fading puppy / CHV link ?

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    i found this on another forum and thought it might be interesting read.

    Canine herpesvirus is generally referred to as CHV, and is a leading cause of puppy deaths, especially in puppies one to three weeks of age. We have all heard of breeders saying something like this “The puppies were fine this morning, but then they stopped eating and died before I could do anything!” Anytime puppies die in this fashion, there is a reason to suspect CHV.

    Canine herpesvirus is a viral disease that affects many puppies, causing sporadic deaths and occasionally the death of an entire litter. The virus lives in the reproductive and respiratory tracts of male and female dogs and can be s*xually transmitted. The virus persists in the female’s va**nal secretions and the male’s s*men. As in many herpes infections found in other species, adult animals can live for years with no apparent signs; these are called “asymptomatic carriers”. This means the adult male and female dogs can remain infected and transmit the disease for years while showing no signs of disease themselves.

    Puppies can become infected several ways. The virus can cross the placenta and infect them while they are still within the uterus, or they may become exposed from v*ginal secretions during birth. The virus can also become airborne from nasal secretions of the mother, so once born, the pup can actually inhale the virus while breathing. Puppies can easily spread the virus from one to another. Lastly, the virus can be transmitted by eating infected materials.

    Once exposed, it generally takes about a week for symptoms to appear. With this in mind, you can easily see why 1 to 3 week old puppies are at the highest risk. Severely infected individuals will become depressed, stop nursing and cry. Their faeces will be soft and yellow-green. Their livers enlarge and their abdomens are painful. The liver becomes damaged and can no longer function normally. Some puppies develop respiratory signs and nasal discharge. Others develop a rash on their abdomen. Hemorrhages such as nose bleeds and small bruises on the mucous membranes or skin may appear. Some puppies will show nervous system signs such as blindness and staggering. Puppies usually die within 24-48 hours of showing signs of disease.

    Not all pups exposed at birth become ill, and many show no signs at all or develop only a slight congestion and recover within a few days.Puppies exposed after six weeks of age have a better chance of recovery. Older puppies develop the disease by coming in contact with the mother’s infected, but normal-appearing, nasal secretions.Those that live often develop into carrier adults just like their parents.

    It appears that the virus thrives best at a temperature of around 99°F, so this may help to explain why older puppies are at less risk as their body temperature is usually around 101.5°F.  ( I usually bottle feed with a warmer than normal temp milk, this helps stabilise the body temp from the inside out)  I also heat them up with a hairdyer before feeding, puppies will not suck when cold.

    Adult carriers typically exhibit no obvious symptoms, however, small blister-like lesions may occasionally be noted on the v*ginal wall.

    Canine herpesvirus is one of the leading causes of death in newborn puppies. Once the above signs develop, death often follows in 48 hours. The disease spreads rapidly through the litter as infected puppies are highly contagious. I suspect many cases of herpes are wrongly diagnosed as disorders such as parvovirus and coronavirus. Autopsies of deceased puppies by a veterinary pathologist will reveal the characteristic herpes lesions.

    A final diagnosis can only be made following an autopsy. Diagnostic hemorrhagic lesions will be found within the kidney and liver, and the lungs will usually be congested. The affected organs will have cells containing characteristic signs of the disease.

    Author: KayC
    Original Link: http://www.champdogsforum.co.uk/board/topic/69579.html


    I know Kay. 😉


    Good post Claire
    She writes a good article Terry tell her next time your paths cross


    Will do – got some fantastic stuff off her about working liver labs (asked cos I had never seen a liver worked only black\yellow). She knows her labs anyway. 🙂


    tell us more..please…never see a decent liver working…labs that is not a gin soaked version  😉


    she posted a brill piece – think was a friend of hers that wrote it – but it’s on a private forum so will need to ask if i’m ok to copy it.  🙂


    ok..ta.. a new thread then to save a hijack


    WOW… Terry has just pointed me in this direction, and thank you.. I also wrote this around 4 years ago.. I hope you find it interesting, but never need to refer to it…

    Herpes virus infection in the last three weeks of pregnancy or the first three weeks post-whelping is most likely to result in infection of the puppies. This happens because the mother passes on the virus to the puppies but does not give them antibodies against the disease, so they are susceptible to infection.

