Canine herpesvirus (CHV) infection is a contagious disease caused by a strain of herpesvirus that is related to, but different from, the strains that infect people.
Adult dogs may carry the virus in the lining of the nose, throat, lungs, and genital tract without showing signs of illness unless they are stressed by illness or injury. Puppies become infected while still in the uterus, during birth, or from secretions of the mother or other infected puppies. Infected puppies under 10 days of age usually die. Puppies over 3 weeks of age may contract CHV but their illness is much less severe and usually appears as a mild respiratory infection. These puppies can shed the virus in their secretions for about 3 weeks after recovery.
People are not susceptible to CHV infection.
Important Points in Treatment
1. Isolation of the affected dam and puppies and strict hygiene are essential to prevent infection of healthy puppies.
2. Little can be done for infected puppies under 3 weeks of age. Using heat lamps or a heated whelping box to maintain a rectal temperature of 100 to 102° F may reduce virus multiplication.
3. Older infected puppies and adult dogs seldom require treatment.
4. Forced feeding of infected puppies may be helpful. The doctor will demonstrate how to tube-feed puppies if you wish to try this procedure.