ISSN 2398-2969      

Herpesvirus infection

Clapis

Introduction

  • Cause: Leporid herpesvirus 1 (Cottontail herpesvirus) (LeHV-1), Leporid herpesvirus 2 (LeHV-2), Leporid herpesvirus 3 (LeHV-3) and Leporid herpesvirus 4 (LeHV-4) have been identified. Recently, Leporid gammaherpesvirus 5 (LeHV-5) has been identified in the Iberian hare (Lepus granatensis), but not domestic rabbits.
  • Herpes cuniculi (Leporid herpesvirus 2) was first recognized in 1924 with the host being the domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). It is largely apathogenic.
  • A highly virulent strain has been recognized; this virulent strain is termed Leporid herpesvirus 4 with the host being the domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
  • Leporid herpesvirus 3, previously known as Herpesvirus sylvilagus, is a gamma herpes virus which causes lymphoproliferative disease in Cotton tail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus). It does not cause disease in domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
  • On occasion, Human herpesvirus 1 (HHV-1), also known as the herpes simplex virus, from an infected human can infect domestic rabbits, leading to severe encephalitis; this is an unusual cause of herpesvirus infection in pet rabbits.
  • Signs: depends on the herpesvirus. Varies from subclinical to hemorrhagic dermatitis, pneumonia, ocular discharge/lesions.
  • Diagnosis: blood sampling, tracheal wash.
  • Treatment: antibiosis to treat secondary bacterial infections, NSAIDs, assisted feeding, fluid therapy, isolation.
  • Prognosis: moderate 50% mortality reported.
Print off the Owner factsheet on Herpesvirus infection to give to your clients.


Presenting signs

  • Leporid herpesvirus 2 (LeHV-2) is apathogenic or subclinical. Leporid herpesvirus 4 (LeHV-4) causes hemorrhagic dermatitis of the face and dorsum, focal pneumonia Pneumonia and oculonasal discharge Eye: ocular discharge - overview Nose: nasal discharge - overview.
  • Leporid gammaherpesvirus 5 (LeHV-5) causes necrosis of the genitals and herpetic-like vesicles in the lips of Iberian hares that were co-infected with LeHV-5 and myxomatosis Myxomatosis.
  • Human herpesvirus 1 (HHV-1), also known as the herpes simplex virus causes neurological signs and death.

Acute presentation

Geographic incidence

  • LeHV-2 has only been reported from laboratory colonies.
  • LeHV-4 has been reported from laboratory colonies in Alaska USA and Canada.
  • LeHV-5 has been reported in wild Iberian hares in six districts of mainland Portugal.

Age predisposition

  • Young animals are more susceptible; periparturient or transplacental infection may be a feature.

Sex predisposition

  • Females may be more susceptible to LeHV-4, as periparturient does have featured heavily in the reported outbreaks.

Breed predisposition

  • Rex Rex and mini Rex breeds were prominent in reported LeHV-4 outbreaks, however true susceptibility is not yet known.

Cost considerations

  • High rates of mortality within laboratory colonies have significant cost impact for LeHV-4.
  • LeHV-2 is subclinical, however concurrent infection with Pasteurella multocida Pasteurella multocida may cause increased financial losses.

Special risks

  • Pneumonia Pneumonia and splenic necrosis is associated with LeHV-4, with increased handling and anesthesia risks.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Santos F A Ad, Monteiro M, Pinto A, Carvalho C L, Peleteiro M C et al (2020) First description of a herpesvirus infection in genus Lepus. PLOS ONE 15 (4), e0231795 PLOSONE.
  • Brash M L, Nagy E, Pei Y et al (2010) Acute hemorrhagic and necrotizing pneumonia, splenitis, and dermatitis in a pet rabbit caused by a novel herpesvirus (leporid herpesvirus-4). Can Vet J 51 (12), 1383-1386 PubMed.
  • Müller K, Fuchs W, Helblinski N, Teifke J P, Brunnberg L, Gruber A D & Klopfleisch R (2009) Encephalitis in a rabbit caused by human herpesvirus-1. JAVMA 235 (1), 66-69 PubMed.
  • Jin L, Valentine B A, Baker R J et al (2008) An outbreak of fatal herpesvirus infection in domestic rabbits in Alaska. Vet Pathol 45 (3), 369-374 PubMed.
  • Jin L, Valentine B A, Baker R J, Löhr C V, Gerlach R F, Bildfell R J & Moerdyk-Schauwecker M (2008) An outbreak of fatal herpesvirus infection in domestic rabbits in Alaska. Vet Pathol 45 (3), 369-374 PubMed.
  • Hesselton R M, Yang W C, Medveczky P & Sullivan J L (1998) Pathogenesis of Herpesvirus sylvilagus infection in Cottontail rabbits. Am J Path 133 (3), 639-647 PubMed.
  • Weissenböck H, Hainfellner J A, Berger J et al (1997) Naturally occurring Herpes simplex encephalitis in a domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Vet Pathol 34 (1), 44-47 PubMed.
  • Onderka D K, Papp-Vid G & Perry A W (1992) Fatal herpesvirus infection in commercial rabbits. Can Vet J 33 (8), 539-543 PubMed.
  • Lewis H S & Hinze H C (1976) Epidemiology of Herpesvirus sylvilagus infection in cotton tail rabbits. J Wildlife Dis 12 (4), 482-485 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Delaney M A, Treuting P M & Rothenburger J L (2018) Lagomorpha. In: Pathology of Wildlife and Zoo Animals. Eds: Terio K A, McAloose D & St. Leger J. Academic Press, UK. pp 481-497.
  • Hedley J (2014) Respiratory Disease. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine. Eds: Meredith A & Lord B. BSAVA, UK. pp 160-167.

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