Juvenile Cellulitis: A Puppy’s Ultimate Struggle

Content courtesy of Pet Education and Fido’s City Guide

Juvenile cellulitis is an infection among puppies between the ages of 3 to 16 weeks. Puppy breeds that are easily infected by the disease include Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Dachshunds, Gordon Setters, and Lhasa Apsos. As you can see, it can also infect Mastiffs like SkarFace above.

The cause of the disease is still unknown but some evidence shows that it may be hereditary. Others say that it is due to an abnormality or dysfunction in the immune system of the said puppies. Taking good care of these young pets would require you to administer the right treatments and healthcare in order to protect them from the adverse effects of this skin disease.


Juvenile cellulitis, or also called puppy strangles, usually affects the ears, face, and the corner of a puppy’s jaw. The face, especially the eyelids, the lips and the muzzle, become swollen. Breaks and cracks appear on these affected areas as the disease progresses. The corner of the puppy’s jaw where submandibular lymph nodes are located also swell leading puppies to have difficulties in swallowing and eating.

Sometimes, the puppy has difficulty eating and swallowing because of the enlarged lymph nodes. Puppies infected by the disease are usually quiet and suffer from fever, are depressed, and will not eat. Papules or small round bulges start to appear as the disease worsens and these papules break, open and turn into crusts on the puppy’s skin. The submandibular lymph nodes enlarge and may abscess and drain. These infections usually become painful after a certain amount of time. Once this condition was untreated, scarring and permanent loss of hair will occur but the ultimatum will still be death.

Causes & Risks

The cause of juvenile cellulitis is unknown, but is thought to be an immune system abnormality. There is some evidence that the condition can be hereditary. If left untreated, some puppies can die from this condition. Scarring and permanent hair loss can occur.


Other names associated with juvenile cellulitis are puppy strangles, puppy glad disease and juvenile pyoderma. Aggressive medical examinations and treatments should be done at once to puppies infected by the said disease otherwise it will all be too late. A high dosage of Corticosteroids is the main medication given to the puppies. The treatment is done for 3 to 4 weeks and the puppies will gradually respond to the medication during this timeframe. Antibiotics, such as cephalexin, amoxicillin clavulanate, and the likes, can also be prescribed if a secondary bacterial infection is detected. This treatment should be done as early as possible otherwise the scarring of the infected area may become severe.