This virus can cause a severe generalised disease in neonatal puppies up to 2 weeks of age (see Canine herpesvirus infection ). Thereafter, infection appears to be confined to the respiratory tract, with only very mild signs of upper respiratory disease in experimentally infected 3-to 12-week-old pups. Pathological changes are also very mild, but focal epithelial necrosis from nasal and turbinate mucosa through to bronchiolar epithelium may be seen.
CHV has been isolated from dogs with naturally occurring respiratory disease on several occasions, but it is considered a rather uncommon cause of the kennel cough syndrome compared with other viruses such as CPIV and CAV-2. CHV does not seem to spread as easily between dogs as these other viruses, and even in an infected colony not all dogs necessarily become infected: most infections in adult dogs appear to be subclinical. Like other alpha-herpesviruses (e.g. feline herpesvirus, herpes simplex virus), CHV undergoes latent infection in recovered dogs and is sporadically re-excreted.
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