Canine infectious hepatitis is found worldwide and can affect dogs of any age, breed, or sex.
If this virus attacks your dog and they have not been vaccinated, it may die within a couple of hours after the initial symptoms.
It can attack so suddenly and violently that it may appear that your dog has been poisoned.
Dogs that are less than one year old are especially at risk of this potentially deadly virus.
It is extremely contagious and is spread by the body fluids of your dog; primarily nasal discharges and urination.
Canine infectious hepatitis is so potent that a pet that has recovered from this infection can still spread it for almost a year through their urine.
Unlike other similar viruses it can only be spread to other dogs and it is not contagious to humans or to cats.
Your dog could catch this virus, however, from the urine of an infected fox, wolf, or a bear if geographically they were to roam the same areas.
Canine infectious hepatitis is a disease of your dog’s liver as well as other body organs such as the eyes and kidneys.
However, it can also affect the inner linings of blood vessels throughout their entire body.
It is caused by canine adenovirus type 1, also known as (CAV-1). Adenoviruses are linear, double stranded DNA viruses that attack several types of animals.
Although it is closely related to canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) it does not affect the respiratory tract like CAV-2 does.
It will almost always be contracted by your pet coming into contact with contaminated urine from an infected dog.
The infectious particles will enter your dog’s body either through the nose or the mouth and the initial landing spot will be the tonsils.
From here the virus starts to replicate itself and invades the lymph nodes.
This replication process can take up to a week and once finished, it spreads out from the lymph nodes.
From here it begins to enter into your pet’s blood stream.
Once it is in the bloodstream, it than attacks the liver and other organs as well as attacking the lining of the blood vessels.
Although the major cause is direct contact with infected urine, canine infectious hepatitis can also be transmitted by contaminated dog runs, cages, eating and drinking dishes, as well as your hands and shoes.
The liver is always the hardest hit organ with consequences that include disturbance of protein and fat manufacture and problems with bile secretion.
It also may include a sudden difficulty detoxifying drugs, chemicals, and bacteria from food.
The symptoms of canine infectious hepatitis can range from very mild to that of death if this virus attacks an non-vaccinated dog.
The initial symptoms will almost always be located in the tonsils and the larynx which will cause your dog to develop a sore throat which leads to coughing.
There have been some case of pneumonia, but these are very rare.
Once the virus has reproduced and enters the bloodstream and then the liver and kidneys, it can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
The particles of this virus are considered to be cytotoxic, which means that they are capable of producing toxic like effects on the cells of your pet.
In severe cases this toxic affect can lead to a disturbance of both the fat and protein manufacturing processes in your dog as well as affecting their bile secretions.
They will also have trouble detoxifying drugs, chemicals, and bacteria, especially bacteria from food.
However, one of the most common symptoms will be what is referred to as hepatitis blue eyes.
With this symptom your dog or puppy will develop a cloudy and bluish tint to their eyes, and what is happening is that your pet is having a very difficult time seeing and is squinting as the cornea is filling with liquid.
This will diminish if your pet fights back the infection. It was also much more common as a reaction to vaccinations, but the newer vaccinations do not cause this symptom as frequently as they once did.
However, this is still the main symptom to watch for in helping to identify this virus infection.
There are no treatments today that can fight canine infectious hepatitis once your pet has been infected.
However there are supportive measures such as intravenous fluids and antibiotics to help the workload that the liver is experiencing.
The risks to dogs will vary tremendously depending on their immune system. Over a period of just a few weeks your pet will start to shed the virus through their stool, urine, and saliva.
They will either fight off this infection in which case they will be immune for the remainder of their lives, or it becomes very serious.
If your dog does not die from canine infectious hepatitis, they may develop chronic hepatitis which will eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver.
This condition will also take their life as it is only a matter of time.
Some dogs will also develop circulatory abnormalities that can and will place them in severe jeopardy.
That is where there is great news concerning canine infectious hepatitis.
If your dog has been vaccinated and still contracts this virus, the chances are that all symptoms will be very mild and your dog will recover very quickly.
However, they can still pass on the virus to other dogs.
These vaccines are part of a regular vaccination process for puppies that are 12-16 weeks old.
The virus that is in the vaccination may contain either adenovirus type 1 or type 2, but they are so similar it does not matter as either one will cross protect either of the viruses.
These vaccinates protect your puppy for several years and in most all cases their entire life, so there is no need for another vaccination.
However, if a puppy is not vaccinated within the first 16 weeks they are at a tremendous risk from canine infectious hepatitis as about one third of all dogs will contact this virus and pass it on.
While a vaccinated dog may still catch this virus and the symptoms will be very mild; a puppy not yet vaccinated will most likely not survive the onslaught.
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