Puppy Strangles

by Molly Strosnider
(Albuquerque, NM)

Puppy With Possible Case of Strangles

Puppy With Possible Case of Strangles

Hello I have a 9 month old teacup chihuahua and I have taken him into vet three times in the past month. My puppy who is 3 pounds stopped wanting to play and became lethargic. The Veterinary Doctor put him on steroids and antibiotics and something for his diarrhea.

He then began eye drainage and was still lethargic so I took him back in and was told he possibly may have lymphoma. I finished giving him his meds and there was no improvement so I took him back in. The Vet then says my dog has puppy strangles but he has no pustules and his appetite is great. We make sure to keep him from getting dehydrated so we make sure he is drinking water a lot. The only thing that makes me think the vet is right is the large lymph nodes, fever, chills, and possible hair loss.

He has no pustules and no sores on his body except maybe some hair loss.

Does this sound like puppy strangles?

I just don’t want him to die because he has helped me through a very hard time in my life and I have to make sure he has a good chance at life as he has given me. This little guy weighs 3 lbs, and just recently won’t stop licking anything.

I was thinking maybe he is looking for salt.

Please help me so I can get this pup all the necessary care!

Thanks for your time and help.

Thanks again,


Editor Suggestion on Symptoms that may be related to Puppy Strangles

Hi Molly,

I'm truly sorry to hear about your puppy's health problems.

Puppy strangles, also known as juvenile cellulitis, is typically characterized by swelling of the lymph nodes, pustules, and sores. However, it can sometimes present without pustules, and the other symptoms you've mentioned (lethargy, eye drainage, enlarged lymph nodes, fever, chills, hair loss) could potentially align with this diagnosis.

For reference when diagnosing puppy strangles (juvenile cellulitis), the symptoms can be shared with several other conditions:

Lymphoma or Other Cancers: These can cause
enlarged lymph nodes and lethargy but are rare in such young dogs.

Infectious Diseases: Various bacterial or fungal infections can cause symptoms that might mimic puppy strangles.

Parasitic Infestations: Mites or other parasites might cause skin issues and hair loss.

Allergies: Allergic reactions to food, environmental allergens, or insect bites can create skin issues and general malaise.

Autoimmune Disorders: Certain autoimmune conditions might cause swollen lymph nodes and other symptoms resembling puppy strangles.

Demodectic Mange: This condition might lead to hair loss and skin irritation, which could be confused with puppy strangles.

Hypothyroidism: Though uncommon in puppies, it can lead to lethargy and hair loss.

It sounds like your veterinarian considered all of the above.

Given the conflicting opinions you've received from your vet, it may be prudent to seek a second opinion from another veterinarian, preferably one with specialized experience in diagnosing and treating small breeds like teacup Chihuahuas. This should include a thorough examination, blood tests, and perhaps even a biopsy of the lymph nodes to definitively diagnose or rule out conditions such as lymphoma or puppy strangles.

Get the records from your Vet so you don't have to repeat the tests that were conducted. Any veterinarian will want to do a thorough veterinary examination, including blood work and possibly other diagnostic tests so that they can provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan for your puppy's specific situation.

In the meantime, continue to monitor your puppy's hydration and appetite and follow your veterinarian's instructions. The licking behavior could be due to many factors, including nutritional deficiencies, underlying medical issues, or even behavioral concerns, so that's something to discuss with the vet as well.

Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions here. Remember, a hands-on examination by a qualified veterinarian is the best way to understand your pet's health and get proper treatment.

Wishing your puppy a quick recovery!

Editor and Publisher
Dog Health Guide

Please note: This information is intended to complement, not replace, the advice of your pet's veterinarian. Always consult a vet for professional medical advice about your pet's health.

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