning more often/air filters, etc or of wiping him off thoroughly with babywipes every time he comes in the house. Really, environmental allergies are ideally treated by getting those allergy shots that condition the dog's body not to respond to the allergen but I think that is also expensive, though.

I wouldn't waste my time going back to a normal vet. What this needs is a dermatologist. Yes, the up front costs are more, but imagine how much money you've wasted on uselessly repeating the same tests and getting no answers. Don't waste more money on more useless tests, especially ones that haven't been helpful in the past. Use that money to see an expert who's going to have a much better idea what's going on with your dog and will know what tests to run that actually CAN help your dog instead of spinning your wheels.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 2:16pm PST 
This is such a soap opera it's hard to keep up with, lol! Are his hocks still swollen? I mean that and the quaking are Shar Pei fever, textbook. And the Shar Pei vet looked past these things? shrug

And yes on the raw diet....caution, and not with bloodwork and veterinary supervision. Be sure you are not feeding soy, though. They have poor tolerance, which I assume you know.

Edited by author Wed Jan 30, '13 2:19pm PST

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 2:22pm PST 
And have you tried Linda's HyVitality?
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