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Puppy Strangles

July 17th, 2010, 10:38 PM
Hi everyone,

I had to take my new puppy to the vet today and I found out she is suffering from Puppy Strangles. the vet was very good about giving me info and I looked up the condition online.

Cally is my very first puppy, Ive had her less than 2 weeks. She is a 14 week old Maltese.

I was wondering if anyone has gone through this with their puppy before. I feel so bad for her and I dont know what to do. The vet prescribed steroids and anti-biotics for her.

Any insights or comments are welcome

Cally's Mom

July 17th, 2010, 10:43 PM
Welcome, CallysMom!

We had an adult dog with folliculitis a few years ago. We were told that her infection was very similar to puppy strangles. I'm so sorry you're going through this! The good news, though, is that our Ridge recovered fully with only minimal scarring.

Here's a link to the thread about her folliculitis:

How badly is Cally broken out? :(

July 17th, 2010, 10:47 PM
I found this informative article...I'll post the link here in case you haven't seen it yet. I thought the mention of Glucosamine to be important.

Sending lots of healing vibes that Cally recovers fully as quickly as possible :goodvibes:.

July 17th, 2010, 10:56 PM
I wish he would have explained the Glucosamine mention more, LP! Any idea why it's beneficial?

July 18th, 2010, 12:45 PM
Thank you for the info, Ill ask my vet about the glucosamine next time I go see him.

July 21st, 2010, 09:21 PM
Just a little update...
Cally is doing much better. The swelling on her face is almost all gone and the crusty sores around her eyes all fell off. She looks alot better.
She also has a bit more energy today, giving me lots of kisses and actually playing with toys for a few minutes. She also begged for a few treats.

Thanks everyone for the good vibes, they seem to be helping lots!

July 21st, 2010, 09:26 PM
Oh, good girl, Cally!!! :highfive:

Such a good update!! Does eating seem to be painful for her, or does she just not have much of an appetite?

July 21st, 2010, 09:53 PM
She seems to be eating fine. Im giving her a bit more wet food cause she really seems to like it and I want to make sure she eats enough. She is eating 2-3 times a day a good 2-3 tablespoons of food. (Remember, she only weighs 2.6lbs so she doesnt need too much food lol)

July 21st, 2010, 10:05 PM
So glad to hear of your pup's improvement, CallysMom :goodvibes:.

I wish he would have explained the Glucosamine mention more, LP! Any idea why it's beneficial?

Years ago, I remember a vet discussing how steroids can cause problems in the joints, especially in growing puppies. He mentioned glucosamine use to be beneficial during steroid use. I don't remember the details exactly but CallysMom mention of steroids brought it to mind.

July 21st, 2010, 10:15 PM
That does make sense, LP!

Holy catz, CallysMom! 2.6 pounds!? :D She is a wee little darlin', isn't she!! :lovestruck:

March 14th, 2012, 02:09 PM
I'm so happy I found this thread. I've been trying for about 2 weeks now to find someone else who has a puppy with the same condition as mine.
This was referred to me from a user on a different forum I've been posting on trying to find someone who went through this.

March 14th, 2012, 02:54 PM
How is your puppy responding to the meds, bookwormgirl? I can take a very long time before things start to clear up...and it seems even longer than that when you're worried about your pup. :o

March 14th, 2012, 08:03 PM
The first two or three days worked wonders.
Her eyes cleared right up, her ears are lightening up, she gained weight very fast. She was afraid of walking and after the first day of meds we had her starting to walk and the second day she was running.
We have been going to the vet almost weekly- and he's lowered her steroid dosage.
She's gotten a big belly (which I read was a side effect of the medication). Her lymph nodes got more swollen but are a little bit smaller each day.
We did have to buy her a cone to keep her from scratching her face while it is healing up or rubbing the neosporin off.
She still has quite an ear infection.
-When I worry about most is the lumps that keep forming on her back. She gets one or two new ones every day (about the size of a quarter but round) and at least one pops every day.
She doesn't seem to feel these which is good.
I also worry about her face not growing hair back where her scarring is. I haven't found any pictures of grown dogs that had scarring when they were a puppy.. and it looks pretty bad. There's no hair around her mouth or muzzle and barely any on the top of her nose. And now there's not much hair around her eyes either.

I also don't know how long it's going to take the condition as a whole to heal, or how careful I'm going to have to be with her while she's older (since her immune system is weaker) compared to other dogs.

March 14th, 2012, 09:50 PM
Ridge had a case of adult folliculitis, quite similar to puppy strangles. It took a couple of months before we could free her of the cone. She was on pain meds and antibiotics (no steroids) from early Jan of 2008 until mid-March. We were told at the time that it's not unusual to need 12 wks of antibiotics to clear it up so it may just be a matter of patience to let things work. Is your vet concerned that she's still getting the lumps along her back?

As for the scarring, here's a picture of Ridge at the first outbreak on 1-8-08:

Again after almost a month had gone by and the healing had begun in earnest 2-2-08:

And how she looked last October. You can see that she healed quite well and the hair pretty much all grew back. Unless you look very closely, you don't really notice the pitting.

We bolstered Ridge's immune system with an omega-3 / omega-6 supplement (we used Lipiderm--it comes in oil form and you just drizzle the proper amount over their food). The omega-6 oils work on the immune system while the omega-3 oils helped condition her skin. She no longer takes it except in winter (when all our dogs are on it to prevent dry skin) and seems to be doing just fine. :thumbs up

Did you see the link luckypenny posted above?

I found this informative article...I'll post the link here in case you haven't seen it yet. I thought the mention of Glucosamine to be important.

