Keen to avoid potentially poorly and problematic puppies when rearing your litter?
Does your female seem to have low fertility? Has she absorbed or aborted a litter previously?
Have you experienced fading puppy syndrome and want to understand how to avoid it again?
Welcome to my classified breeding-related information resource full of insider trade secrets. Be warned, what you read here is what I consider some of the most highly regarded products and services that will set you on the path to breeding success.
What's detailed here is for your eyes and your eyes only.
Forget the Illuminati or Freemasons, everything you need to know is detailed here about specific dog-related breeding stages from fertility to pregnancy and puppyhood.
Without further ado, let's look at canine herpes, why it's essential to know about the virus when breeding dogs, and how it might identify underlying fertility issues.
Canine Herpes Virus
Canine herpes virus (CHV) is different to human herpes, although from the same family. It's not fatal to many adult dogs but is hazardous for newborn puppies. Herpes Caninum is transmitted through dog-to-dog contact such as mating, inhaling the virus through coughs or sneezes, drinking from a contaminated bowl, or sniffing or licking a dog shedding the virus. A study suggested that more than 80% of dogs in England have been exposed to the virus at some time.
CHV is not thought to cause significant or noticeable problems for most healthy adult dogs unless lesions are seen on the genitals. The virus can be challenging to test for, meaning it can be difficult to diagnose.
The problem generally arises when an owner unknowingly attempts to breed from a female who has contracted CHV.
Why is CHV a problem for breeding dogs?
Puppies easily contract the virus from their mothers whilst in the womb – the CHV attacks the placenta, starving the foetus of nutrients. If you were not aware of the cause, it would be easy to conclude the female has low or problematic fertility leading to the abortion, stillbirth or absorption of the foetus (seen by the breeder as infertility).
If a puppy survives the infection and is born, they are more likely to be undersized, with possible neonatal puppy losses due to a weakened immune system. Litters are small in numbers with a weak demeanour. It is clear that CHV can be a significant cause of death in young puppies, but it's difficult to diagnose and is generally referred to as 'Puppy Fading Syndrome'. A fading puppy tends to fail to suckle, loses weight and fades away despite intensive care.
How can you protect puppies from CHV?
There is no cure for an animal with CHV; the infection is probably lifelong and can flare up repeatedly during periods of stress.
Eurican® Herpes 205 is a Canine herpes virus (F205 strain) antigen vaccine. The purpose of vaccinating with an antigen is to stimulate the immune system to recognise and respond to that specific virus. By introducing the antigen into the body through vaccination, the immune system is exposed to a harmless version or a part of the pathogen, such as a protein or a sugar molecule, without causing the disease.
Eurican® Herpes 205 cannot prevent infection but has been shown to significantly improve fertility rates and reduce early puppy death if administered during pregnancy. Even bitches that already have the virus can be vaccinated.
When is the vaccine given?
The first injection is typically given 7 – 10 days after the presumed date of mating. The second injection is given 1 to 2 weeks before the expected whelping date. This can be repeated for every pregnancy.
I recommend you contact your vet before your planned breeding to ensure they can source the vaccine within your required time frames, should you wish to use it.
Should all breeding dogs have the vaccine?
This is totally your decision.
Some owners tend to have a proactive approach and would instead prevent experiencing such a poor breeding experience, whilst others will not consider the vaccine unless they experience a problematic female with reproduction issues.
Need more advice?
If you've enjoyed this article, more practical breeding advice and support await you inside the Canine Family Planner's™ Winners' Circle. During a bi-monthly "Breeders Brew" Support session, you can drain Sara's brain, road test her 25 years of dog breeding experience, and let her be your canine counsel to help you with your specific breeding problem and concerns.