Infectious canine hepatitis

Infectious canine hepatitis an acute highly contagious viral disease of dogs which affect the liver and other organs and is characterized by high rise of temperature, diarrhoea, vomiting and convulsion. Dogs of all ages, specially puppies and foxes is affected by this disease. Infectious canine hepatitis is caused by two strains of Adeno Virus, canine adenovirus (CAV-1) and canine adenovirus (CAV-II).


How does transmission of canine hepatitis take place?
Transmission of canine hepatitis takes place by ingestion of contaminated urine or saliva. Adenovirus present in the kidney of the recovered dog excrete it in the urine for months or even for more than a year. All excretions and secretion of the infected dog like saliva, blood, nasal discharges, urine, faeces contains the virus. Incubation period is 5-9 days.

What are the signs and symptoms of canine hepatitis?
Three forms of symptoms occur in dogs suffering from canine hepatitis.
Mild or in apparent form: It is the most common form and most often the disease remain undiagnosed. Dog remains malice and there is slight rise of temperature, anorexia, debility and rapid recovery of the dog.
Per-acute form: The dog shows high rise of temperature, conjunctivitis, swollen tonsil, tenderness of the abdomen, hemorrhages, red buccal mucous membrane. Dog which looks normal at night dies the next morning.
Acute form: Dog show apathy, refusal to eat food, high rise of temperature up to105°F, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain.The first rise of temperature falls after 24-48 hours and it rises again to form a saddle curve which lasts for 6 days. Dog shows severe tendency to take water, hemorrhages of buccal cavity, tonsillitis, tenderness of abdomen and due to swelling of liver capsule dog shows pain on palpation of xiphoid area. During the convalescence period after 1-3 weeks following disappearance of clinical signs dog suffer from transient corneal opacity leading to “Hepatitis blue eye”, characterized by inflammation of iris and ciliary body and corneal edema. Respiratory involvement like coughing, rapid respiration, snapping may be seen. The dog suffers from severe jaundice as well as inflammation of liver.

Diagnosis of canine distemper
Diagnosis of canine distemper is based on the following
(a) Clinical signs- Dog suffering from hepatitis has thin thready pulse with weak, rapid heart sounds which helps the disease to differentiate from other systemic infections where dog always has a strong bounding pulse and heart rate.
(b) Microscopic changes- Intranuclear inclusion bodies in the liver, gall bladder, brain and cornea(c) Gel diffusion test- helps to diagnose the disease even in decomposed animal
(d)Complement fixation test- Used to diagnose the virus
(e) Neutralization test- Used for the identification of the virus
(f) Animal inoculation test- Ferrets are inoculated with suspected materials and if disease are
produced then it indicates canine distemper and if there is resistance it indicates infectious
hepatitis virus
(g)Liver function test-Transaminase enzyme will be elevated in a severely ill dog

Treatment of infectious canine hepatitis
There is no specific treatment. Symptomatic treatment are usually given. They are as follows
(a) Broad spectrum antibiotic -To prevent secondary bacterial infection
(b) Anti emetic - To stop vomiting
(c) Anti diarrhoea- To stop diarrhoea
(d) Anti serum may be tried
(e) Blood transfusion in case of severely infected dog. Dose is 5-8ml/lb of body weight by slow
intra venous infusion
(f) Fluid theraphy - NSS or DNS to restore fluid and electrolyte loss
(g) Anti pyretic – In case of high rise of temperature
(h)Vitamins therapy and protein hydrolysate- To restore vitality
(i) Care nursing of infected dogs

Can man get infectious canine hepatitis?
Infectious canine hepatitis is not a zoonotic disease and it should not be confused with hepatitis in man. This is a highly contagious disease transmissible only to dogs.


How to control and prevent infectious canine hepatitis
Dogs should be vaccinated against canine hepatitis. Usually combined vaccines are available. Modified live virus(CAV-1 or CAV-II) or inactivated vaccines(CAV-1)are to be given at 6-8 weeks, booster at 12-16weeks and then yearly. Strict hygienic measures are to be followed.

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