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Canine herpes

Canine herpes virus causes, symptoms and treatment for new born puppies

Canine herpes is an infection that is usually seen in new born puppies.

This infection is usually caused when the breeder is not able to provide the pregnant mother with the proper room temperature – slightly warm. It is because of this that the puppies that are born have poor immunity. The puppies take about 10-15 days to boost their immunity and be able to ward off infections related to this disease.

The canine herpes virus grows in the kidney or the testicles of the infected dog and is spread through mating and exchange of other bodily fluids. The virus doesn't survive in an open environment and therefore the infection cannot be picked up otherwise.
In pups, this disease is usually fatal.

However, puppies only die from herpes if they are not able to raise their body temperature as a response to the virus. However, some puppies may survive by sheer chance. Such puppies often have lingering central nervous system problems.

When the puppy is 2-3 weeks old, it is able to control its body temperature and therefore becomes less prone to this disease. The normal duration of herpes is one to three days in which the puppy either survives or perishes.
Usually when an adult dog has herpes infection, the fetus is spontaneously aborted. However, if the mother is able to give birth, the litter may have puppies who are still born or those with extremely low weight. Some of the surviving puppies may also sustain damage to their nervous system.

The infection is transmitted to the puppies from their mother. This disease is usually caught in the birth canal itself. However, if there are other dogs that are carriers of this virus in the same kennel or in close proximity of the newly born pups, the shedding of this virus from them may affect the puppies.

There are seldom any dog herpes symptoms in the dogs that are two weeks or older. In puppies, the symptoms are:

  • Anorexia
  • Laborious breathing
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Difficulty in movement, accompanied by awkwardness in the movement of muscles
  • Greenish feces that are soft
  • Blood from the nose
  • Exposed adults may develop conjunctivitis
  • Female dogs have inflamed vagina
  • Spontaneous abortion

Once the puppies develop symptoms, drugs for treatment of the condition remain unsuccessful. If the puppies are treated before the symptoms begin to appear, they may survive, however, these puppies sustain damage to their central nervous system and sometimes the heart too.

  Submitted on June 1, 2010  

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