BACKGROUND: Caprine herpesvirus 1 (CpHV-1) is responsible of systemic diseases in kids and genital diseases leading to abortions in goats. CpHV-1 is widespread and especially in Mediterranean countries as Greece, Italy and Spain. CpHV-1 is antigenically and genetically closely related to bovine herpesvirus 1 (BoHV-1). Taking into account the biological properties shared by these two viruses, we decided in the current study to assess the protection of a live attenuated glycoprotein E (gE) negative BoHV-1 vaccine against a genital CpHV-1 infection in goats. RESULTS: The vaccine was inoculated intranasally twice three weeks apart followed by a subsequent CpHV-1 intravaginal challenge which is the natural route of infection in three goats. To analyse the safety and the efficacy of this marker vaccine, two groups of three goats served as controls: one immunised with a virulent CpHV-1 and one uninoculated until the challenge. Goats were clinically monitored and all sampling procedures were carried out in a blind manner. The vaccine did not induce any undesirable local or systemic reaction and goats did not excrete gE-negative BoHV-1. After challenge, a significant reduction in disease severity was observed in immunised goats. Moreover, goats immunised with either gE-negative BoHV-1 or CpHV-1 exhibited a significant reduction in the length and the peak of viral excretion. Antibodies neutralising both BoHV-1 and CpHV-1 were raised in immunised goats. CONCLUSION: Intranasal application of a live attenuated gE-negative BoHV-1 vaccine is able to afford a clinical protection and a reduction of virus excretion in goats challenged by a CpHV-1 genital infection.