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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 27994
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a litter of mastiffs 4 days old dying from herpes

Customer Question

I have a litter of mastiffs 4 days old dying from herpes virus one by one and i have a litter due tomorrow, what is the chances of passing it to them? Do you know anything about giving the pups the mom's serum thru spinning her blood down and using it thru a feeding tube?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this, Karri. There's a very high change of passing this virus to the next litter because the canine herpesvirus is one of the most highly contagious via saliva, ocular, and vaginal secretions, and fomites (inanimate objects) can contribute to spread. Direct contact is the most efficient mode of transmission, however, especially from dogs with clinical signs but possibly from latent carriers. Take advantage of the fact that this virus readily inactivated outside the body by heat, drying, or disinfectants such as diluted bleach, 1 part bleach to 30 parts tap water.

Treatment of neonatal puppies is usually not recommended because of rapid progression, poor prognosis, and the potential for cerebellar and retinal dysplasias in surviving puppies. However, if only a portion of the litter demonstrates overt signs, the remaining littermates can be treated with immune serum (2 mL of serum from a dog with known anti-CHV titer, given intraperitoneally.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Woudl it benefit to draw moms blood now and give them the serum? How about doing it with mom to the litter she's having tomorrow? What's the chances of the 4 that are living to make it since they're eating and gaining and active? First pup died 2 days ago.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

The best I tell you is that it wouldn't be harmful. Mom's blood wouldn't make sense because the pups clearly didn't receive protective antibodies from her; in other words, she didn't have a significant anti-CHV titer. I would use the blood of the mom who's delivering shortly and hope that she does have a significant anti-CHV titer. The fact that you haven't seen another death for 2 days is a very positive prognostic finding because this virus is usually rapidly progressive through a litter. In general, if the dam infects her litter during whelping we expect a 80-100% mortality if infection is a re-exacerbation of latent infection. If a naive dam gives birth to a naive litter and secondary contact with a CHV-shedding dog carries virus back to the litter, the mortality rate is 25-80% depending on the virus challenge dose, age of puppies, and body temperature of puppies. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
WELL THE FIRST ONE DIED 2 DAYS AGO AND ONE YESTERDAY. TODAY THERE ARE 3 STRUGGLING BUT 4 DOING GOOD. WITH THE NEW LITTER I SHOULD KEEP IT AWAY FROM THESE PUPS? I HAVE 3 WEEK OLD FRENCH BULLDOG BABIES IN SAME ROOM, IS THERE A CHANCE THEY COULD GET IT??? :( THANKS! KARRI
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Oh...that's a bit more worrisome. Goodness, yes, I'd take the new litter and mom out of your home and kennel. Yes, the 3 week old pups are at risk. Practice good hygiene: cleanliness of dam, rigorous handwashing or use of gloves; keep the puppies' environment with an ambient temperature that minimizes CHV replication (95F). You're quite welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

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