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Thread: 17 day old puppy with sudden onset of cracked bleeding skin

  1. #1

    Default 17 day old puppy with sudden onset of cracked bleeding skin

    Hello everyone, I hope I'm posting this in the right place! This is my first post here.. I wish it was a happier one.

    I have been handraising this puppy since he was 1 day old for a rescue organization. Up until about four days ago he was doing brilliantly, gaining weight steadily and feeding very well.. he also had a brother that was doing the same. Very suddenly they both developed dry flaking skin.. I wasn't too concerned by it, I just started massaging them in coconut oil at every feed hoping that would nip it in the bud. Their next box has always been plenty humid so I did not feel it was an environmental issue and rather assumed it was me not stimulating their skin enough. Unfortunately, they got worse and the black puppy went downhill very suddenly over night 2 days ago . I spoke to the rescue about it but they did not feel there was much that could be done for a puppy so young so I kept him home, adminstered subcutaneous fluids and tube fed him, hoping for the best. Unfortunately he died in the morning even after I thought he had rallied and was going to recover. Heart breaking as he went downhill so fast and had always been so healthy! His skin had become cracked, inflamed and bleeding . The coconut oil seemed to help a little bit as it helped all of the old skin to come off and often the new skin underneath would look okay.. but it would quickly turn dry and crusty again.

    It now looks like my remaining puppy is headed to suffer the same fate . I took him to my vet yesterday who did spent lots of time puzzling over him, calling in colleagues to look and did skin scrapings.. no mites could be seen and she couldn't see much of anything that gave her an indication of what it could be . She did supply me with some clavulox drops though and I have been administering them because I figure even if it's not bacterial in nature he's going to be very susceptible to infection with so many open sores.

    I will add some more photos tommorrow but this photo shows the scabbing/flaking/cracking around his muzzle.. his legs look much worse, they are cracked in a banding formation right up and down and look very red and swollen

    Has anyone seen anything like this before?? One of my first thoughts was cellulitis/puppy strangles as the reamining puppy had the hallmark red vein track marks visible on his abdomen at one point.. I'm not sure if dogs get that when they get cellulitis but I know people do as I've had it myself! The vet did not think it was puppy strangles.. but today the glands under his chin seem to be swollen so that is making me feel even more sure that it could be puppy strangles. I'm at a loss on what to do.. he would surely be too young for the steroids needed to treat strangles.. and how do you know if it's strangles for sure? I know that steroids can worsen a condition if they're not needed.. . it does seem like strangles generally affects older puppies.. but if you go looking there are cases reported and diagnosed in puppies as young as 2 weeks.. so it's still a possibility and the symptoms do seem to fit, his muzzle and mouth is starting to look particularly strangles to me.

    Any and all input appreciated. I know it's silly as there was always a high chance that I would lose them but I have grown quite attached to this little one and will do whatever I can to help him pull through.. it was devastating to have to watch his poor brother who had been healthy and happy go down hill so rapidly so I'm trying to avoid the same for this boy! He doesn't seem affected by his skin issues and is still feeding well and quite active. His eyes have just opened over the weekend too, very cute . His name is Prickly Pete!
    Last edited by Slapper; 07-14-2014 at 12:51 AM. Reason: add photo

  2. #2


    Hmm.. I can't seem to add my photo!

  3. #3


    Here is the photo: imgur: the simple image sharer

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Geelong, Vic


    Causes of Dry or Flaky Skin on Dogs

    theres a list here that might help. The vet should send the scrapings off for pathology to see if there is a bacteria/fungus in the skin instead of giving a generic antibiotic in a puppy that young. What breed are the pups

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Hi Slapper

    I'm having trouble "approving" your post that is "moderated" because you linked a photo off site in there and you're new. It's supposed to stop spammers but it also stops newbies trying to post pictures. Once you have created a login for here - you can go to your profile and upload the picture into an album there - and link that without a problem... And after you've done about 10 posts you can make links to where you like.

    I reckon if the environment the puppy is in - is very humid - there's a strong chance of fungal infection - which would look like jock itch or tinea (teenage boy stinky foot). You could clean up the fungal spores in the nest box by spraying with a mix of vinegar and water and wiping down with paper towel and you'd have to do it often as they're in the air and will come back.

    You'd probably need an anti fungal ointment for the puppy's skin. Vet please. And check with the rescue that's organising you to foster too.

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