Hepatitis in dogs is a highly contagious viral disease. It primarily affects the liver. However, it can also affect various other organs.
As you just learned, this disease is caused by a virus. This virus is known as canine adenovirus type 1, or CAV-1 for short. Most dogs get infected when they come into direct contact with an infected dog. Infected body fluids can also be a method of transmission. The virus can also be passed by parasites such as fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks.
Dog hepatitis can be either severe or acute. Dogs with the acute form will experience vomiting, fever, and diarrhea. The disease can also cause swollen lymph nodes, pale gums, and yellowish eyes. If your dog's liver also swells up, he may stop eating.
Dogs with the acute form of this disease usually recover after a week or so. On the other hand, the severe form is usually fatal. Common symptoms include bloody vomit and diarrhea, bloody nose, and bloody gums. Since some damage is done to the liver, it can also result in a coma or seizures.
Mild cases of hepatitis in dogs usually requires that your dog be hospitalized. Treatment involves giving intravenous fluids to combat dehydration that can be taken on by the diarrhea or vomiting. Additional supportive care may also be necessary.
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis in dogs. As mentioned, the severe form of this disease is often fatal, usually within a week. Sometimes, an infected dog can die within mere hours of showing symptoms. Dogs may be able to recover from the acute form.
The vaccine to guard against dog hepatitis is usually given to puppies. However, it can also be given to adult dogs that have yet to be vaccinated. The vaccine can contain either adenovirus type 1 or 2. Although type 1 is liable for this disease, a vaccine containing type 2 will also help prevent it.