Long-term prognosis for dogs with Puppy Strangles (Juvenile Cellulitis)

I was planning on welcoming a new puppy home, and I recently learned that she was diagnosed with Puppy Strangles (Juvenile Cellulitis). I’ve researched the condition as best I can since learning of the diagnosis, and much of what I’ve been able to find deals with immediate treatment and short-term recovery outcomes–I haven’t been able to find much in the way of what to expect across the lifespan, other than some rather vague indications that the condition typically doesn’t affect older dogs/doesn’t reoccur.
I am speaking with our vet later today.** In addition, I wanted to reach out here on the ‘Dope and see if there might be any vets, breeders, or others who might happen to have some expertise in this area. I’m hoping for as much factual info as I can get, but welcome any first-hand experiences/opinions, too.

In case it’s relevant, a little more information about the disease’s progression in the case of this particular puppy: she’s a ten week old Newfoundland and began developing symptoms a week ago and was immediately taken in for treatment. By the breeder’s* account and (and what I’ve read online) she has a super mild case which was caught extremely early and is responding well to treatment (prednisone). That said, her presentation was somewhat unusual in that only her lymph nodes were affected and she had no breakouts on her face and few elsewhere on her body. A biopsy coupled with the positive response to steroids has confirmed the diagnosis. She’s had no additional complications (e.g., bacterial infections) which are sometimes seen, and there are no concerns related to scarring or alopecia. She and all of her littermates (none of which were affected—she’s the only one) are otherwise totally healthy. Currently, she’s staying with the breeder who plans to keep her until she is totally weaned of the medication and remains symptom free for a few weeks. It’s up to me if I still want to take her once she’s better (which of course I’m already in love as I’ve been getting pictures of her each week as she’s grown, and been on a waitlist since August) or get my deposit back. So there’s been no pressure and tons of transparency on her side, making me have a lot of faith that the second-hand info I’m reporting is accurate.

Thanks very much for any information or advice you may have!

*Please no snark about adoption versus breeders. I’ve gotten pets from both sources and don’t want to engage on that topic right now.

It doesn’t recur, normally. If caught early there isn’t much scarring. Because it is probably an immune-mediated disorder, the affected dog should be taken out of the breeding pool.

Thanks, Ulfreida.

Do you know if other immune problems (or other issues) are more likely to occur down the road as compared to with a puppy that hadn’t had this condition early in life? I guess that’s my main concern.

We weren’t planning on breeding her (she’s to be a pet and potentially a therapy dog). However, I was curious about heritability more generally. The sources I’ve read say the cause is idiopathic, but that genetics are expected to play at least some role (as certain breeds/lines of dogs have Puppy Strangles cases more frequently). Thus, what are your thoughts about the likelihood of having this happen again with pups from the same dam or sire? This is the second litter with the same mother and father–none of her current litter mates or the previous litter were affected. Just curious as if we decide to wait, we would potentially get a litter from this same breeder which may (I’m not entirely sure of the plans for subsequent breedings and how this may have impacted them) involve the same parent(s).

Hi Orange_Skinner,

I am interested to know if you proceeded to get the Newf puppy that had juvenile cellulitis. I am asking as I am in a similar situation. A puppy that I was planning to get has been diagnosed with juvenile cellulitis at 7 weeks of age. The issue was caught early and the puppy is responding well to treatment. I am concerned about possible long term immune related issues.

Did you end up getting the puppy and if so, how what has been your experience with the dog’s health so far?


The original poster hasn’t been back since that last post 4 years ago, so I’m dubious we’ll see any updates on their specific case.

Maybe another poster will have their own insights or experiences to share.