Infectious Hepatitis in Dogs - Defintion

Source: PetWave, Updated on August 15, 2016
Infectious Hepatitis


Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) is one of several types of liver disease in domestic dogs. It is also reported in bears, coyotes and foxes. ICH is highly contagious and is caused by canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1), which is transmitted between dogs by direct oral or nasal contact with bodily secretions from an infected dog, such as urine, feces, saliva or nasal discharge. The virus also can be transmitted on bedding, feces, leashes and shoes, although this is less common. CAV-1 lodges in a dog’s tonsils and lymph nodes and begins to propagate. Viral particles disseminate in the dog’s blood and have a particular fondness for liver, kidney and blood vessel tissues. Infected dogs become listless and develop progressive paralysis, seizures, collapse, coma, and usually death. This can happen within a matter of hours and can resemble a poisoning. Sometimes, ICH develops into chronic hepatitis, which may be called “blue eye hepatitis” due to the change in eye color often seen in affected dogs. Fortunately, ICH is uncommon in this country because of routine vaccination protocols.

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