Puppy Strangles

A Simple Guide on “Puppy Strangles,” and How to Deal with it.

Puppy strangles (juvenile cellulitis or pyoderma) is a classical disease because evidence shows that it has been around since at least the middle ages. Puppy strangles was first described in a 13th-century text. Even though this disease is an old one, it’s not a common one. Puppy strangles can suddenly come up when your puppy is between the ages of 3 weeks and 6 months.

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What is Puppy Strangles?

Puppy strangles (also known as Juvenile Cellulitis) is a rare skin condition that can affect puppies between 3 weeks and 6 months. But very rarely, puppy strangles can also affect adult dogs. Researches have shown that sometimes, juvenile cellulitis has affected dogs that are 4 years old. Studies show that 25% of puppies that get affected may have a fever, swollen joints, and lethargy (means lack of energy and enthusiasm).  And in rare cases, puppy strangle can even be fatal since this disease has an 8.1% mortality rate.

What causes puppy strangles?

The exact cause of puppy strangles is not clear. But experts suggest that this is an abnormality of the immune system. Most puppy strangles cases are found to be an inflammatory immune process. This means that juvenile cellulitis was caused by the puppy’s immune system attacking its own skin. Therefore, juvenile cellulitis is not a contagious disease.

You can learn more about the causation of puppy strangles from this link.

Symptoms of Puppy Strangles

  • Severe swelling of the face

One of the first signs of juvenile cellulitis is sudden swelling of the face. This swelling can be followed by the below-mentioned symptoms.

You can learn more about the swelling of the face and bumps from this video.

  • Appetite loss and difficulty eating

If your puppy has puppy strangles, then they might have lost their appetite. They won’t eat much, and also, your puppy might have difficulty swallowing. It can cause by severe swelling of the face.

  • Joint pain

Your puppy may suffer from joint pain. This pain will primarily affect leg joints. Because of that, your puppy will be inactive and wouldn’t move much like a usual puppy.

  • Panic Attack and Depression

Your puppy might get depression and panic attacks due to juvenile cellulitis. You can learn more about panic attacks and depression related to puppies and dogs from this article on Can Dogs Have Panic Attacks.

  • Hair loss

Your puppy will start to shed more hair than usual. This will lead to bold spots, especially in the areas that get bumps and pimples.

  • Low energy level

Due to lack of food and joint pains, the puppy will have a low energy level. As a result, puppy will not play much and will always try to sleep or lay down.

Puppy Strangles long term effects.

The majority of cases, puppy strangles get cured fully with prompt treatment. But if it doesn’t work, then longer-term therapy will be needed but keep in mind that that is highly uncommon.

But if not treated juvenile cellulitis right away, severe wounds develop on the face (especially around the eyes), those scars can be permanent. But keep in mind that these are just scars, and won’t affect your puppy’s quality of life in the slightest.

Puppy Strangles

Is Puppy Strangles is contagious?

Not at all. As mentioned above, juvenile cellulitis is autoimmune in nature. That means the puppy’s immune system produces antibodies or lymphocytes that cause this disease. So therefore, this is a condition that comes from within the puppy. But the symptoms may look contagious, especially the swelling of the face and the rash-looking bumps and pimples. But this disease is not contagious at all.

How to treat Puppy Strangles?

The most popular treatment for puppy strangles is administering high doses of oral corticosteroids (prednisone).  This will suppress the immune system. These oral corticosteroids will be given over several weeks while being monitored by a professional. This treatment will start with a high dose and will be reduced over time. Usually, the condition will get cured in 10 – 14 days and won’t reoccur.

If the condition gets severe, then long-term therapy will be required. As mentioned above, only 8.1% of cases can be fatal. But it can cause lifetime scars on swelled areas of the face.

How to prevent Puppy Strangles?

There is no way of preventing puppy strangles. But luckily, juvenile cellulitis is entirely curable. If you identify it in an early stage (which is easy since the first symptoms are hard to miss), it can be cured without any complications. And it won’t have any lifelong effects also.


  • Can humans catch puppy strangles?

Absolutely not. Since this is autoimmune in nature, humans or any other animal can’t catch juvenile cellulitis from a puppy.

  • Should you breed a dog that has puppy strangles?

Experts suggest that it’s better not to breed a dog that has had puppy strangles. The reason for this is that this is an autoimmune disease (a health problem that comes within the body).  Studies also have shown that juvenile cellulitis can be inherited. Hence, it’s your responsibility not to breed your dog if you know they have had juvenile cellulitis.

  • Is puppy strangles contagious to other animals?

NO. Since this is an autoimmune disease, puppy strangles is not contagious at all. No animal can catch this disease from a puppy.

Puppy Strangles