Chances are, when you think about the herpes virus, you think of it as being strictly a human condition. However, certain strains of herpes virus can affect dogs and cats as well. The virus does affect the two types of pets a bit differently though, as is explained here.
How Herpes Virus Affects Your Pet
Canine herpes virus, also known as CHV or fading puppy syndrome, lives in the reproductive and respiratory tracts of both male and female dogs. It is spread by such activities as mating, licking, sneezing and coughing. While adults are typically not affected by CHV, it is one of the leading causes of deaths among newborn puppies. Additionally, only one puppy may be affected or the entire litter may perish within as little as one day following birth. While some puppies may survive the virus, they are often left with long-term pet health conditions including blindness and nervous system abnormalities. In cats, feline herpes virus is also known as FVR or feline viral rhinotracheitis and it affects the upper respiratory tract. It is spread in much the same way as CHV. While this condition can be fatal as well, it typically only poses a serious threat to kittens, seniors and cats under stress. There is no cure, and once your cat is infected, it can experience flare-ups throughout its life.
Common Symptoms of Herpes Virus
The symptoms your pet will exhibit if it has herpes virus depends on whether it is a cat or dog and how old it is. It also depends on whether your pet is experiencing an initial outbreak or a successive one. However, the following list can help you determine what to look for in your dog or cat. Symptoms of Herpes Virus in Dogs and Cats: Genital Sores (Adult Canines), Abortions or Stillbirths (Cats and Dogs), Coughing (Adult Canines), Sudden Death (Newborn Puppies), Weakness and Lethargy (Puppies and Kittens), Constant Crying (Puppies and Kittens), Refusal to Suckle (Puppies and Kittens), Tender and/or Bruised Abdomen (Puppies), Yellow or Green Feces (Puppies), Difficulty Breathing, Nasal Discharge and/or Nose Bleeds (Puppies and Cats), Seizures and/or Blindness (Older Puppies), Bacterial Infections (Cats), Sneezing (Cats), Runny Eyes and/or Conjunctivitis (Cats), Fever (Cats), Lack of Appetite (Cats), Depression (Cats), Ulcers in the Mouth and Anorexia and/or Dehydration (Cats and Kittens).
Treatments for Herpes Virus
If you have newborn pets and they seem to be fading away, it is essential that you take them to your veterinarian immediately. If it is confirmed that they have CHV, antiviral medication will be prescribed. Additionally, it is important that you keep your puppies warm, as the herpes virus needs low temperatures to thrive. Unfortunately, even when you provide proper care for puppies with CHV, many of them still die. The good news is that you can prevent puppies from ever contracting canine herpes virus by keeping the pregnant mother and newborns secluded from other dogs in the household. There is a CHV vaccine; however, it is not licensed for use in the U.S. as of yet.
Dogs and cats of any breed or age can contract herpes virus; however, it seems to have an adverse effect only in newborn or young pets.
When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.