Infectious hepatitis in dogs: treatment regimen and diagnosis
Viral, or infectious hepatitis is a contagious, most dangerous disease in animals. Almost all species of both wild and domestic animals can be affected. Viral hepatitis in dogs is most common in young animals. Often leads to death. So what causes the disease, is it possible to heal, and how to protect yourself from this scourge? Let's consider in more detail
For the first time signs of this disease and the virus itself was described by the Swedish researcher Rubort. For a long time the name of the disease sounded the same as his surname, today this infection is called "viral hepatitis of dogs".
In the middle of the last century, the virus-agent was already diagnosed in all European countries and in the USA. In Russia, attention was paid to this disease only in 1953.
Hepatitis virus belongs to the family of adenoviruses, which cause a whole range of diseases in both animals and humans. The family is so named for the virus, which was first seen in human adenoids.
Infectious hepatitis in dogs is caused by an adenovirus that belongs to the first type. A close relative of his is a virus of the second type, which causes infectious laryngotracheitis. They are similar in appearance and in the principles of pathogenicity.
The causative agent of infectious hepatitis is able to exist for a long time in the environment outside the body of the host. At 37 degrees, its survival is three weeks, and at a temperature of 4 degrees (canning) - up to ten months. The virus remains in the feces of the animal for a long time, in the summer it can be contagious throughout the warm season. Despite such high survival rates, the virus instantly perishes under the influence of means containing chlorine, phenol, formalin, and also at boiling.
Early stage - tonsillitis
Viral hepatitis in dogs is often considered a disease of puppies. Typically, the young are affected until one year. If the adult animal immunity is significantly weakened, then it can also quickly become infected. It is observed more often in helminthic invasions. The virus of this type does not spread by airborne droplets, it penetrates into the body only if it gets on the mucous membrane, for example, in contact with faeces of sick animals. The virus begins to develop in the tissues of the tonsils in the dog, so the very first signs of the disease include their inflammation - tonsillitis.
Hepatitis in dogs has a huge force of pathological effects. The viability of the virus leads to the death of healthy cells. Where its concentration is particularly high, a focus of inflammation develops. This occurs in all tissues where the virus settles. The effect was called cytopathic.
Penetration into the body
After reaching a certain concentration in the tonsils, the adenovirus penetrates into the immune cells, and then into the lymphatic system. The inflammatory process begins to develop. Out of the submaxillary and perorrhagic lymph nodes with blood and lymph flow, the pathogen spreads throughout the body. The main target in which the infectious hepatitis of a dog marks, - a liver, kidneys, lymphonoduses, an intestine, a thymus, blood vessels. The main symptom is multiple internal hemorrhages. So adenovirus affects small blood vessels, the blood begins to pour out. In severe forms of lesions, foci of necrosis develop in such places, and these are additional sources of toxins.
More than other organs with viral hepatitis in dogs suffer from liver. The causative agent promotes the degeneration of the body cells into adipose tissue, naturally, it becomes unable to perform its functions. In addition to fat in the liver necrotic foci are formed, which causes a strong toxic effect. That's why the disease began to be called hepatitis. Symptoms are yellow-green diarrhea, vomiting of yellow color. The reason is that the decay products, including ammonia, are not rendered harmless by the liver.
The immune system in the dog begins to react actively to the activity of the virus, on the 5th-7th day the strongest antibodies appear. The work of cellular immunity increases. And if the animal's body copes with the disease, then the animal forms a lifelong immunity to viral hepatitis.
Two stages of the disease
Viral infectious hepatitis of a dog in its current usually has two stages. A high level of mortality is observed in young puppies (up to 1 year). If the animal experiences both these stages, then, most likely, the outcome will be successful. The first signs of recovery already indicate that the dog will recover.
- Stage 1. Acute form of the disease. Lightning development of signs of the disease one day after infection. After this, the activity of the virus decreases.
- Stage 2. The acute form. The second peak of adenovirus activity develops on the 3-5 day of infection. The stage is very difficult, few animals survive. Treatment outside the veterinary clinic makes it possible to survive only 10%, in 90% of cases a fatal outcome occurs.
Today, the acute form of the virus is much less common than in the last century. This is explained by the universal vaccination of young animals. Perhaps the adenovirus had weakened. On the other hand, veterinarians predict the appearance of a more threatening virus in nature.
The first signs of hepatitis in a dog begin to appear about a week after the infection (at least 3, maximum - 12 days). The following picture is noted:
- The dog lost its appetite.
- General lethargy, more lies, does not play.
- After a day after lethargy, diarrhea and yellow vomiting opens.
- If you examine the pharynx, you can notice the puffiness of the tonsils - tonsillitis.
- In severe cases, a clear liquid flows from the nasal and oral cavities.
Hepatitis in dogs. Symptoms and Treatment
About four days after the onset of these symptoms, secondary symptoms begin to appear. Very clearly they are expressed in the period of exacerbations:
- Temperature rise up to 41 degrees.
