CAH in dogs, also known as chronic active hepatitis, affects all dogs worldwide and it has no successful treatment if it attacks a non-vaccinated dog.
In fact, once the symptoms start to occur in your dog, they may not live much longer than two to three hours as it is that vicious of a killer.
It will almost always appear that your dog has been poisoned, as they will die so rapidly.
Hepatitis in dogs is caused by a virus that is part of the group of viruses called the adenovirus, or CAV-1.
This form of the virus is not infectious to humans and is extremely rare in cats, but it is common among dogs as well as several wild animals.
There are very effective vaccinations for this killer of diseases, and they are part of vaccination procedure that a puppy will get between the ages of 12 to 16 weeks.
the vaccination is for Canine Adenovirus 2, it will also protect against both the CAV-1 as well as the CAV-2 forms.
If your puppy receives this vaccination, they are usually protected for life from ICH, which is Infectious Canine hepatitis.
However, this killer disease still looms in the form of CAH and can be caused by several other conditions or disease.
CAH in dogs can infect your pet, even though they have been vaccinated for ICH. It can be caused ICH, even if it is very mild, or by a disease known as leptospirosis.
However, it can also be caused by an auto-immune disease.
This is a situation where your dog’s system actually attacks itself and starts to kill the protective virus.
It may also be caused by a drug or chemical toxicity. There is an agent called Aflotoxins that is found in moldy corn.
If you are feeding your dog a inexpensive dog food containing corn, it can very easily trigger this deadly disease.
A high quality dog food manufacture tests regularly for this toxin, but unfortunately, some of the lesser brands may not.
However, perhaps the single largest causes of CAH in your dog are from a condition known as copper storage disease, as well as some genetic factors.
CAH in dogs is a chronic and very progressive inflammation of your pets liver that will eventually lead to the replacement of normal tissue with scar tissue.
For this reason, it is also referred to as chronic canine inflammatory hepatic disease.
Although there are several potential causes, in most all cases the actual case is never fully determined which make it very difficult to treat.
The reason it is so difficult to treat, is that once it reaches this stage, your dog is in liver failure as it is continually inflaming the liver cells.
This is what is referred to as cirrhosis of the liver. Although all breeds can be affected, for whatever reason, it seems to attack certain breeds much more frequently.
The breeds include the Bedlington terrier, the Skye terrier, and the West Highland white terrier. It also includes Doberman pincher, Standard poodles, as well as Cocker spaniels.
CAH in dogs can cause your dog to be ill for several months.
With ICH, one of the first symptoms that you will see is your dog’s eyes starting to turn blue, but with CAH in dogs this is not the case.
The first symptom that usually develops will be a loss of appetite in your dog that very quickly leads to anorexia.
This will than cause a gradual weight loss, which may escalate by the next symptoms; vomiting and diarrhea as the inflammation is causing the scaring to occur.
This will than result in both polydipsia, which is excessive drinking, as well as polyuria, which is excessive urination.
Your dog will than develop what is called ascites, which is an accumulation of fluid in their abdominal cavity.
But there are two more symptoms that will become very chilling to witness; increased and very easy bleeding, as well as jaundice.
Jaundice is a condition where your dog’s skin will turn yellow in color.
Once you see these symptoms, your dog is in the final stages.
The scarring in the liver is becoming so severe, that it can no longer function properly, and may also cause hepatic encephalopathy.
This is a malfunction of your dog’s brain and is the result of toxic accumulations that are normally cleaned by the blood stream in a normal functioning liver.
There are treatments for CAH in dogs, but it will be very difficult as there is still no effective treatment that can regenerate the liver.
Because of this, most treatments will be supportive in nature.
The first form of treatment is usually with your dog’s diet.
Treating liver disease nutritionally is done by reducing the amounts of lower protein in your pets diet, and replacing them with very high quality protein.
However, this is a two edged sword, as most dogs in this stage are usually malnourished and they must regain some body weight.
There are high quality protein foods available, but it is usually recommended at this stage to feed your dog a homemade diet of high protein.
There also some drugs used to increase the bile flow to help protect your dog’s liver cells from the negative effects that bile acids are causing.
These are usually semi-successful, as they have no inflammatory properties which would only further aggravate the condition.
SAMe drugs will also be used to improve the metabolism of the liver, which can be very helpful if it works.
SAMe is naturally produced by a healthy liver, and if it does work effectively, it can slow down further scarring.
Corticosteroids may be tried on an individual basis, but these drugs can be very dangerous as they are especially harmful to the liver.
If this is discussed as an option, it would be wise to get a second opinion from another veterinarian.
If there is enough evidence in the testing that copper storage may be the problem, there are very specific treatments that can limit the amount of copper in your dog’s system.
If bleeding issues do develop as the result of coagulation problems, your dog will be given an injection of Vitamin K to correct this.
If all other treatments fail with CAH in dogs, your pet may be given drugs to alter the immune system in response to a possible auto-immune condition.
This was used extensively in the past, but because of other conditions that it can create, it is used generally as a last resort by most veterinarians today.
CAH in dogs has absolutely no protective measures that can be taken.
Even if your dog has been vaccinated for hepatitis, it can still haunt them, especially in the breeds that seem to be more vulnerable.
Watching for the signs and reacting to them very quickly is difficult as this disease often develops slowly.
If it does attack an non-vaccinated dog, they will have absolutely no chance.
However, if your dog does survive this killer, they will never have to worry about it again.
They will be immune for life simply because their system is so sophisticated that it will recognize it the second time around and beat it very easily.