Canine herpes virus can strike puppies so rapidly and viciously that they can literally die within a matter of hours.
The sad part about this incredibly infectious disease is that there is to this date still no effective cure or treatment once the litter has become infected.
The survival rate in puppies less than three weeks old is very poor.
However, if the puppies that are infected can live past this window, the survival rate does increase, but they are still not out of danger.
This beast of a killer can very easily take out the entire litter.
Canine herpes virus is also known by another name, CHV, and it is considered to be one of the leading causes, if not the leading cause, of puppy deaths.
It is a virus that is found in the family Herpesviridae and it can cause hemorrhagic disease in new born puppies.
It is believed to be found worldwide, but has been documented in several countries, including the United States, England, Germany, Australia, Japan, and Canada.
It was first diagnosed in the mid 1960’s and has been gaining attention ever since.
This horrific killer is a viral infection that causes rapid and sporadic deaths of puppies, and if it is severe enough, it can rapidly take the lives of the entire litter.
The virus itself is believed to live in the reproductive as well as the respiratory tracts of both male and female dogs.
Because of this, it can very easily be transmitted sexually.
it is extremely important for an owner to understand that if the mother
has previously been infected with this virus she may be protected from future attacks.
her immune system will very rapidly build up enough strength to fight off any future attacks in most cases.
For this reason, if your female has been infected and the entire litter is lost, do not give up.
Instead build her immune system as strong as you can with the proper diet and supplements.
In the vast majority of cases, future litters should not be affected.
This is a huge controversy among breeders, but there are very few facts to support the theory that once a mother has become infected, all future litters will become infected.
The only way the litter can be infected in most every case, is if the mother is infected during the pregnancy.
Canine herpes virus, because it lives in the reproductive and respiratory tracts, can remain in the vaginal secretions of the female as well as the semen of the male.
Canine herpes virus is very similar to several herpes infections that are found abundantly in other animal species in that it can virtually live for years in an adult.
However, the adult will show absolutely no symptoms of this killer virus themselves.
The term for this is referred to as asymptomatic carriers, and as such, they can transmit the disease for years.
Canine herpes virus can be transmitted in three basic ways: direct contact, mother to puppy, as well as orally.
If the transmission is by direct contact, it is usually between an infected dog and an uninfected dog, usually by some type of fresh secretion.
This virus cannot live for very long once it is exposed outside of the host or infected animal, so the secretion has to be fresh.
If the transmission is from the mother to the puppy, it can very easily cross the placenta, which is the membranous vascular organ that develops during pregnancy.
The virus can than infect the developing fetus while they are still in the uterus of the mother.
However, it can also be transmitted by vaginal secretions during the actual birthing process, as well as airborne secretions.
Infected nasal secretions from the infected mother can very easily be inhaled by the newborn puppies while they are breathing.
If this does occur, puppies can than easily spread it to each other as they lay in close formations. The final way it can be transmitted in by actually eating something that has been recently infected.
The symptoms of Canine herpes virus it most every case will only start to appear after seven to ten days.
Once they do appear, it is usually too late to provide any kind of support, which is the main reason puppies are at the highest risk between weeks one and three.
The first set of symptoms will usually surface with the infected puppy suddenly crying for long periods of time.
Once this occurs, they will stop nursing and their feces will become very soft and a yellow-green color.
The symptoms that you cannot see are occurring inside of your puppy, as their livers are enlarging.
If you suspect that they are indeed infected with Canine herpes virus, immediately feel their abdomen.
If it is very painful to the puppy, their liver has become damaged and is no longer functioning properly in most cases.
However, there are also other symptoms that include respiratory distress as well as a nasal discharge.
In some cases, infected puppies will also develop a rash on their stomach, as well as hemorrhages and slight bruising of their mucous membranes.
In the most severe of cases, your puppy or puppies will suddenly go blind and begin to stagger and cannot maintain any type of balance.
If several of these symptoms do develop, in most all cases, the affected puppies will die within 24 hours.
However, what makes this killer virus still such a mystery is that not all puppies will become ill.
In fact, some puppies may only develop very slight symptoms such as a minor nasal discharge that will correct itself in just a few days.
The longer the exposed puppy lives, the better their chances of surviving this beast.
Canine herpes virus has one more very glaring and startling fact; there is no known specific treatments that will cure it.
However, there are some supportive treatment’s that may just save your puppies life.
If the infected puppy is less than three weeks old, there is very little hope, but past three weeks, the chances improve with each passing day.
Older puppies can be treated with anti-diarrhea medications as well as warming lamps.
It will be extremely important to keep your puppies warm, at least at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, until the virus runs its course.
There are vaccinations being tested for this wicked disease, but they are still in the testing stages.
Keeping your puppies warm with either whelping boxes or heat lamps is the best supportive measures, at least for now.
It will also be very important to watch for any respiratory infections in this process, as this is yet another real warning sign.
Canine herpes virus can strike so rapidly that you may never know what actually killed your puppy or the entire litter in some cases.
However, with some luck and supportive care, some members of the litter may be saved.
Once this is done, the focus should also include building up the mother’s immune system, so she can develop a natural immunity to this virus.
A dog’s immune system is one of the most sophisticated systems in existence, and it can be built to survive future attacks.