This auto immune condition usually occurs in very young pups (4 weeks of age or older) but can also happen to an older pup whose immune system has been compromised. I have heard of dogs at a year of age developing strangles (although it is rare).
I have never dealt with this but have a breeder friend who has many times.
I spoke with her and have some valuable info:
Prednisone and antibiotics is the correct treatment. The prednisone suppresses the immune system and that is the reason for also giving antibiotics.
If not treated this way: the bacteria in the disease attacks the lymphnodes causing them to swell and strangle the pup to death. Thus, the name Puppy Strangles.
This breeder has never lost a pup from this. Give the meds time to work.
Pimples on the face will burst and smell awful! The fluid in these is full of infection and antibiotic should help this as well.
This breeder recommends Physohex (the stuff in the green bottle humans use for pimples). Take a bowl of warm water and dilute Physohex in the water, then apply this to the effected area by compresses. Do this as often as you can. This will help in reducing or shrinking the pimple. They will eventualy burst but this treatment has helped her pups tremendously.
I absolutely would not even consider putting a pup down. Diligent treatment should do the trick.
The pup may end up with scarring from the pimples but that is the least of the worries. For instance, my friends pups are all yellow and they have a lot of black, hairless skin around their muzzle area but it is no big deal and not bothersome to the dog once the strangles is cured, the dog lives a normal life.
If it is caught early enough and treated properly the hair can grow back.
If you see the signs of strangles please get to the vet immediately and be sure they want to treat with prednisone (steroids) and antibiotics.
Here is more info:
It is also a good idea to put this pup/dog on probiotic to counteract the antibiotic. Give the probiotic 2-3 hours away from the antibiotic (antibiotic should be given with food to prevent stomach upset). You should also continue the probiotic for 2-4 weeks after finishing with the antibiotic.
I breed Labradors that eat anything and the probiotic I use tastes like vanilla so I just put it on a plate and they lap it up. If your dog won’t eat it try topping it with a spoon of yogart or mix it with canned dog food.
Here is the probiotic I use:
go to www.progressivelabs.com item #963. If you prefer to order on the phone go to extension 149 for Nancy. She is the rep I deal with and knows these products well. Please be sure to tell her that I referred you. (Patty Snow at Snowcolabradors). They have vets and doctors on staff to answer any of your questions. Great company to deal with and they carry quality products.