Canine Hepatitis – Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Canine hepatitis is a viral disease affecting a dog’s liver caused by canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1). The virus is spread by body fluids, including nasal discharge and urine. It is transmitted by direct contact with an infected animal or from contaminated objects like food dishes and kennels. Dogs of all ages are susceptible to the disease but the most serious threat is to unvaccinated puppies.

Cases of canine hepatitis can be mild to severe. Dogs with mild cases may lose their appetite, act lethargic, run a fever, and develop a cough. Dogs with an acute form of canine hepatitis (which can turn fatal) will develop more severe symptoms including high fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, cloudy or bluish eyes, and may require hospitalization. Because the virus affects the liver, a vital organ responsible for performing many bodily functions, the disease is serious and should be treated for immediately.

    note: Dogs recovering from the disease can still be carriers and can pass on the virus for up to nine months in the urine. Since it is such a highly contagious disease dogs, the responsible thing is to keep a recovering dog from exposing others, by not allowing him around unvaccinated dogs and puppies.

Treatment for canine hepatitis usually consists of the administration of intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and vitamins. However, permanent prevention through a vaccination against the CAV-1 is recommended with boosters every one to three years. There’s no reason your dog should have to become infected. Have your dog vaccinated.

Always seek medical attention and advice from your Veterinarian