Herpes caninum is a viral infection that can cause abortion and neonatal losses in dogs.
Infected litters that manage to survive pregnancy die a horrible death in the first week of life.
Owners never forget the experience as it is a most distressing disease.
The condition is difficult to test for but post mortem signs are pretty obvious, with haemorrhagic dots surrounded by white lesions in the liver and kidney.
Although the virus may be prevalent in some areas, it is only when bitches actually become infected during pregnancy that problems occur, so vaccination is really worthwhile.
It is important to remember that Herpes caninum is not a sexually transmitted disease.
Any in-contact dog might infect the bitch.
Vaccination has to be given after mating and again during gestation.
It must be repeated at each pregnancy although infected bitches become immune for life.