    In most cases, a bitch who has been infected with herpes virus prior to being bred will pass on adequate antibody protection to her puppies to keep them from being infected at a time when they are likely to become severely ill or die. This includes bitches that are unlucky enough to become infected during the critical time in a prior pregnancy. Even though their first litter was infected, their subsequent ones are unlikely to be infected.

    Herpes virus is very common and it would be surprising if the male had not been exposed previously, so there isn’t much reason to worry about him.

    Trying to shelter a bitch from herpes virus prior to breeding her is probably a mistake. It is better to allow her to be exposed to situations in which other dogs are around so that she will become infected with the herpes virus, develop antibodies and pass them on to her puppies. Once she is bred, though, it may be better to assume that she has not been exposed and to try to protect her from contact with dogs that may have herpes virus.

    There is a lot of conflicting information on canine herpes virus and I don’t know if I am just missing something or if a lot of poor information is out there. As far as I know, based on the books I have here, this is the situation with canine herpes virus: This virus is a common inhabitant of the upper respiratory tract of dogs, which means that many dogs should have a positive titre. If a bitch is first exposed to this virus during a pregnancy, it can affect the litter, leading to foetal death or early death of the puppies after birth. If the litter is exposed in the first few weeks of life, they may also show severe signs of illness. Once the bitch is exposed to the virus, it is very unlikely that any further litters will be affected. The virus is common enough that if the male dog is being shown or being used for breeding on a regular basis it is very likely that he will have been exposed to the virus already and that he will have a titre. If he doesn’t, I suppose he could be infected by the female. The risk to the male dog seems to be pretty small, though. Based on how I understand this situation, I would think it would be a good thing if the bitch had a titre to herpes virus prior to breeding, since that would infer that she could protect the puppies from infection during the pregnancy. Since this isn’t the way the situation seems to be understood by dog breeders, I have to wonder if I am missing something — but that is how I currently interpret the situation with canine herpes virus. Your vet should have some references that discuss this virus.

    Canine herpes virus (CHV-1) is a virus that has been largely forgotten for many years, due in part to the difficulty in making a definitive diagnosis.

    However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the virus causes many more problems than was first thought.

    Like all herpes viruses, CHV is highly infectious, and a recent study showed that more than 80% of the dogs tested had been exposed to the virus at some time in their lives. Other studies have shown infection rates of 40-100% in kennels around Europe.

    In kennels not previously exposed to the virus, CHV can cause massive losses, sometimes of entire litters. Death occurs in the first few days and weeks of life, with the classic pathological changes described in Diagnosis

    Once the virus becomes established in kennels, periods of high mortality are interspersed with a general fall in the average birth weight of the litter, and increased pre-weaning losses.

    In kennels with long-established disease the breeder may well have become accustomed to the poor results, and the existence of a problem only becomes apparent once a vaccination programme is put in place.


    A number of signs may suggest that CHV is causing problems, but many of these signs are multifactoral and therefore it is important to try and make a definitive diagnosis.

    CHV can be a significant cause of death in young puppies, and also smaller litter size and weight.

    A number of problems have also been identified in adult dogs, such as infertility and abortion.

    The unborn puppy: CHV attacks the placenta of the mother, starving the foetus of nutrients. This can lead to abortion, stillbirth or resorption of the foetus (seen by the breeder as infertility).

    The newborn puppy: If the puppy is infected before birth and survives, it may be underweight at birth and have a weakened immune system, making it vulnerable to early puppyhood infections.

    If the puppy is infected at or soon after birth, CHV is known to be one of the factors in “fading puppy syndrome”, in which the pup fails to suckle, cries constantly, loses weight and fades away despite intensive care, sometimes in a matter of a few hours.

    Another sign is soft, yellow-green faeces, sometimes mistaken for parvovirus or coronavirus.

    The abdomen is painful and there may be bleeding under the skin, or a rash on the belly.

    Some puppies may show signs of brain damage, such as blindness or staggering.

    The adult dog: in the dog, CHV can cause painful lesions on the genitals. In the bitch, there may not be any external signs, but the bitch seems infertile or gives birth to undersize and weak litters. Careful examination may sometimes reveal small blister-like lesions on the vaginal wall. In both males and females, CHV is also known to be one of the causes of kennel cough.


