Chinese Shar-Pei are prone to a hereditary inflammatory disorder called familial Shar-Pei fever (Shar-Pei fever or FSF), which includes symptoms such as extremely elevated temperature, pain, swelling in the hocks, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Shar-Pei fever may be triggered by physical or emotional stress such as other illness, sudden changes in environment, and isolation. Offspring of seemingly healthy dogs may show signs of this disease as Shar-Pei can be carriers of the condition without presenting symptoms.
There is no cure for this disease—prevention and management of the symptoms upon onset are the best practices. If an episode occurs, a veterinarian will make recommendations for care and to help reduce future bouts of illness. The buildup of amyloid caused by Shar-Pei fever may contribute to kidney and liver failure, which are not reversible.
Research has suggested that the same gene mutation that causes the Shar-Pei's hallmark wrinkles may also be responsible for Shar-Pei fever. Dogs with multiple copies of the genetic mutation that causes wrinkles have a higher chance of presenting the symptoms of Shar-Pei fever. Dogs who have presented with Shar-Pei fever should never be bred.