- Frequent shortness of breath, shallow breathing.
- Violation of the heartbeat, weak pulse.
- Vomiting of bile and yellow diarrhea.
- Urine is brown, dark in color.
- Jaundice mucous membranes.
- Breathing becomes fetid with an ammonia odor.
- In the area of breast swelling.
- The animal often sits with a bowed head, spreading its legs widely.
- Cramps, paralysis, loss of coordination of movement are possible.
- Dehydration, severe emaciation.
Thus, viral hepatitis appears in dogs. Symptoms and treatment should be known to all dog breeders, this will help save your pet. At once we will notice, that the help should be rendered by experts in veterinary clinics. Treatment requires complex drug regimens, since almost all internal organs are affected by the virus.
Specificity and scheme of therapy
Viral hepatitis of dogs has a specific treatment. It is relevant only in this disease. Hyperimmune serum is used against hepatitis adenovirus. The medicine is obtained from the blood of dogs who have recovered from viral hepatitis. Only in this way can antibodies to this virus be obtained. If you at an early stage have found hepatitis in dogs, treatment should be started immediately. Turning to the veterinarian, you will get a chance to save your pet.
After the appointment of therapy in the complex according to the scheme, you will be recommended:
- Hepatoprotectors for liver protection.
- A lot of vitamins, especially water-divisible group B.
- Means for restoration of water-salt balance. Glucose, glutamic acid.
- When swelling - diuretics.
- To prevent bacterial infections - antibiotics.
- Antidiarrhoeal and antiemetic drugs.
- The diet of the dog should include more vitamins, carbohydrates, micronutrients. Proteins are excluded.
Viral hepatitis in dogs, the symptoms of which are very severe, is a dangerous disease that threatens the life of pets. That's why all dog breeders should remember about the timely vaccination of animals. In veterinary clinics and pharmacies, vaccines are available to everyone, they can be purchased easily. One bottle can protect the dog from several viruses at once. Varieties of the drug is plentiful, consult with the veterinarian, which is better to buy.
The age of the vaccination is basically from two months, then the puppies lose the immunity that they receive with the mother's milk.
If viral hepatitis in dogs is found in the area of your residence, you can make an injection with therapeutic serum for prophylaxis. Even if the animal gets sick, the disease will be in a lighter form.
When walking, avoid contact with feces of other dogs. The virus does not transmit through the air.
In the event that a dog from a viral hepatitis has died in your house, thoroughly disinfect all surfaces.
Chronic hepatitis in dogs
In addition to the viral, other forms of hepatitis can develop in the animal. They are not so dangerous for life, but they also sharply undermine the health of the pet. So if you have a dog in your house, it is better to know about these diseases.
What are the characteristics of chronic hepatitis in dogs? Long-term liver disease leads to the accumulation of inflamed cells, and then to fibrosis. This syndrome has many causes and is often found in dogs. Often chronic hepatitis is called a Doberman disease, a cocker spaniel. This disease is not independent, but can develop due to various damaging factors. It can be transferred viral hepatitis, leptospirosis, severe poisoning, immune-mediated causes, allergic reactions, taking medications, that is, any active negative effect on the liver. If you have found signs of hepatitis in a dog, immediately go to the veterinary clinic for examination. The correct diagnosis, made by a veterinarian, and timely treatment will not give the disease a serious form.
Predisposition to chronic hepatitis
The natural and genetic predisposition to chronic hepatitis is observed in the following breeds of animals:
- west highland white terrier;
- bedlington terrier;
- labrador retriever;
- cocker Spaniel;
- standard poodle;
- doberman Pinscher;
- bedlington terrier;
- skye terrier.
The average age of the affected dogs is 6 years (range - from 2 to 10 years). In bitches, the incidence is higher.
If chronic hepatitis in dogs is suspected, the symptoms are usually the following:
- Loss of appetite, anorexia.
- Weight loss.
- Drowsiness, lethargy.
- Polydipsia and polyuria. The dog drinks a lot of liquids and peeds.
- Dropsy of the abdomen.
- Hepatic encephalopathy.
Acute parenchymal hepatitis
Parenchymal acute hepatitis in a dog is an inflammatory process in the stroma of the liver, which is accompanied by fatty, granular degeneration, often necrobiotic changes in the parenchyma. Rarely is a primary disease, more often secondary to gastritis, enteritis poisoning, infections. Violated liver function, carbohydrate, protein, fat metabolism changes, the barrier function is violated, the organism enters intoxication.
The liver increases in volume, its edges are rounded, the blood vessels are full. The organ is colored unevenly reddish-yellow.
Signs of an animal's disease include:
- lack of appetite;
- oppressed state;
- temperature increase;
- alternately constipation and diarrhea;
- icteric mucous membranes;
- increase in urine bilirubin;
- pain in the liver during palpation.
A frequent complication of hepatitis is cirrhosis of the liver. Timely measures taken will save your pet.