Puppy Strangles in Dogs

Juvenile Cellulitis is a postular and nodular skin disorder of the puppies between the ages of three weeks to four months. Also known as juvenile pyoderma, puppy strangles, juvenile sterile granulomatous dermatitis and lymphadenitis, this uncommon and rare disorder affects face, pinnae (outer part of the ear), and submandibular lymph nodes. The condition is presumed to be immune-mediated based on histopathological features and response to immunosuppressive forms of therapy. A hereditary link may also be present as some breeds are predisposed to this condition. These include golden retrievers, dachshunds, and Gordon setters.

Though this disorder mostly affects young puppies, it can occasionally been seen in adult dogs as well. Several or only one puppy may be affected in a litter.

Initially, vesicles or postules cover inner surface of the ear, muzzle, lips and eyelids. Thereafter they develop into facial swelling, draining lesions and abscesses. Occasionally lymph nodes will abscess and drain. A few cases will develop nodules over the trunk, penis and anus areas due to a panniculitis. Puppies usually have fever, are depressed and lose appetite. Permanent scarring and areas of alopecia may result if the lesions are extensive.

Common signs and symptoms of this disorder include:

Acutely (sudden and severe) swollen face – especially the eyelids, lips, and muzzle

Salivary gland lymphadenopathy: a disease process affecting a lymph node or multiple lymph nodes

Marked pustular and oozing skin disease, which frequently fistulates (develops into a hollow passage); develops within 24–48 hours

Pustular ear infection

Lesions often become crusted

Affected skin is usually tender

Lethargy in 50 percent of cases

Loss of appetite, fever, and presence of sterile suppurative arthritis in 25 percent of cases (acute inflammation of membranes, with leaking into a joint, due to bacterial infection)

Sterile pustular nodes (rare) over the trunk, reproductive organs, or on the area around the anus; lesions may appear as fluctuating nodules under the skin with fistulation

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