The first time I heard about Herpesviruses in veterinary medicine, I was in my 3rd year of veterinary studies in Toulouse (South of France).
I heard about it in internal medicine, as a common cause of upper respiratory tract infections in cats. I also heard about it in opthalmology, as a cause of corneal ulcers, also in felines. I heard a bit about it in bovine and equine reproduction as well, as an important cause of infertility and abortion.
And that was it. To tell you the truth, I didn’t hear much about it in the canine species during my first 4 years as a veterinary student. But that was about to change on a Monday morning of Sept 2004, when I stepped into the CERCA building in Paris, a specialized veterinary center on canine reproduction.
I started at CERCA as a 5th year veterinary student, and spent the 7 following years there, doing a residency and a PhD on canine reproduction. I was essentially working with dog breeders, and during my time there, I heard MANY stories about canine herpesvirus infections. I am not going to lie, some of them were pretty scary I must admit.
But where do we draw the line between fiction and reality ? I think we fear what we don’t understand (that is natural human behaviour after all) and that seems to be often the problem with canine herpesvirus. There is no doubt this is a disease that can impact canine reproduction. It is crucial however to understand to which extent.