Puppy strangles is extremely frightening to any dog owner that has witnessed this event first hand.
The first reaction is that your puppy has been stung by a bee or has some type of an allergic reaction as the puppy’s face.
This is especially true with the lips, their eyelids, chin and muzzle as all appear to swell at the same time.
It actually looks like someone or something is strangling the puppy.
But this is not an allergic reaction and if it left untreated it can very easily take the life of your puppy or it can cause permanent scarring or hair loss.
This condition is actually a disorder that has several different names simply because there has yet to be anyone that can definitely define what it actually is.
As a result the actual cause is still unknown.
It is also referred to as juvenile podyerma, cellulitis, or lymphadenitis.
This extremely wicked condition affects puppies between the ages of three weeks up to four months of age,
Many experts assume that it may be a heredity condition as it primarily affects Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Dachshunds, Lhasa Aspos, and Gordon Setters.
This disorder is usually a pustular or crusting dermatitis or some other type of a skin inflammation that is causing this swelling to occur.
Once it is full attack mode Pustules are usually found in the puppy’s ear, on their muzzle, as well as their lip.
The swelling on their muzzle is almost always extreme.
The pustules will begin to drain after a few days and will be replaced by scabs, and most dogs also develop swollen lymph nodes.
There is no actual known cause, but it is believed to be an immune system abnormality of some kind or some type of hypersensitivity.
There are a litany of symptoms that are associated with Puppy strangles other than the swelling and the pustules.
Ear infections also affect almost every puppy that has this condition.
The key signs to watch for an ear infection will a sudden odor that has developed, discharge in the ears, as well as redness or selling on the ear flap or canal.
However, the most obvious symptom other than scratching, especially in puppies, will be a violent shaking or tilting of their head as it is really hurting them.
The next symptoms of Puppy strangles will be swollen lymph nodes under your puppies jaw as well as a sudden and very high temperature.
This swelling can also cause your puppy to cough, drool, swallow repeatedly, and be very reluctant to eat anything.
Swollen lymph nodes will also affect your puppy’s joints, making it very painful for them to walk in some cases.
Other symptoms to watch for will be lesions on your puppy’s lips. No one knows for sure why, but it seems like the lips are almost always affected with this disorder.
But by far and away the most chilling symptom will be the nodules.
Nodules are a small mass of tissue that forms on your puppy’s body and they will almost resemble a knot, as they are very hard and are very easy to identify when you examine your puppies skin.
With this disorder they are almost always benign but what makes them so dangerous, is that they almost always affect a puppy’s hair follicles result in inflammation.
Once inflammation has developed, hair loss, sometimes massive, is the result.
Treatment for Puppy strangles can be very effective in most cases, if this condition is caught early in the development stage by watching and understanding the symptoms.
In some cases, antibiotic therapy alone will effectively treat it, but it is very rare.
In the majority of cases the treatment will have to consist of both antibiotics as well as steroids.
The most effective form of treatment is with prednisone but the dosage has to be very high.
Steroid medications always pose a risk and the dosages has to be extremely high with the thought process that this is an immune suppressive disorder and that has to be treated first.
However, there are potential side effects to this high dosage treatment in that it often affects a puppy’s gastrointestinal tract.
Gastrointestinal ulcerations are potential side effects and your puppy will have to be watched very closely.
They include any signs of vomiting or diarrhea, as well as a signs of the presence of blood in the stools.
This treatment will take at least 14 days in most cases to be effective.
Once the skin lesions in your pet has started to dry up, this treatment can be slowly be reduced until they dissipate.
However, there are some dogs that will not respond to this treatment either, and other steroids may have to be tried.
In these several cases, oral steroids will be used but they can be extremely dangerous to your puppy’s blood and possibly cause bone marrow suppression as well as liver inflammation.
When these drugs are used, usually azathioprine as a last resort, they may only have a 50 percent chance of success.
Topical drugs have been tried in some cases but they are extremely painful as well as present a very high risk of permanent scarring.
Puppy strangles is a vicious and very challenging disorder, and there are no known effective preventive measures.
Puppy’s immune systems are not fully developed when this disorder attacks.
The best preventive measures are to watch for and understand the symptoms as there is no effective way to build the system strong enough to withstand this onslaught.
Reacting very quickly may be the only chance that your puppy has in avoiding serious scarring or in very severe cases, surviving.