What Are "Puppy Strangles" and What Causes Them?

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The term "puppy strangles" refers to a skin condition that occasionally is seen in young pups. The ailment is also known as juvenile cellulitis. The disease is prevalent in youngsters who are somewhere in the range of 4 weeks to 4 months old, although some individuals experience puppy strangles beyond that time period, too.


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Basic Information

If elevated red protuberances show up all over a puppy's head, specifically on his ears, mouth and eyes, then there's a chance he has a case of puppy strangles. Expanded lymph nodes are often indicative of puppy strangles -- think those on the shoulder, head and neck. A puppy's skin might also take on a general crimson appearance, from the neck to the ears. Swollen skin also frequently signifies puppy strangles. The condition is believed to be related to problems within the immune system.



This disease is often considered to have a genetic component, as puppies of a handful of different breeds are particularly vulnerable to it. These breeds are Gordon setters, dachshunds, golden retrievers and Siberian huskies. Any dog can potentially get the puppy strangles, however, without regard to breed. The skin condition also frequently is more prevalent in some canine families, which also might denote a strong genetic link. The precise root trigger of puppy strangles is not 100 percent certain, however. Outside of genetics, the ailment is also sometimes associated with potential causes like parasites and infection.

Other Signs


Symptoms of possible puppy strangles aren't at all restricted to the skin. Other telling signs of the disorder are depression, exhaustion, fever, problems swallowing and absence of appetite. If you think your puppy might have the strangles, seek veterinary attention for the cutie immediately. Never ignore any indications of this illness, as that can sometimes bring upon life-threatening results for your pet.

Veterinary Assistance

Veterinarians generally determine whether or not a puppy has this condition by performing skin biopsies. The condition is on the rare side, but the sooner a puppy receives veterinary care for it, the better. The conspicuous skin issues typically go away, although scarring is often unavoidable. Oral corticosteroids are typically offered to puppies with the puppy strangles. Antibiotics are frequently employed, too, but not in all cases.


By Naomi Millburn

PetMD: Puppy Strangles in Dogs
PetEducation: Juvenile Cellulitis (Puppy Strangles)
Vetstream: Juvenile Cellulitis
Bichon Frise Club of America: Juvenile Cellulitis
Derm Digest: Juvenile Cellulitis (Puppy Strangles)
The Canadian Veterinary Journal: Juvenile Cellulitis in a Puppy
Breed Predisposition to Disease in Dogs and Cats; Alex Gough and Alison Thomas

About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.