Canine Diseases, Canine Infectious Hepatitis, Adenovirus, hazing to the cornea.

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Canine Infectious Hepatitis

Canine hepatitis is caused by an adenovirus. The hepatitis virus is most serious in very young dogs. It is spread by contact with an infected animal through feces or urine. This is another disease that tends to strike young dogs and puppies. While dogs can recover from infectious hepatitis, some do not, and many of them need extensive medical care.

The first symptom is a nonspecific fever. It progresses to loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, and an inflamed liver. Occasionally, jaundice (a yellowing of the body tissues) is seen and is classic for liver damage. Some dogs also develop a cloudiness, or hazing to the cornea (surface of the eye) called "Blue Eye." Those dogs that survive the initial disease can have chronic liver damage or permanent eye impairment.

Dogs with infectious hepatitis almost always need veterinary hospitalization, where they are put on an intravenous drip for fluids and may receive a blood transfusion. Vitamins and amino acid supplements are given intravenously as well, as it is important to keep up your dog's strength without taxing the intestines or liver. Supportive antibiotics may be needed to prevent bacteria from flowing into the damaged tissues. Realize though, this is a viral disease, and no medication can specifically kill this virus. The dog's own body has to fight off the virus, so you and your veterinarian should work to help keep her body in the battle.

Vaccination is also help to prevent this disease. Hepatitis is usually covered in the initial puppy vaccinations, with a booster at about one year of age.