Canine Hepatitis Prognosis

Canine hepatitis is an infection that affects that liver and kidneys of dogs and is caused by the adenovirus type 1. Even though this infection affects major organs, the dog may recover and the prognosis is typically good. However, the disease may cause some permanent damage to the kidneys or eyes.

Canine Hepatitis

Hepatitis in dogs is an infection of the liver and kidneys. It's a condition that is also present in other mammals such as wolves or foxes. The adenovirus type 1 is transmitted through blood, saliva, nasal secretions, urine and feces.

Once the virus is contracted, it will require an incubation period of up to 1 week. After this, the dog will present symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Swelling of the abdomen and pain when touched
  • Corneal edema
  • Jaundice
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Bleeding

Not all symptoms are present and some dogs may only experience milder symptoms.

Hepatitis Prognosis

In the majority of dogs with hepatitis, complete healing will result. Medication treatment is not necessary, as most dogs will recover without any intervention. The immune system will build up immunity and the virus will be eliminated from the body.

However, some dogs that develop more severe symptoms may require hospitalization, and the disease can be fatal. This happens in rare cases in puppies, senior dogs and dogs that have an underlying condition and a weaker immune system.

The adenovirus type 1 should be eliminated from the dog's surroundings, as even if the dog develops immunity, the virus can survive for numerous months and may infect other pets. Diluted bleach can effectively kill the adenovirus type 1. An infected dog may carry the virus and shed it in the feces or urine for up to 1 year after healing.

Hepatitis Complications

The hepatitis virus may cause a few complications in the dog's body, but only in some cases. The dog will have affected liver and kidney function, and if his immune system is weak, the dog can fail to eliminate the waste materials from the blood and death can occur. Even if the dog recovers, the kidneys will have lesions. Corneal edema will also persist even after the virus is gone. In rare cases, the dog will lose his eyesight.

Canine Hepatitis Prevention

Canine hepatitis can be prevented by administering a vaccine against the adenovirus. There are vaccines against the adenovirus type 1 and type 2. The vet may recommend both of these, because as the adenovirus type 2 causes a highly contagious respiratory infection and is very common in canines.

These vaccines are administered in the first year of the dog's life and boosters are recommended each of the following years. However, certain studies have shown that the adenovirus vaccine can be effective for up to 4 years. Discuss with your vet and decide the best time to administer the boosters.