Dog hepatitis: symptoms and treatment

Fortunately, hepatitis in dogs is rare nowadays. However, this does not mean that their pathogen is harmless. The symptoms show up within a few days. If no treatment is given, this can be fatal, especially in young dogs. See the vet straight away with the first symptoms of hepatitis - Photo: Shutterstock / NEstudio

The contagious inflammation of the liver in dogs, called hepatitis contagiosa canis among doctors, is an infectious disease. It is caused by the adenovirus in dogs. Today, it only occurs relatively rarely as a sudden inflammation of the liver. However, it is possible that the virus also causes chronic hepatitis, i.e. permanent inflammation of the liver.

Protection against hepatitis through vaccination?

The contagious inflammation of the liver in dogs can be very different. The majority of the dogs remain symptom-free. However, they develop antibodies that protect them from re-infection throughout life. A kind of natural vaccination protection, which you can also get from the vet with an appropriate syringe. Acute hepatitis in dogs despite vaccination occurs only in extremely rare cases. Your darling is best protected against hepatitis by vaccination. However, the protection must be renewed after three years. The basic immunization should take place from the eighth week of life.

Dog hepatitis: these symptoms are typical

Puppies or dogs without vaccination usually suffer more severely from hepatitis. You have the following symptoms 2-5 days after infection:

● fever
● vomiting
● diarrhea
● jaundice
● Loss of appetite
● strong thirst
● apathy
● abdominal pain
● bleeding

Get veterinary help immediately if you see these symptoms in your dog. Especially in puppies, the prognosis is unfavorable if you hesitate even briefly - death occurs after 12 to 36 hours. Canine hepatitis contagiosa can also be chronic if there is insufficient antibody to canine adenovirus-1. Then the viruses persist in the dog's kidneys and liver, causing chronic inflammation of the liver.

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These treatment options are available for hepatitis

The doctor can prove the disease by examining the nasal secretion, blood or urine. In some cases it is necessary to take a tissue sample from the liver. If the dog has hepatitis, treatment follows. Therapy focuses on symptoms because the virus itself cannot be controlled. An attempt is made to avoid complications and to treat fever, diarrhea and the other complaints.

The dog is usually given infusions by the veterinarian to ensure that he is getting enough fluids and electrolytes. Damage to the kidneys and liver as well as changes to the cornea are possible consequences after surviving the disease.

Can hepatitis be transmitted from dogs to humans?

Hepatitis can be transmitted quickly from dog to dog. They are infected with the dangerous virus mostly through food or water contaminated with urine. Infection through contact with saliva or feces is also possible. Humans cannot become infected with canine adenovirus-1 and need not be afraid of dealing with a sick animal.