    Gross pathology consists most notably of kidney changes – multiple subcapsular haemorrhages, and mottling and discoloration of the cortical parenchyma. Spleen and liver will contain discoloured and dark red areas, with a frail parenchyma. The lungs will be oedematous and have a heterogonous appearance with both reddish and grey areas. Haemorrhagic lesions are occasionally observed in the myocardium (heart).

    There is often bleeding under the skin, especially around the abdomen.

    Virus isolation

    CHV can be isolated from the lungs and kidneys of affected puppies, but is very labile and false negative results are common.

    Blood testing

    Serology is of limited value due to the high prevalence of the virus within the general population. A single negative or positive result is of little value. However, paired serum samples at 2-3 weeks interval showing a rise in antibody titre (seroconversion) will indicate active infection. The best time to take the samples (from the mother) is around the time of whelping.


    PCR tests are available for identifying the virus from discharges or from affected pups. PCR will be negative when the virus is latent.

    Treatment & Prevention


    There is no cure for an animal that has CHV – infection is probably lifelong and can flare up repeatedly during periods of stress. Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir have shown very limited efficacy and are expensive.

    Some work has shown variable success by injecting infected puppies with the serum of immune bitches. Early intervention appears vital and will depend on the immune status of the donor.


    The disease is most clinically significant in unborn and newborn puppies. Infection takes place transplancentally, during birth and soon after birth. Therefore caesarean birth cannot guarantee freedom from infection. It can also be transmitted from mother to pup as an aerosol (droplet infection). However, good hygiene and quarantine measures between breeding units will reduce the viral burden within the environment and reduce the incidence of secondary bacterial infections.

    CHV multiplies rapidly when body temperature falls below 37oC (99oF). This explains why puppies in the first three weeks of life are worst affected, as they have poor ability to regulate body temperature. The ideal body temperature of 39oC (101.5oF) can be maintained with the use of infra-red heat lamps, though it is important not to overheat the mother.

    As the greatest amounts of virus are shed in the first hours post partum, colostral antibody is the most important factor in reducing disease incidence in the puppy. Even seropositive (previously exposed) bitches do not produce significant amounts of neutralising antibody, and therefore it is necessary to boost the immune system prior to whelping.

    Previous exposure to CHV will not confer lasting immunity. The virus becomes latent until the circulating antibody levels fall, which can occur in as little as three months. It will then reappear during periods of stress, particularly whelping and overcrowding. High levels of maternal circulating antibody are required to provide protective levels in colostrum.


    An inactivated vaccine is now available from veterinary surgeons in Europe (not USA), produced by Merial. The vaccine, Eurican® Herpes 205, has been shown to significantly improve weaning rates, increase puppy birth weights and reduce early puppy death.

    There even appears to be a trend to larger litter sizes, indicating a protective effect on the unborn pup.

    Even bitches that already have the virus can be vaccinated.

    Two doses of the vaccine are given to the bitch, the first dose at or soon after mating and the second dose six to seven weeks later, i.e. mid – late pregnancy. This stimulates the bitch to produce high levels of protective antibody to CHV, which she then passes to the puppies in their first feed of colostrum.

    The vaccination schedule must be repeated at each pregnancy, i.e. two injections.

    The vaccine will not interfere with PCR or virus isolation tests.

    Fading Puppies


    Large piece of Beef (Ox) Liver, little bit of water, boil slowly, about 5 minutes
    until the blood comes out. Squeeze the liver to get as much blood as possible .  Let cool, drain the liquid and put just 4 drops (no matter the breed) into a dropper and give to puppy.

    At first you give it every 1/2 hours for 2 hours, then 2 for 24 then every 4 hours for a minimum of 3 days. You can do this for however long you have to, until you feel
    the puppy is thriving.

    Don’t use any of the liver itself, just the liquid.

    Kay Cook


    thanks kay…and terry too for sending you here  🙂


    Kay I had absolutely no idea you knew all that stuff.  😮 😮 😮


    Thank Kay and Terry I think this should be added to the stickies if thats alright with you Kay

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