infectious canine hepatitis
infectious canine hepatitis, acute viral disease of canines, especially dogs and foxes. The causative agent, an adenovirus, is not infectious to humans. In foxes the disease is manifested primarily as encephalitis. Transmission occurs mainly by direct contact with infected animals. The virus can be passed through the urine for periods of up to one year. Dogs of any age are susceptible to the disease. The incubation period is from six to nine days, and the signs are fever, loss of appetite, congested mucous membranes, and pain in the region of the liver. Mortality is about 10%, and about 25% of the survivors develop a temporary corneal opacity (hepatitis blue eye). Treatment consists of the administration of intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and vitamins. Recent reports indicate that chronic infection may occur, leading to cirrhosis of the liver. Annual vaccination with a modified live virus will give permanent prevention.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.