Canine Herpes virus in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

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Canine Herpes virus in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

What is Canine Herpes Virus (CHV)?”

“What is the canine herpesvirus? Canine herpesvirus, also known as canine herpes, is a widespread and often deadly disease primarily affecting young puppies. It is caused by the canine herpes virus (CHV) and is prevalent among dogs, coyotes, and wolves in Asia and Europe. It’s important to note that CHV does not pose any risk of infection to humans.”

A close-up image of a dog's face with a worried expression, representing canine herpes virus.

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As pet owners, we all want to keep our four-legged friends healthy and happy. But did you know that there is a viral infection that can pose a serious threat to our dogs, especially newborn puppies? It’s called Canine Herpes Virus (CHV) and it affects the reproductive systems of adult dogs. While adult dogs with CHV may not show any symptoms, it’s the leading cause of death in newborn puppies. In fact, statistics show that up to 20% of all puppies born to infected mothers can die from CHV.

That’s why it’s important to know about CHV and how to protect our dogs from this virus. In this article, we’ll dive into what CHV is, how it spreads, and what you can do to keep your furry friend safe. So, let’s get started and learn more about this deadly virus.

What is Canine Herpes Virus (CHV)?”

Canine herpes virus, also known as “fading puppy syndrome,” is a virus that affects adult dogs’ reproductive systems. Although adult dogs with CHV usually don’t have any signs of being sick, it’s the leading cause of death in newborn puppies. One puppy in a litter might get sick, and they can suddenly die with no warning. Or, an entire litter of puppies could die within 24 hours. If the puppies are over three weeks old when they get the disease, it’s usually less severe. Older puppies have a better chance of surviving, but they might still have long-term health problems from the CHV infection.

How Is Canine Herpes Transmitted?

The canine herpes virus is present in the reproductive and respiratory systems of both male and female dogs. Grown-up dogs can get the virus if they are close to a sick dog and have direct contact. This can happen by being near the sick dog when it sneezes, coughs, touches the nose, licks, or even has “private time” with the sick dog. Puppies can get the virus from their mother during birth or from her nasal and oral secretions right after they’re born. They can also spread the virus to other puppies. Just because one puppy in a litter has CHV doesn’t mean they all do.

What Are the Symptoms of Canine Herpes in Adult Dogs?

  • Often there aren’t any symptoms
  • Occasionally raised genital sores may be seen
  • Abortion
  • Stillbirth
  • Kennel cough

What Are the Symptoms of Canine Herpes in Puppies?

  • The sudden death of a newborn puppy
  • Weakness, lethargy, crying
  • Lack of suckle reflex/appetite
  • Painful abdomen, bruising of the abdomen
  • Soft, yellow/green feces
  • Respiratory difficulty, nasal discharge
  • Hemorrhages, such as nose bleeds and small bruises
  • Older puppies may develop nervous system abnormalities, including blindness and seizures

Can I Catch Herpes from My Dog?

No. Humans are not at risk of catching canine herpes.

How Is Canine Herpes Diagnosed?

If a baby dog is born dead or dies soon after, a special exam should be done to figure out why. There could be many reasons a puppy dies and it’s important to know if the other puppies are in danger and what needs to be done. Call your vet to find out what to do next. If an older dog is going to have puppies or if there is a problem with a virus called CHV, the dog will be tested for CHV. The vet may check its blood to see if it has the virus.

How Is Canine Herpes Treated?

If you notice that newborn puppies are sick or not doing well, it’s really important to call the vet right away. If your dog has Canine Herpes Virus (CHV), don’t worry! Your vet can give them medicine and take good care of them. You also need to make sure the puppies stay warm because the virus doesn’t do well in warm temperatures. Sadly, even with good care, puppies with CHV can die quickly.

It’s important to take swift action if you suspect that your puppies may have CHV. In addition to contacting a veterinarian, you should also practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus. To keep the baby puppies safe, make sure to:

  • Wash your hands really well before and after you touch them
  • Clean and make safe any surfaces that the puppies touch
  • Don’t get too close to other dogs.

How Can Canine Herpes Be Prevented?

CHV is a virus that many grown-up dogs can get. The best way to stop it from hurting baby puppies is to make sure the mother dog doesn’t meet other adult dogs when she’s pregnant and doesn’t let the baby puppies meet adult dogs for the first three weeks after they’re born. That is a very important time to keep the mother dog away from other dogs. The vaccine for Canine Herpesvirus (CHV) exists, but it’s not yet available in the United States.

What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Herpes?

If you think your dog or puppy may have canine herpes, seek veterinary care immediately!


Frequently Asked Questions


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How common is canine herpesvirus?

Canine herpesvirus is relatively common among dogs, especially in breeding environments and areas with a high dog population.

What does herpes look like on dogs?

Herpes in dogs typically presents as small blisters or sores on the skin, especially around the genital area and mucous membranes.

How do dogs get canine herpes?

Dogs can contract canine herpes through direct contact with infected dogs, mating, or exposure to contaminated objects or environments.

Is canine herpesvirus contagious to humans?

 No, canine herpesvirus is not contagious to humans. It is specific to dogs and does not pose a risk to human health.

How do you treat herpes in dogs?

Treatment for canine herpes focuses on supportive care, including antiviral medications, fluids, and symptomatic relief to manage the associated symptoms.

Can dogs recover from herpes?

 While there is no cure for canine herpes, many dogs can recover from the initial infection. However, the virus remains in their system and can reactivate in times of stress.

Is there a vaccine available for canine herpes?

Yes, there is a vaccine available for canine herpes. It is recommended for breeding dogs to help reduce the risk of infection and complications.

What is the relationship between canine herpes and breeding?

Canine herpes can pose significant risks to breeding dogs, as it can cause infertility, stillbirths, or weak and sickly puppies. Proper management and testing are crucial in breeding programs.

Can canine herpes spread to humans?

 No, canine herpes cannot spread to humans. It is a specific virus that affects only dogs and does not cross the species barrier.

Can dogs get herpes from cats?

 No, dogs cannot get herpes from cats. Canine herpesvirus and feline herpesvirus are different viruses that affect their respective species and do not transmit between them.

Can animals get herpes from humans?

 In general, animals cannot contract herpes from humans. Herpes viruses are typically species-specific, meaning they primarily affect one species and do not infect others.

can you get herpes from dog saliva?

No, you cannot get herpes from dog saliva. Herpes is a virus that affects humans, and different types of herpes viruses exist for humans and dogs.

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