If you’ve brought a new puppy home, you’re probably enjoying the process of getting to know your little furry pal. At the same time, you want to do all that you can to make sure that your new pup is given the proper care and guidance that they need while growing up. Because there are a lot of things to consider, it may sometimes be overwhelming, especially if your puppy gets ill. While taking precautions and monitoring your pet may go a long way in preventing illnesses, some may not easily be detected. One of these is a condition called “puppy strangles."

“Say what? Puppy strangles?” Alarm bells might be ringing in your head upon hearing the name, especially if you’re familiar with “strangles”, which is an infection that’s very contagious in horses. But despite its name, “puppy strangles” isn’t what it seems. So what exactly is it?

What is Puppy Strangles in Dogs

NCBI studies shows that puppy strangles, or juvenile cellulitis, is a rare skin disease that puppies can be susceptible to. While there is no conclusive evidence yet, it is believed to be triggered by a hereditary autoimmune reaction.

The condition mainly occurs in puppies, rarely occurring in older dogs. Among the dog breeds that are predisposed to it are the Dachshund, Golden Retriever, and Golden Setter.

Oftentimes, puppy strangles are treatable. If, however, the treatment is delayed, lasting effects could be possible. If not treated, it can be life-threatening. If all of a sudden, your puppy develops severe facial swelling, it could be puppy strangles. If you suspect this, it is important to bring your pup to the vet immediately.

Symptoms of Puppy Strangles in Dogs

Oftentimes, puppy strangles show initial symptoms of swelling in the face, muzzle, and eyelids of puppies. These symptoms may look as if your puppy was stung by an insect of some sort. Not long after, the throat’s lymph nodes may appear enlarged, akin to a dog with a swollen neck or what appears like mumps.

Soon, the swelling may lead to pimples that may then rupture, cause bleeding, and then crust. It’s also common for the inner ear flaps to be affected as well. On occasion, painful body lesions may occur.

According to the study of Dr. Mitzi Clark of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, among the most common symptoms of puppy strangles are: swelling in a dog’s face (especially in the eyelids and lips), along with the ears and muzzle, rupturing pimples, hair loss, and enlarged lymph nodes below the jaw.

Less common symptoms include swelling of joints, fever, lethargy, and appetite loss. Upon delay in treatment, severely affected areas may suffer from permanent hair loss. If no treatment is given, the disease can be fatal.

Treating puppy strangles early in the disease leads to a better prognosis, so detecting symptoms early on will go a long way. A great way to monitor your pet even when you’re away is by having a pet camera such as the Petcube Cam, an innovative camera that allows you to watch over your pet 24/7 and even interact with them when you’re away. Not to mention, you also get access to smart alerts, video history, and an online vet service.

Furthermore, you might also want to check out the new Petcube Cam 360. This camera features 1080p HD live streaming video and full-room coverage with its 105-degree wide-angle view. If you want to see up close, the camera also can zoom 8x to detect even the smallest signs and symptoms that your dog may be experiencing.

Causes of Puppy Strangles in Dogs

So what causes puppy strangles? Considered an idiopathic disease, the cause of puppy strangles is yet unknown, and symptoms may show spontaneously. Evidence suggests that the disease may be immune-related, appearing to be caused by a dysfunction in the immune system. Also, because it is more common in certain breeds, the condition may be hereditary.

Treatment of Puppy Strangles in Dogs

Puppy strangle treatment involves immune suppression. Because the condition is immune-mediated with no specific cause, corticosteroids such as prednisone may be needed in high doses. The reason for this is that the immune system is behaving aggressively, which must be managed.

Treatment may also involve treating secondary issues. For example, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed for inflammation. On the other hand, antibiotics may be needed if secondary infections arise.

When the hyperactive immune system calms down, rapid improvement usually occurs.

How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment

Puppy strangle disease may make your dog susceptible to infections. Some infections could be severe, leading to emergencies. And because you never know when a pet emergency might occur, it is encouraged to find ways to prepare for the unexpected, even if we hope these things won’t happen.

Pet emergency costs may skyrocket if you don’t have insurance or an emergency fund, not to mention all the stress that goes along with wanting your pet to receive the treatment that they desperately need. In critical times, it is important to have support and a financial net for your pet’s treatment.

Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund was created to help pets and pet owners during unexpected pet emergencies in many ways. First of all, it welcomes dogs and cats regardless of age, breed, and medical history. Second, it offers up to $3000 a year for pet emergencies for up to six pets.

And if you’re worried about having to shell out money to pay for treatment, you won’t have to with a Pet Emergency Fund subscription because they pay the vet clinic directly. Not only that. A subscription also gives you access to a 24/7 online vet service, so you can ask any questions you may have about your pet’s condition.

As an exclusive treat to our blog readers, we are offering a deal not to be missed — 27% off on subscriptions if you follow this link.


Is puppy strangles contagious?

Thankfully, puppy strangles are not contagious to other dogs, animals, or humans.

What are the long-term effects of puppy strangles?

The main possible long-term effect of puppy strangles is scarring, especially around the eyes. On the other hand, it may also cause permanent hair loss.


It may be jarring to hear the term “puppy strangles” or dog juvenile cellulitis, but this rare condition that commonly occurs in puppies is treatable, especially if detected early on. Appearing to be linked to autoimmune hereditary issues, immune suppression is typically prescribed to manage the immune response.

As soon as you notice symptoms that may point to puppy strangles, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan for your pup.

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