What you need to know about Canine Hepatitis.

What you need to know about Canine Hepatitis.

Canine Hepatitis is a serious disease of dogs. It is not transmissible to other species. The vaccination for this is considered a Core Vaccination, and is recommended by the AAHA (the American Animal Hospital Association) for all dogs.

Canine Hepatitis is caused by one of two strains of adenovirus which affect dogs. It is transmitted through contact with infected feces. The virus targets the liver, kidneys, and eyes. Cases can be quick and deadly; death can result within 24 hours. If an affected dog survives past the first two days, the dog has a reasonable chance of recovery and life-long immunity.

Vaccination against this disease is achieved by using a modified live or killed product made from the safer CAV-2. Vaccination against adenovirus-2 will not prevent infection, but will greatly minimize the severity of the disease. The vaccine we use for this disease is extremely effective at prevention.

What are some signs of Canine adenovirus-1 (hepatitis)?

Canine hepatitis can cause a range of symptoms, including fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, runny eyes and nose, cough, vomiting, bleeding or bruising under the skin, swelling, build-up of fluid in the stomach, jaundice, or seizures.

How is Canine adenovirus-1 (hepatitis) treated?

There is no cure for the virus, so treatment aims to manage symptoms until the virus runs its course. Hospitalization and IV fluids are usually necessary. Antibiotics don’t treat the virus but can help protect against secondary bacterial infections. In serious cases, blood transfusions may be needed.


CAV-2 vaccines are most commonly used to protect against both of these viruses due to the potential for side effects from the CAV-1 vaccine.

With vaccination once every 3 years, you can safely and effectively protect your pet against this horrible disease.

Published by Murrayhill Veterinary Hospital, Your AAHA Accredited Beaverton Pet Hospital.

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