Puppy Strangles in Adult Dog
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Thread: Puppy Strangles in Adult Dog

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Exclamation Puppy Strangles in Adult Dog

    My 21 month old Maltipoo, Sandy, is the baby of our family. She's spoiled rotten, and always very well taken care of. She has never had any health issues, until 4 days ago.

    4 days ago, my fiance noticed red bumps all over her nose, mouth and eye. Her ears were also affected. We immediately brought her to a vet nearby, who thought that it might be cancer, or an auto-immune disorder. She was prescribed an antibiotic, an anti-histamine (in case it was a severe allergic reaction), and a topical cream. The anti-histamine made Sandy so drowsy that it was hard to tell if she was feeling any better or not. Today, it was obvious that the medications were not helping, and that she was not improving. The bumps were growing larger, and her eyes were so swollen she could barely open them.

    I took Sandy back to the vet, who immediately sent us to a veterinary dermatologist. The new vet took one look at Sandy, and ordered a biopsy. She also said that she thought it might be puppy strangles, which would actually be the best case scenario as it is curable. Puppy strangles is extremely rare in adult dogs, but a sign of the condition are swollen lymph nodes, which do not usually appear in most auto-immune disorders. 3 biopsies later, Sandy was prescribed a high dose of steroids, as well as new antibiotics.

    Puppy strangles usually goes along with a fever, and a lethargic and depressed dog. Sandy has barely been eating her regular food, but she's eating lots of yummy treats! She's also not drinking as much water as usual. It's hard to tell if she's depressed or if the anti-histamine is just making my usually energetic dog drowsy.

    Does anyone have any experience in puppy strangles? I would love to know how long it takes a dog to recover once a course of steroids has been started. I know that steroids are given for a couple of months, but I'm concerned as to when the bumps and swollen eyes will start to die down. My poor baby looks miserable, and I get so sad just looking at her!

    Thanks in advance,
    Emelie and Sandy the dog

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  3. #2
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    Re: Puppy Strangles in Adult Dog

    I'm sure this is the exact answer you didn't want, but, it depends on the pup.

    Some of these guys can be so dang frustrating to treat, others will enter remission after only a few weeks. You're correct in that a typical case will require a few months of prednisone. Even if the lumps and bumps don't exactly disappear soon, I think you could expect your dog to feel relief pretty soon. Dogs with skin diseases CAN feel a ton of relief from the steroids (if they're appropriate) even if the "outer" signs don't really indicate resolution of the problem.

    Odd though that he would develop this at nearly 2 years of age. I think the normal range is up to 25ish weeks.

    I hope this works out for you. Do keep us posted as I would personally like to follow this and hear how it turns out.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Mason's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy Strangles in Adult Dog

    I do have experience with this, as my dog was diagnosed at 5 months old. Granted, it wasn't nearly that severe. Caught early, I guess. He had severely swollen lymph nodes over the shoulders and in the arm pits, and some mild redness/puffiness around the eyes and mouth. For him, it took only a couple of weeks to see the outward signs vanish. Took quite a bit longer for the lymph nodes to shrink, however. Somewhere in the ball park of 2-3 months.

    I like to think, however, that the extended difficulty with the lymph nodes was due to the fact that not only was he battling puppy strangles, but also (as they discovered in a thinning patch on his cheek, near the end of prednisone treatment) the beginnings of what blew up into a lovely case of generalized demodex. His lymph nodes still swell at the slightest little thing. It freaks me out every time.

    I'm NOT saying your dog is going to end up with demodex. It was an unfortunate thing that happened, messing with the developing immune system of a growing puppy. I'm just sharing my experience.

    I hope your pup has a speedy recovery! As Mr V. said.. keep us posted!

  5. #4
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    Re: Puppy Strangles in Adult Dog

    Thank you both for the responses!

    In a way, I guess it's better that Sandy is a bit older as her immune system is more developed to handle the steroids. The treatment is working pretty quickly - we just started her on the steroids last night, and her eyes are already a lot less swollen and the bumps have started to go down as well. Sandy seems to be in much better spirits, she is still pretty lethargic but is greeting everyone enthusiastically. I'll keep you updated with the results of the biopsies when they come in.

    Thanks again!

  6. #5
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    Re: Puppy Strangles in Adult Dog

    Hi There,

    Hi, I hope that all turned out well with your puppy.

    I was just wondering how Sandy did with therapy. My 1 year old Mini Poodle is going through very similar symtoms. It started with a huge swollen lymph node in his neck. I took him to ER immediately and then to my vet the next day. He was given antibiotics. The next day his eyelids started swelling and over the course of a week he had lesions on his eyelids, mouth, ears, and penis. We also started giving him a small dose of prednisone which has helped the swollen lymph node go down. The sores are pretty bad and have now begun crusting over. Vet said yesterday that she believes this is Puppy Strangles and upped the prednisone dose. Like your pup, mine has been pretty peppy, but drinks less water and is not interested in regular food. He will eat treats and boiled chicken. He still plays fetch and gets excited when he sees me.

    Did Sandy make a full recovery? Any problems with kidney/liver from the prednisone? I am sick with worry about my baby. Any reassurance will be appreciated.

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