Symptoms of Canine Herpesvirus Infection
Many (if not most) infected females will abort their litters, usually with no puppies surviving. Young puppies born to dams infected by the canine herpesvirus that do survive are highly susceptible to infection by the virus either in utero or by contact with urogenital secretions as they pass through the birth canal. Owners typically notice some or all of the following symptoms in infected puppies less than a month of age:
- Acute onset of persistent crying
- Difficulty breathing (dyspnea; rapid shallow breathing; shortness of breath)
- Nasal discharge (coming from the nose)
- Ocular discharge (coming from the eyes)
- Pale, odorless, soft stool
- Lack of appetite; failure to nurse
- Weight loss
- Abdominal tenderness
- Loss of consciousness; coma
Many adult dogs that are infected with CHV do not display any noticeable signs. When they do, both males and females tend to show signs of respiratory distress. They also commonly develop raised sores on their external genitalia, and spontaneous abortions are common in infected bitches.
Dogs at Increased Risk
Both wild and domestic canids are susceptible to infection by the canine herpesvirus. Dogs of all ages can become infected, but pregnant females and neonatal puppies are by far the most likely to develop clinical disease. This is a highly contagious disease. Contact with other dogs, such as at a breeding facility, dog show, boarding kennel or elsewhere, increases the risk of infection.