Canine herpesvirus (CHV-1) is a severe, often fatal, viral infection of puppies worldwide.
Up to 70% of some high-risk dog populations have been infected with and are latent carriers of CHV.
CHV has also been associated with upper respiratory infection (kennel cough), rhinitis, juvenile conjunctivitis, ulcerative keratitis, papulovesicular vaginitis and posthitis in adult dogs.
During pregnancy, CHV-1 can lead to embryonic resorption, abortion, and stillbirth.
CHV is an enveloped DNA virus that is sensitive to lipid solvents and most disinfectants. CHV is relatively unstable outside the host. 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 wk of life. In utero transmission may also occur.
Infection of newborn susceptible puppies results in replication of CHV in the surface cells of the nasal mucosa, pharynx, and tonsils. If the pups become hypothermic, viremia and invasion of visceral organs occur.
CHV is a leading cause of sudden death in pups at the 1 - 4 week range. Abortions, stillbirths, and infertility are also noted in pregnant bitches. Older dogs may present with coughing associated with upper respiratory infections, as well as diarrhea and vomiting. Deaths have also been reported in adult dogs.
The characteristic gross lesions consist of disseminated focal necrosis and hemorrhages, primarily in the lungs.
No vaccine is available for this disease, although short-term (3 month immunity) is afforded with a vaccine available in some European countries.
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