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Posted on July 27th, 2012, by

Juvenile Cellulitis is a serious disease which affects dogs and can represent a serious threat to their health and even life. Even though this disease is not fully researched and specialists (Scott, 1163) still argue on the nature and essence of this disease, the necessity of its immediate treatment is practically unarguable. At any rate, the delay in the beginning of the treatment of Juvenile Cellulitis may lead to extremely negative results and even the death of the animal affected by the disease. It is important to underline that puppies are the most susceptible to the development of this disease. Taking into consideration the serious impact on the health of dogs of Juvenile Cellulitis, it is necessary to clearly define the essence of the disease, its diagnosing and possible treatments that could be effective and lead to positive outcome without undesirable side-effects for the health of animals.

First of all, it should be said that Juvenile Cellulitis is a serious condition which affects the face, ears and submandibular lymph nodes, namely those located near the corner of the jaw (Feldman, 1059). At the same time, breeders often call this condition as “puppy strangles”¯, though the correct veterinary terminology would be Juvenile Cellulitis or pyoderma. In actuality, the cause of this condition is unknown but specialist (Mason and Jones, 642) believe that it is an immune system abnormality which leads to the development of Juvenile Cellulites. This indicates to the lack of information of this disease that naturally implies that vets do not have huge experience of the effective treatment of this disease nor effective methodologies which can cure animals absolutely effectively.

In fact, there were times when Juvenile Cellulitis was considered a death sentence for the animal, but the contemporary veterinary has made a considerable progress in the research of this disease and its treatment, though even the contemporary knowledge about the disease are not really sufficient and the efficiency of the treatment of Juvenile Cellulitis is often lower compared to the treatment of other serious but more researched and well-known conditions.

The puppet with Juvenile Cellulitis is typically between age four weeks and four months, though it can appear earlier or later, and the first sign may be the redness of the skin around the neck and head, with a particular flush of the ears. Tiny pustules will appear and edema is noticeable and alarming. The common name of “strangles”¯ probably came from the swelling of lymph nodes as the infection spreads, causing fear that the puppy will be unable to breath.

Ulceration of skin is common and it can cause scarring and permanent loss of hair.

It is important to underline that the early treatment can be life saving and certainly be essential if scarring is to be avoided. Pustules and infected lymph nodes can spread to other parts of the body and is not limited to head and neck. This condition is autoimmune in nature so the first treatment will be with corticosteroids to calm down the immune system reaction. Antibiotics are sometimes given immediately and will usually be a part of the treatment as it progresses and the infection sets in (Scott, 1165). The general presumption in secondary infection is that streptococcus, which may or may not grow when cultured, is the causative agent. Some veterinarians have recommended cleansing of the skin with hydrogen peroxide, chlorexidine or Burrow’s solution (White et al., 1610).

Cleansing may be palliative more than healing and should be done only by recommendation of the treating veterinarian, who may have other suggestions.

Regardless of the treatment protocol, this is the life threatening condition and immediate treatment by a professional veterinarian is essential and often it is the major condition of the successful outcome of the treatment, which may save the life of the dog. As with any “rash”¯, especially with a young pup, the observations made by the owner of the pup may not be accurate, but the more important element is that the early treatment will make a huge difference in the outcome. In this respect, it should be said that Demodicosis is only one of other possible causes of skin problems in puppies, most of which do not respond to the immunosuppressant therapy that is critical in treating Juvenile Cellulitis. The treatment will last at least for two weeks and may last for two months. During this time, exposure to other infections and diseases must be avoided because of the suppression of the immune system. Separating the infected pup from other dogs may prevent the spread of cross infection and hand rearing may be considered, though it is not always necessary so long as exposure to other disease can be prevented.

Furthermore, it should be said that while the condition may occur in more than one puppy in a litter, the disease is not contagious and occurs in other pups for the same reason as the one showing the first signs of the disease, i.e. a weak immune system (Scott, 1167). Certainly every effort should be made to avoid undue stress to the immune system as the pup grows older so the discussion of the owner of the dog with the veterinarian will include the protocol for administering the future vaccines and boosters. None of the available references discussed this issue and it should be raised before starting immunizations. Otherwise, undesirable side-effects or negative impact on the health of the dog could be observed. Dietary and other considerations will include boosting immunity.

Another issue is the future breeding of the dam and this is difficult because there is no available information on genetics and this problem still needs to be carefully researched in depth by veterinarians. However, specialists (Scott, 1167) underline that any dam needs a strong immune system to pass along to future generations. This is why consultations of the owner of the dog that has once suffered from Juvenile Cellulitis with his or her veterinarian before any future breedings should be planned and would be in order. In fact, a breeder who has such a pup in a litter should fully disclose the illness to those who purchase any other pup from the litter since there is a potential risk that the future generations of these dogs will also suffer from Juvenile Cellulitis, though it should be said one more time that the genetics of this disease is still under-researched. Hence, it is hardly possible to speak about any definite effect of Juvenile Cellulitis on future generations of dogs.

At the same time, as the breeder informs people who acquire puppets from the litter where at least one pup suffered from Juvenile Cellulitis, it would be in the best interest of all pups to be carefully reared with full knowledge that one or more pups had been ill. They can make wonderful pets and have a normal lifespan but it would be a poor ethics to omit the disclosure. Also, breeders should remember that, in any case, the discussion with professional veterinarians is needed in regard to the management of pups that suffer or have suffered from Juvenile Cellulitis.

Finally, it should be said that, as Juvenile Cellulitis is a rare condition, this disease is not always diagnosed in time.

What is meant here is the fact that it is very difficult to diagnose Juvenile Cellulitis in young pups, especially if the breeder does not call to a professional veterinarian. This period may crucial in the process of the progress of the disease. In this respect, it should be said that the disease is so severe that some specialists even justify the euthanasia of infected animals (Jeffers et al., 206). However, nowadays, this measure is considered to be rather extreme and radical, instead, veterinarians, as a rule, insist on the treatment of pups, which basically includes the use of corticosteroids and antibiotics. This is why it is important that the possibility of Juvenile Cellulitis be explored early, allowing for initiation of glucocorticoid therapy, which is contraindicated for the treatment of bacterial pyoderma.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that Juvenile Cellulitis is a very serious disease that may threaten to the life of the dog. In such a situation, the early diagnosing of the disease and the effective treatment conducted by professional veterinarians are crucial for the success of the treatment and survival of the animal.

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