Puppy Strangles, Pyoderma and Neonatal Ophthalmia
Dr. Marty Greer, DVM joins host Laura Reeves to discuss some of the weird and scary diseases that can affect our puppies, including puppy strangles, puppy pyoderma and neonatal opththalmia.
“Essentially what it is, is it’s an allergic reaction or an over immune reaction to bacteria that are normally found on the skin. So we normally see streps and staph on the skin of mammals. Puppies, humans, whatever. And in a small population of puppies, we see this allergic reaction. And the reason we call it strangles is because the lymph nodes in the neck become enlarged, hugely enlarged. And sometimes that’s the first symptoms that are seen. Sometimes they’re skin lesions that are noticed first.
“They typically start on the lips, at the very front of the face, at the very front of the lips. And then they’ll move back, and then they’ll move to the eyelids and then they’ll move to the ears. It’s sort of like when you have an anaphylactic reaction and a dog, a vaccination or beesting. It starts at the very tip of the nose and then moves its way back.
“They’ll see open draining wounds and they’ll be really sticky. There’s a lot of serum that comes out of them, so they’re really sticky. Gooey, messy things and fussy.
“A fair number of puppies have (this), especially the little girls, right in front of their vulva on their tummies where there’s not much hair. They get urine scalds, they develop something (more) serious. “(It’s) not a really serious condition. And anytime I can treat something topically just with cleaning it with wipes or with Chlorhexidine or a shampoo or applying a nice type of a cream or an ointment to it and get rid of it without using an oral antibiotic. I’m going to the same with vaginitis and balanoposthitis in the boys. Do not routinely put your little girls that have vaginitis or your little boys that have balanoposthitis, that green pussy stuff that comes out of the tip of the prepuce. They don’t need to be on an antibiotic for that. It’s not serious treat it locally. Be smart about it.
“Somehow bacteria got behind the sealed eyelids before they open their eyes. I’ve seen it happen with females that have had metritis. If you read the literature, it says that it’s in unclean conditions. Well, in my experience it has been households that are incredibly clean. Like you could eat off their floors, but there’s bacteria in the environment. Often from the bitch having metritis or mastitis something in the environment and the bacteria gets behind this sealed eyelids and turns into this little pocket of pus. It’s quite disgusting.
“This is a medical emergency. You need to come in immediately, get the eyelids open, get them on oral and topical antibiotics and you’ll save their vision. And I have seen multiple puppies because it wasn’t recognized, either the puppy didn’t have enough swelling for the owner to recognize it or the eyelids didn’t open on time. Or a variety of different things. And the puppies can be blind. I had one puppy that was blind in both eyes, so it’s very serious and needs to be handled.”