Q: My six-year-old Shar Pei recently had some odd symptoms that lasted for a couple of days. He seemed really off-colour, not wanting to eat or drink or go out for his walks, and he had swollen legs. After a short while, this just got better of its own accord, and he seems fine now. Should I be worried?
GRAHAM FINCH ADVISES…
The condition you describe is typical of a condition called ‘swollen hock syndrome’, also known (appropriately, given your dog’s breed) as Shar Pei syndrome. This produces identical symptoms to those you describe, and occurs due to an immune- mediated inflammation of the blood vessels in the legs. It usually resolves spontaneously within a couple of days, and non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help with the high temperature that is associated with the condition.
However, affected individuals may get repeated attacks, which, in the long term, can result in kidney and liver failure, so it’s really important you get your dog checked out by your vet. There are reports of long-term anti-inflammatory drugs, such as colchicine, being given; this may help with management of the condition in the long term, but sadly does not provide a cure.