Canine Juvenile Cellulitis

Canine Juvenile Cellulitis, also known as Puppy Strangles, is a nodular and pustular skin disorder that affects puppies. It would normally occur between the ages of three weeks and four months, and is rarely seen in adult dogs. The puppies face, pinnae (outer part of the ear), and salivary lymph nodes are the most common parts of the body to be affected. The cause of this condition is unknown, but there are certain breeds that have been shown to be predisposed to this condition, including golden retrievers and dachshunds.
  • Acute sudden and severely swollen face – especially the eyelids, lips, and muzzle
  • Pustular ear infection
  • Lesions often become crusted
  • Affected skin is usually tender
  • Salivary gland lymphadenopathy: a disease process affecting a lymph node or multiple      lymph nodes
  • Marked pustular and oozing skin disease; develops within 24–48 hours
  • Loss of appetite, fever, and presence of sterile suppurative arthritis in 25 percent of cases (acute inflammation of membranes, with leaking into a joint, due to bacterial infection)
  • Sterile pustular nodes (rare) over the trunk, reproductive organs, or on the area around the anus; lesions may appear as fluctuating nodules under the skin with fistulation
  • Lethargy normally found within 50% of puppies affected


What causes Canine Juvenile Cellulitis is currently unknown, however an inherited immune dysfunction is most likely.


Your veterinarian will conduct a skin biopsy (tissue sample) to determine what is causing the lesions.


If your puppy is diagnosed with puppy strangles, early and aggressive therapy will be required to avoid severe scarring. Your veterinarian may prescribe a topical (external) ointment to soothe and ease the pain, and as an supplement to corticosteroid medication ( often known as steroids, are an anti-inflammatory medicine prescribed for a wide range of conditions ). In rare resistant cases, chemotherapy may be required. Adult dogs with panniculitis (inflammation under the skin) may require longer therapy. Antibiotics may also be prescribed if there is evidence of a secondary bacterial infection.

After treatment
Most cases do not recur, but scarring may be a permanent problem, especially around the eyes.