Canine Herpesvirus: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

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What is Canine Herpesvirus?

Canine herpes (CaHV-1) is specific to dogs and cannot be transmitted to humans. It occurs in domestic and wild canids. Prevalence varies globally.

How is CHV Transmitted?

Canine herpesvirus is primarily transmitted through the nose and mouth. It causes mild respiratory, genital, ocular, and neurological disorders in dogs.

Puppy CHV Infections

Puppies can be infected with CHV before birth or through the birth canal. Symptoms include abdominal pain and high mortality rate. Older puppies are less affected by CHV due to their developing immune system.

Adult CHV Infections

Risk factors for CHV infection in adults include larger kennels, poor hygiene, and kennel cough. Symptoms vary and can be subtle or more pronounced.

Respiratory Disorders

CHV spreads in the nose and mouth area, causing mild respiratory infection. Immunocompromised dogs may experience severe symptoms.

Virus Dormancy

CHV, like human herpes viruses, remains dormant in the body. Dogs show no signs or virus shedding during this period. Reactivation can occur spontaneously or due to immunosuppressive drugs.

How Do You Detect CHV?

PCR testing is preferred over antibody testing for CHV detection. Antibody testing can help determine prior exposure and carrier status, but PCR is more sensitive. Carrier dogs can carry the virus without symptoms, shedding under stress.

Viral Shedding

Infected dogs shed CHV for varying durations, including recurrent episodes. Virus shedding occurs from all mucosal surfaces, and pregnant dams can infect their puppies through recurrence.

How Do you Treat CHV?

Puppy treatment is limited, while respiratory and genital CHV symptoms in adults can be relieved. Ocular CHV may be treated with antimicrobials, atropine, and antiviral drugs.