A closer look: Puppy Strangles in Dogs
Puppy strangles is an uncommon, painful, and distressing condition in young dogs that presents suddenly with severe facial swelling. Prognosis is excellent and most dogs make a full recovery.
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Puppy strangles vary in severity. Some dogs present with minor swelling of the lips and face and are otherwise unaffected. Other puppies develop severe, widespread swelling of the face and neck and are very painful.
Skin lesions on the face are usually symmetrical.
The medical term for puppy strangles is juvenile sterile granulomatous dermatitis and lymphadenitis.
- Juvenile: it’s most common in puppies
- Sterile: it doesn’t occur as the result of an infection, although the skin sores may be initially mistaken as infections
- Granulomatous: the bumps and swelling are caused by infiltration with immune cells
- Dermatitis: inflammation of the skin
- Lymphadenitis: inflammation of the lymph nodes
The underlying disease process behind puppy strangles is not fully understood. Strangles is often seen in multiple puppies from the same litter suggesting an inherited dysfunction of the immune system. There is no association with infection but infection sometimes occurs secondarily.
Testing and diagnosis
Diagnosis of puppy strangles involves:
- Physical examination
- Blood work
- Skin scrapes for mite infections
- Impression smears for bacterial infection
- Biopsy confirms diagnosis but is not always necessary
Steps to Recovery
Treatment options include:
- Antibiotics in cases of secondary infection
- Pain medication
Prognosis following initiation of treatment is excellent. Improvement of pain and swelling occurs within 48 hours and full resolution normally takes 10-14 days. Recurrence is uncommon
Prevention of individual cases is not possible. Puppy strangles may have an inherited component. Dogs that develop puppy strangles should not be bred.
Is Puppy Strangles in Dogs common?
Puppy strangles is uncommon in dogs.It usually occurs young dogs between 3-16 weeks old
- Pain medication