Puppy Strangles PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Nesbitt   
Thursday, 13 May 2010 00:00

The signs and symptoms of puppy strangles generally appear as sudden painful swelling of the eyelids, lips, ears and face, around the front of the muzzle and under the chin. This article will describe to breeders, owners and veterinarians who have never experienced a puppy with Puppy Strangles just what one can expect to see in such a puppy. Puppy Strangles commonly occurs in puppies between 4 weeks and 4 months of age.

From what little information exists, it is believed to occur in a puppy with an immature immune system. Concurrent bacterial infection is common, although the use of antibiotic therapy alone is mostly ineffective. Most importantly, the disease appears to respond to immunosuppresive therapy, via oral corticosteroids such as prednisone and prednisolone. It is my belief that people or veterinarians who also have never seen this, may assume it is not treatable and even euthanize the puppy. One of the most important things is to never, ever force the pustules open.

On examination the lymph nodes are typically enlarged, especially around the neck and under the jaw. The eyelids swell and there is visible pus in the eye, but the eye itself is not affected. The lower lid droops with the swelling. The small lumps around the muzzle, under the chin and in the ears sometimes can develop ulcerating and draining which can extend into the adjacent lymph nodes of the face and upper neck. In the recent case I had with a Norfolk puppy, the facial and ear lumps did not open up and drain.

They stayed very small and fairly hard to the touch. Those in the creases of the lips did open and bleed occasionally as the puppy ate, and also as they dried up. The disease starts suddenly, often but not always, approximately three weeks after the puppies in a litter receive their first vaccinations. In our case, the litter was born on July 29, 2004 and received their first vaccines of DHPP on Sept.9, 2004. One puppy was affected, while the other two had no symptoms. The following is how we treated the puppy, and we hope it will help people understand the Amechanics of treatment.

On Sept. 28- 2004 Rosebud presented with her right eye swollen with pus coming from it. There was no fever. Our veterinarian did a swab of the pus and feeling it might be a staph or strep infection started her on Clavamox drops and Neobacimyx HC ointment in the eye.

Sept. 30- The puppy was much worse. Back to the vet with a fever of 103.7 degrees in the morning, lethargic and crying when we touched her eye. We weighed the puppy and started her on prednisone 01.25 mg twice a day.. We had her on the Clavamox drops at 0.4ml twice a day, along with the eye ointment.

Oct. 1- Back to the vet with fever 102.0 degrees, which is normal. Changed the prednisone to 2.5 mg twice a day. It was painful for her to open her mouth. Prednisone was given in cheese. She took a little A/D canned food. She now had developed lumps all over her chin and around the muzzle and lips.

October 2- To vet again. Rosebud was not eating and was now dehydrated. Gave her a bolus of 25 ml of Lactated Ringers Solution subcutaneously. The strangles (lymph nodes) went down her throat, making it too painful to swallow.

Oct. 3- Rosebud seemed better and was more playful for short periods. I hand fed her scrambled egg and also gave her 1 1/2cc honey for energy and strength. Still giving her the antibiotic and the eye ointment.

Oct. 4- Vet saw her and said to continue with the 2.5 mg prednisone twice a day .

Oct. 6- Rechecked by other vet who also said to continue the 2.5 mg prednisone through the 9th and then to give her 01.25 prednisone twice a day for five days.

Oct. 16- Vet checked her and said to continue 01.25 mg prednisone twice a day for five more days.

Oct. 20- Vet checked Rosebud and said to go to 01.25 mg prednisone tablet once a day. He increased the Clavamox to 1.5ml twice a day.

Oct. 25- I found a lump at the base of her neck and ran to the vet with her - probably a swollen lymph node. Nov. 2 - Vet checked her ears, which had dried up lumps from strangles, as well as a yeast problem.

I needed to add an earwash called Malaseb and put Quadrotrop in them. We clipped hair gently off her chin and lips, as food was sticking to the skin. Started to lightly scrub her skin on the chin and around her nose with Genta-spray on a gauze pad. Because the left eye had cleared up, we now only put the NeobacimyxHC in the original bad right eye. Nov. 12 - Stopped the eye ointment. Her ears were clean, dried up remains of the lumps were still there. Most of the lumps around her nose and on her chin were dried up. Continued to clean those areas with the Genta Spray once a day. Stopped the Clavamox drops. Continued to bring Rosebud to our vets until at least a month after she discontinued the prednisone. Then, hopefully can get her second and third vaccines with no problems.

Posted on Behalf of Susan W. DeWitt

 
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