Dog Disease - Juvenile Cellulitis

Juvenile cellulitis is commonly known as puppy strangles. Although it is an uncommon disease, but it is quite serious and affects the face, ear, and lymph nodes located near the corner of the jaw. The cause of this dog disease is not yet known but is assumed to be a n abnormality of the immune system. It is also believed that this disease might be hereditary.

Dacshunds, Golden Retrievers, Gordon setters, Lhasa Apsos, Pointers, Siberian Huskies,  and yellow Labrador Retrievers are the breeds commonly affected by this dog disease. However, other breeds can also suffer from this.

Signs of Juvenile Cellulitis
Puppies as young as 3-4 months suffer from this dog disease. However, this may be reported in adults occasionally. Several puppies or just one in the litter may be affected. Initially the inner surface of the ear is covered with vesicles or pustules. These may also be found on the lips, muzzle and eyelids and thereafter develop into facial swelling, draining lesions and abscesses.

Sometimes the lymph nodes may also abscess and drain. Also in some cases because of panniculitis nodules may develop over the penis, anus areas and trunk. Puppies are normally depressed and loss appetite because of fever. Extensive lesions may lead to permanent scarring.

Diagnosis of Juvenile Cellulitis
Diagnosis of this dog disease is based on:
  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Cytological examination
  • Skin biopsy
  • Response to therapy
  • Skin scrapings to rule out demodicosis
  • Bacterial culture
Treatment of Juvenile Cellulitis
Puppies suffering from juvenile cellutitis should be treated soon to avoid scarring. Normally high doses of corticosteroids and bactericidal antibiotics are given for a period of 3-4 weeks. When secondary bacterial infection is suspected then antibiotics are given. You must refer to a veterinarian. Generally a veterinarian would recommend gently soaking the area with dilute aluminum acetate or dilute chlorhexidine. Normally the disease is completely cured. However, owners must be prepared for permanent scarring.