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Open Access Research

A serological study of canine herpesvirus-1 infection in a population of breeding bitches in Norway

Anette Krogenæs1*, Vibeke Rootwelt2, Stig Larsen13, Lena Renström4, Wenche Farstad1 and Arve Lund5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Production Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Biosciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Postboks 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway

2 Department of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Biosciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Postboks 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway

3 Center of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Biosciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Postboks 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway

4 Department of Virology, Immunobiology and Parasitology, National Veterinary Institute, Ulls Väg 2B, 751 89 Uppsala, Sweden

5 Department of Health Surveillance, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Ullevålsveien 68, Postboks 750 Sentrum, N-0106 Oslo, Norway

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Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2014, 56:19  doi:10.1186/1751-0147-56-19

Published: 2 April 2014

Abstract

Background

Canine herpesvirus-1 (CHV1) causes a fatal hemorrhagic disease in neonatal puppies and is associated with infertility in female dogs. This study was conducted to assess the status of CHV1 infection in bitches in proestrus or estrus and to investigate possible risk factors by a detailed questionnaire. Blood samples were collected from healthy bitches (n = 193) not vaccinated against CHV1, aged one year or older and admitted for estrus control to the Canine Reproductive Clinical Unit, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science. The serum samples were analysed by immunoperoxidase monolayer assay and serum titers were recorded as the reciprocal value of the highest dilution producing specific cell staining.

Results

Altogether, 85.5% of the dogs had CHV1 titers ≥ 80 and were classified as positive. Mean age for dogs included in the study was 4.2 years (95% CI 4.0-4.5), and there was no difference in age between seronegative dogs vs seropositive dogs. When grouping the seropositive dogs into three categories according to the magnitude of the titer, a total of 38.8% of the bitches displayed a weakly positive titer of 80, 44.8% had moderately positive titers of 160 or 320 and 16.4% of the dogs fell into the strongly positive category with titer of ≥640. No association was demonstrated when comparing CHV1 antibody titers to fertility parameters such as previous matings, pregnancies, whelpings, puppies born or condition of puppies. Further, there was no difference in seroprevalence between bitches that had been abroad for a period of time and dogs only living within a Norwegian environment. Samples from dogs collected in summer and fall displayed moderate to high antibody titers indicating recent infection with CHV1. Season, previous birth, and participation in competitions/shows explained 67-78% of the variation in antibody titer.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates that CHV1 infection is common in breeding bitches in the eastern part of Norway. Associations with putative risk factors were not identified. However, season, previous whelping, and participation in competitions/shows explained 67-78% of the variation in antibody titer.

Keywords:
Canine herpesvirus; Dog; Sero-epidemiology; Reproduction