It might answer a few more of your questions. :)

March 19th, 2012, 10:11 AM
The vet said it was a normal symptom and didn't seem worried about it.
She just had another one pop last night that she'd had for about 4 days.
She didn't notice it at all but since a large amount of liquid was expelled my boyfriend and I got a little freaked out. More freaked out than the dog!

The omega 3 and omega 6 suppliments sound like such a good idea!
Her muzzle is finally starting to scab over now that she's in the cone. But there is no sign of hair growth yet and her poor little face is all dry.
I think we should continue to put neosporin on it to reduce the scarring but my boyfriend thinks it'll just moisten it and make it worse or itchier. Any thoughts on what would be best?

She's down to 1/4 of a steroid pill every other day now and antibiotics every other day. Her next appointment is friday so cross your fingers for us!

I'm a little worried that she's still not allowed outside and it might delay her potty training or that she won't be as socialized with dogs or children etc since we didn't start her early.
However--- I'm usually a worry wart.

March 19th, 2012, 01:26 PM
She's not allowed out at all, or just not off-leash? How are you handling the potty training so far?

As for the socialization, definitely get her started as soon as she's able to interact. Does she seem reactive at all because she's wearing the cone? If she's not, maybe introducing her to calm, older children would be okay at this point.

I can't remember what they told us about putting creams on Ridge's lesions or scabs. I'm pretty sure we didn't use anything. Your vet should be able to advise on what's best--that's a good question for Friday. :D

I hope you get good news on Friday! :goodvibes: Keep us posted, pls!

March 26th, 2012, 12:31 PM
She's not allowed to be out of the house at all he says.
Potty training is a huge pain in the butt, and I feel weird training her to go on paper when she's just going to have to re-learn it to go outside so soon.

She's fine with the cone- except when she needs to itch she gets a little feisty. We have some neighborhood children that saw her once and loved petting her, but almost all of them said her face made them feel bad.

At her appointment we found out she gained 3.4 lbs since the last time she was weighed (about a week and a half before.) She got the same amount of antibiotics prescribed to her, But the vet upped her steroid meds to every day again. He also thought she was fine enough to get some worm medication.

We have to go back again on Friday and the vet said he would ask the other vet who does the vaccinations if he thinks her immune system will be good enough to handle them by next week.. (which if she get's them I can bring my dog back home. Which will be an interesting experiment- seeing how they both get along.)

March 26th, 2012, 07:00 PM
Weight gain is good in this case! :D How old is your other dog? Just be aware that dogs with cones on tend to gore those without...not on purpose, just trying to sniff them. I'm not sure that introducing them while Cally is still in the cone is a good idea. How is the healing coming along? Any idea how much longer she'll need the cone?

Aw, I'll bet she loved meeting those kids!!!

March 27th, 2012, 09:17 AM
My other dog Willow is going to be 2 at the end of May. We had her living with us for a few weeks after we moved and saw Ruto the night we brought her home. The next day when we found out what the puppy had we asked my parents to take care of her for a while.

hahaha yeah we've completely noticed all the danger that the cone can inflict. In fact, I think little Ru has found out how to swing it to crack us in the head when we try to take her somewhere she doesn't want to go.
She's turning into quite the little diva.

There isn't swelling in her face anymore but there's still a lot of scabbing and peeling. Her ears aren't discharging as much and her eyes are only discharging after she wakes up. We've noticed tiny hairs growing back on her muzzle. She is getting itchier than she was-which I take as a sign of healing- but then gets very irritable if she can't scratch. She cries and howls a little and then wants to bite on our fingers and have a little tantrum against the humans. I can't blame her though. If I was that itchy I'd go a little crazy too.

I'd say she has At LEAST another 2 weeks before we take away the cone.
Her face is pretty bad, I think it would have healed by now if she hadn't scratched the first round of scabbing off.

March 27th, 2012, 01:05 PM
Be careful of her trying to rub her face on the ground past the edge of the cone--Ridge learned that trick while she was healing. :frustrating: The thing that seemed to help the most with the itching was painkillers. NSAIDs just seem to help them relax--they take the edge off. Maybe your vet can make a suggestion? It does sound like she's healing well, though. Have the lesions along her back dried up, as well?

April 2nd, 2012, 12:31 PM
She hasn't had any lately- but the hair still isn't growing back where she had them.
The vet said her scabbing looked better and he hoped her hair would grow back soon.. (I was like "HOPE?! It better grow back!")
I also bought a big bottle of fish oil and give her a tablespoon in her food when she eats (twice a day). The skin showing around her face seems smoother and in better condition. Hopefully this will minimize scarring and help the hair grow back.
She's being weaned off steroids now and after she runs our of her doses of both medications we are supposed to wait a few days (to make sure it doesn't flare back up again) and then call and schedule the appointment for her vaccinations.
I don't think I've seen one picture online of a dog with puppy strangles that has scarring as bad as she does though.. so I'm pretty worried about hair growth.

May 16th, 2012, 06:53 PM
Hey bookwormgirl, how is your dog doing with the puppy strangles? I just got myself a little golden retriever puppy and he had come down with a case of it a few days before I picked him up from the breeders (which was on 5/4/12). After a few days on meds he seemed to be on the mend, but then within the past week it seems to have gotten worse. A lot probably had to do with him rubbing his face on the grass whenever he was outside and I unfortunately let him, not knowing it would lead to it getting worse. He's been on steroids and antibiotcs the whole time (his steroid dosage got increased over the weekend) and has been in a cone for over a week too. The scabbing around his mouth, muzzle, and nose is pretty bad and it doesn't seem to be getting any better day-by-day. Has anyone noticed improvement by applying neosporin or anything like that? I'm worried about him trying to lick it off if I put it around his mouth. This his him on Monday (5/14/12).