What is it?
A disease of the liver and other body organs caused by canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1).
Who is susceptible to it?
Unvaccinated dogs of all ages are at risk, however, the disease is most prevalent in patients less than one year of age.
How does it spread?
The virus is spread by body fluids including nasal discharge and urine. Recovered patients can shed the virus for up to nine months in the urine. The primary mode of transmission is by direct contact with an infected dog. Contaminated runs, cages, dishes, hands, boots, etc., can also serve as a source of transmission.
Time line from exposure to signs?
Signs begin 4 to 7 days after exposure.
What are the symptoms?
Initially, the virus causes a sore throat, coughing, fever, vomiting, diarrhea and occasionally pneumonia. Later it can affect the eyes, liver, and kidneys. The clear portion of the eyes, called the cornea, may appear cloudy or bluish. As the liver and kidneys fail, one may notice seizures, increased thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, and swollen abdomen. Death can result as soon as two hours after the initial signs. Death can be so sudden it may appear as if the patient was poisoned.
Is there a test for it?
Yes. Two blood samples are collected (the first collected while the animal is sick and the second collected 3 weeks later) and sent out to the lab.
How is it treated?
There is no specific treatment for infectious canine hepatitis. IV fluids and supportive care are indicated.
Cleaning the environment?
The virus is inactivated by heat, sunlight, most detergents, soaps and chemicals.
Is there a vaccine?
Yes! The vaccine (Modified Live) is the “H” in the DHPP vaccine. The vaccine is given by injection and requires two doses 4 weeks apart with yearly boosters. Puppies should receive a minimum of two doses after 12 weeks of age.
Risk for humans?
To date, there is no evidence of transmission of Canine Hepatitis from dogs to people.