Canine Herpes
Virus Infection

Unfortunately a fairly frequent cause of
sudden death in very young puppies.
Also a cause of abortions and miscarriages
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About Canine Herpes

Other Infectious Diseases of Dogs & Cats and other interesting pages:

Rabies in dogs and cats

Canine Brucellosis

Canine parvovirus (CPV)

Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH)

Tracheobronchitis (CAV-2)
Kennel Cough



Canine herpesvirus (CHV)

Toxic Shock Syndrome in Canines caused by Streptococcus

Brucellosis in Dogs

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Fip: Feline Infectious Peritonitis

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Canine Herpes virus Infection

Introduction: Canine herpes virus is a fatal, viral infection of puppies worldwide.

About 50% of adult dogs (also wolves and coyotes) have natural immunity gained from exposure to this virus.  Most older puppies and adults that come in contact with the virus for the first time have only minor symptoms (but might be carriers of the disease).

But this disease is often fatal to very young puppies under 4 weeks of age and is also associated with abortions, stillbirths, and infertility.

This particular strain of herpes (CHV) in NOT a danger to humans, cats, or any other non canine species as far as we know.

Transmission usually occurs by contact between susceptible puppies and the infected oral, nasal, or vaginal secretions of their dam or oral or nasal secretions of dogs allowed to commingle with puppies during the first 3 weeks of life. And infection is also possible while the puppies are still in the womb.(in utero transmission)

Herpes virus' love to replicate in moist mucus membranes of the body as well as the liver. lungs, and kidneys may occur.

Clinical Findings:
Typically, onset of symptoms are sudden, and death occurs after an illness of less than one day. Owners might notice a snotty nose and a lose of energy.  Usually they just find dead puppies.

Diagnosis: Other virus' that sometimes kill young puppies are infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) and canine distemper virus, but we can usually tell the difference on necropsy (autopsy). 
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Control: No vaccine is available.

But luckily most puppies obtain natural immunity from the colostrum in momma's milk (maternal antibodies)

Treatment:  Deaths may be reduced when infected puppies are reared in incubators at increased temperatures and given adequate fluids and supportive therapy.

The prognosis of puppies that survive neonatal infections of herpes virus is guarded because damage to lymphoid organs, brain, kidneys, and liver may be irreparable.

Kidney                                         Liver
With herpes virus infection we usually see telltale spots of hemorrhage on the kidneys whereas with canine hepatitis virus the hemorrhages are more pronounced on the liver and the gall bladder is usually swollen as well.  Distemper virus can look like herpes virus on necropsy but distemper doesn't kill puppies so quickly.