Odor in Shar-Pei

Odor in SP can often be isolated to one of several areas:

  1. Mouth odor — usually due to dental problems, lip fold infections, chin infection, mouth tumors. Bad breath can also occur with kidney failure (uremic poisoning), dehydration, oral injuries, oral foreign objects or be diet related.
  2. Ear problems –yeast infections, bacterial infections, food and hay fever- type allergies.
  3. Eyes — associated with increased drainage due to entropion, mucopurulent discharge seen in keratoconjunctivitis sicca (“dry eye”), glaucoma, rubbing and itching the eyes related to allergic disease (hay fever, food) and increased tearing with prolapsed gland of the third eyelid (“cherry eye”).
  4. Skin problems — bacterial pyoderma (infections) and/or Malassezia (yeast) dermatitis. These are usually secondary to endocrine skin disease such as hypothyroidism, hay fever-type allergies, food allergies, nutritional problems, parasitic dermatitis as occurs in demodectic/sarcoptic mange and with flea problems. Infected bite wounds can be another common cause of odor to the skin especially noticeable a few days after a dog fight. Odor with skin disease is usually caused by the dog’s licking and chewing due to itching. Skin irritation due to any cause results in an increase in skin oil production. When the excess oil is broken down by organisms such as bacteria and yeast a “ranchid” odor is produced.
  5. Feet – often odor to the feet is secondary to the same problems as discussed under skin problems. The feet are a particular target for licking and chewing associated with allergic disease such as atopy (hay fever- type allergy) and food allergy.
  6. Perineum (anal area) – certainly there are “normal” odors associated with flatulence or gas. Abnormal odors can be associated with diarrhea, colitis, tumors around the rear end and especially anal gland problems such as abscesses, infection and impaction.

Lastly, some Shar-Pei, especially of the horsecoat variety, have a normal “hound dog” odor to them.

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