Canine Hepatitis Overview

What is Canine Hepatitis? How does a dog get it? AND...
What are the treatments for it?

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The liver is the second largest organ in the body responsible for eliminating and detoxifying toxins that enter the bloodstream.

Optimal liver functioning is vital to the health of your dog's immune system, which ensures that your dog stays healthy.


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 of an infected dog - body fluids like feces, urine, blood, saliva and even the dog's nasal discharge. The viral disease is transmitted by either direct contact with an infected animal or from objects that have been contaminated - (like food dishes and kennels).

The virus can cause damage throughout the body but in particular to important organs such as the liver, kidneys, lungs and eyes in dogs. Dogs of all ages are susceptible to the disease but especially unvaccinated puppies. Luckily hepatitis vaccines have been effective in preventing infection and should be part of your puppy's vaccination plan.


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Hepatitis in Dogs Symptoms

Cases of canine hepatitis can be mild to severe. Dogs with mild cases may lose their appetite, act lethargic, run a low-grade fever, and/or develop a cough.

Dogs with an acute form of the disease (which can turn fatal) will develop more severe symptoms and may require hospitalization.

Symptoms of Canine Hepatitis

  • high fevers
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • seizures
  • lethargy
  • cloudy or bluish eyes
  • loss of appetite
  • dog cough
  • increased drinking & urination
  • swollen lymph nodes

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.

Important to note: Dogs recovering from canine hepatitis can still be carriers. This means they can pass the virus on for up to nine months in the urine. Also, to help prevent the spread of the virus, it is a good idea to disinfect contaminated objects with bleach to kill the virus.

Performer 7, canine hepatitis vaccine

Performer 7 (Formerly Univac 7)
Used in the vaccination of healthy dogs against canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza canine parvovirus, Leptospira canicloa and Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae. Modified live and killed viruses.

Canine Adenovirus Treatments

Treatment for CAV-1 usually consists of the administration of intravenous fluids, antibiotics, special diet, vitamins, and plenty of rest. However, permanent prevention through vaccination against the CAV-1 is recommended with boosters every one to three years.

Remember: Your puppy or unvaccinated dog should always be kept away from public places and from other dogs outside of your own home until your dog has completed all vaccinations. Until your dog or puppy is properly immunized keep playtime and potty breaks limited to your own yard. This is the best way to ensure your unvaccinated puppy or dog does not come into contact with contaminated objects, urine or feces.

Always seek medical attention and advice from your Vet




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