Hepatitis affect your dogs?
Hepatitis is actually a very broad term. It will signify an inflammation
of the liver, although the causes may actually differ. Since the
liver is a very complex and vital organ a disease that incapacitates
it will prove to be fatal. The liver's primary functions are the
detoxification, metabolism, the storage of glycogen and the synthesis
of plasma protein. It also produces the bile that aids in digestion.
The good news is, the liver is a large organ with plenty of reserves.
The bad news is, since it has a large reserve, it won't show apparent
symptoms unless the liver is seriously damaged.
do get hepatitis, it may be different in cause and effect from human
hepatitis. There is what is called Infectious Canine Hepatitis.
This disease is caused by a virus, and may prove to be a fatal disease
in some dogs.
What is Hepatitis?
This disease is caused by the CAV-1 ? an adenovirus. Dogs typically
acquire this virus from contact ? either through inhalation or ingestion
? of urine, eye secretions, and nasal secretions of infected dogs.
This type of virus does not affect humans or other animals, only
The virus will attack the liver, eye, kidney, and blood vessel
cells upon entry into the system of the dog.
Fortunately, not all of these infections are fatal. Some dogs,
after acquiring this virus, will manifest a cough,
lethargy, loss of appetite, moodiness and low grade fevers. In some
cases, they do not show any symptoms at all.
Some will develop "blue eye". Blue eye is a bluish discoloration
of the cornea of the pets eye. Dogs that go through these become
immune to re-infection from the disease. This will usually be the
case in healthy, mature dogs with a healthy immune system.
However, there are some dogs; especially puppies; that will become
very ill due to the virus. These dogs will develop internal bleeding,
liver disease, tonsillitis, and general inflammation of the eyes
and mouth. If left untreated, this condition could quickly deteriorate
to shock and death.
The virus is also known to attack
the dog's spinal cord and brain.
After infection the virus will take about five days to a week before
manifesting openly. By this time the dog
will be secreting the virus through its stool, urine, saliva, and
nasal secretions. In two weeks time, the dog either succumbs to
the illness or develops chronic hepatitis coupled with cirrhosis
of the liver. This will seriously impair the dog's capacity for
converting glucose, and absorbing toxins.
This condition will reduce the liver's capability to perform functions
necessary for life. These functions include filtering harmful and
toxic elements from the blood, storing blood sugar for conversion
into usable energy, and creating many proteins that are necessary
in the system.
Unfortunately, there is no way to destroy the virus after it has
entered the dog's system. Veterinarians will treat the disease by
good supportive therapy ? intravenous fluids, good
diet, rest, medicines to lighten the liver's workload, and good
care ? all aimed to strengthen the dog's ability to recuperate.
They will also give antibiotics to treat secondary infections.
There is a vaccine for this disease. It is a routine part of a
puppy's vaccination plan. And partly due to its efficiency, the
cases of canine hepatitis in the United States are low. Therefore,
the best way to keep your dogs free from this disease is a proper
vaccination plan, and prompt and periodic visits with the veterinarian.
Canine hepatitis can prove to be a troublesome disease that, if
unattended, will surely result in a dog's death. With proper information
about this disease dog owners will be able to take preemptive steps
to assure themselves that their pets are safe from this debilitating
Chronic Active Hepatitis:
As opposed to the previous disease, this form of hepatitis is harder
to treat and the prognoses are not very promising. This usually
occurs in dogs of advanced age. The disease is caused by other factors
such as toxins and molds in the dog's diet. Infectious Canine Hepatitis
can also cause this.
The symptoms of this disease are hard to pinpoint, but generally
they will include lethargy, diarrhea, loss of appetite, swollen
abdomen, jaundice (or yellowing eyes, gums, and skin). This disease
could advance into the nervous system and render the dog
blind. Seizures, coma and death usually follow.
To avoid this disease, good health habits including a good
diet that emphasizes foods screened for toxins and molds should
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