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Canine Herpes Virus

Canine herpesvirus is a widespread alphaherpesvirus (Canid alphaherpesvirus 1; CaHV-1) which causes a fatal haemorrhagic disease of neonatal puppies (fading puppy syndrome). It was first recognised in the 1960s’ and is found worldwide in domestic and wild dogs, but not in other species. A vaccine has been developed in Europe, but its efficacy is unclear, and the vaccine is not licensed for use in the United States.

Canine Herpes Virus Background

Canine herpesviral infection is a severe, often fatal, disease of puppies. In adult dogs, it may be associated with upper respiratory infection (which may contribute to kennel cough), eye disease, and inflammation of the dogs genitalia. The disease agent is Canine herpesvirus (CaHV-1), an alpha-herpesvirus with a host range restricted to canids. It is more closely related to feline herpesvirus, equine herpesvirus-1, pseudorabies virus and human varicella-zoster virus than to other herpesviruses.

Transmission occurs during passage of puppies through the birth canal or venereally in adult dogs. Puppies can also be horizontally infected by littermates by direct contact with infectious body fluids. Like other herpesviruses, CaHV-1 becomes latent after a primary infection and is shed periodically, primarily in nasal or rarely in genital secretions (Evermann et al., 2011).

CaHV-1 infection causes a generalized hemorrhagic disease with a high mortality rate in neonatal puppies (1 to 3 weeks of age). Clinically affected puppies do not suckle, cry persistently, become depressed and weak, and fail to thrive. Older puppies, aged 3–5 weeks, develop less severe clinical signs and are likely to survive with neurologic sequelae such as ataxia and blindness resulting from reactivation of latent infection. In adult dogs, CaHV-1 causes a persistent, latent infection of the reproductive tract with recurrence and shedding during periods of physiologic stress. Infection in adult dogs may result in stillbirths, abortions, and infertility.

​ CaHV-1 has a global distribution in canine populations, especially in breeding kennels, with prevalence varying from approximately 30% to 90% amongst different countries (Bottinelli et al., 2016). Some infected dog kennels have much higher antibody prevalence rates, without any evidence of disease in infected puppies. Unfortunately, antiviral treatment is usually not effective. A CHV vaccine exists, but is not yet licensed for use in the United States.



  • Evermann et al. (2011). Canine Reproductive, Respiratory, and Ocular Diseases due to Canine Herpesvirus. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 41(6), 1097–1120.
  • Bottinelli et al. (2016). Serological and biomolecular survey on canine herpesvirus-1 infection in a dog breeding kennel. J Vet Med Sci. 78(5):797–802.

Canine Herpes Virus Antigens 

We are please to offer an inactivated and purified Canine Herpes Virus. This antigen is suitable for use in assay development, vaccine research and as antigens for the preparation of CHV-specific antibodies.


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