What is infectious canine hepatitis?
Infectious canine hepatitis is a very serious condition worldwide, caused by a highly infectious virus that affects the liver.
It can develop extremely quickly in puppies and dogs. Mortality rates in dogs with canine hepatitis range from 10-30% and is typically highest in very young dogs.
What are the symptoms of infectious canine hepatitis?
A puppy or dog with infectious canine hepatitis will show a variety of different symptoms. You should always look for:
• An enlarged liver
• Abdominal pain
A puppy or dog with a more severe case of infectious canine hepatitis may also have the following symptoms:
• Bruising of the skin
• Red dots on the skin
• Swollen and enlarged lymph nodes
What causes infectious canine hepatitis?
Infectious canine hepatitis is transmitted through the blood, nasal discharge, saliva, urine or feces of infected dogs.
It’s a virus that can survive for a long time in canine communities and is difficult to remove as it is resistant to lipid solvents, such as ether, as well as acid and formalin.
Can my puppy be vaccinated against infectious canine hepatitis?
Infectious canine hepatitis can be prevented with the correct vaccination. Therefore, it's very important that they get the necessary jabs at the right age.
Puppies usually begin a vaccination program between the age of six to eight weeks, with the infectious canine hepatitis vaccination given between seven to nine weeks.
Your puppy will be given their first booster for infectious canine hepatitis at 11 to 13 weeks. Only after this first booster will your puppy be protected.
How do I know if my puppy needs the vaccine?
The vaccines provided to puppies consist of mandatory and recommended. The vaccine for infectious canine hepatitis is one of the mandatory vaccines and will always be given to your puppy as part of the vaccination program put in place by your veterinarian.
Will the vaccination always cover my dog for infectious canine hepatitis?
The first injections administered for infectious canine hepatitis will not permanently protect them. It is important to make sure that your puppy is given booster injections throughout their life.
Your puppy will be required to have another booster at 15 months and then, annually to ensure they are vaccinated against the infection.
Speak to your veterinarian as they will be able to help you choose a vaccination program best suited to the needs of your puppy, depending on where they’ll be spending time and the activities they’ll be doing.
What should I do if I think my puppy is suffering from infectious canine hepatitis?
If your puppy starts to present any of the symptoms of infectious canine hepatitis you should contact a veterinarian immediately. They will carry blood tests, antibody tests and immunofluorescence scanning to determine if your puppy is infected and recommend the best course of treatment.
Vaccinating your puppy against infectious canine hepatitis and other conditions is one of the most important preventative measures you can take to ensure the health of your new puppy throughout their life. If you are unsure about this vaccine or have any questions relating to the vaccinations your puppy needs, speak to your veterinarian.