How to Treat Hepatitis in Dogs
Does your dog have hepatitis? Read on to learn how to treat your pet if he or she has hepatitis. Canine viral hepatitis is a highly contagious disease that can be life-threatening. It is caused by canine adenovirus type I. It mainly affects dogs under 1 year old and its symptoms include weight loss, fever, ocular and nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, and vomiting, among others. Learn how to treat hepatitis in dogs in this oneHOWTO.
Viral hepatitis or CAV-1 cannot be cured, but it can be treated. The treatment is aimed at alleviating the negative effects of the virus, that is, to ensure that damage is minimized. Keep in mind that many times, despite doing everything possible, a dog that has contracted hepatitis may not survive.
Veterinarians usually diagnose this disease after a full and thorough examination that includes blood and urine analysis. To confirm the presence of the virus, it is usually isolated in the kidney, liver and the anterior chamber of the eyeball via immunofluorescence. After seeing the results, your veterinarian will determine how to treat the disease.
The standard treatment for hepatitis is antibiotics to control any secondary bacterial infections. Drugs are also administered for different symptoms such as vomiting, liver failure, diarrhea and blood clotting problems.
If your dog has hepatitis, one thing you can do is change your dog's diet to one specially made for canines with liver failure. Make sure to introduce the new food gradually by mixing it with the old food you're replacing so that the change is not abrupt. Here's a list of foods a dog with hepatitis should add to its diet:
- Vegetable protein (soy, seitan, tofu)
- Wholegrain rice
- Fiber-rich foods such as spinach and lettuce
- Vitamin C
Make sure your dog is hydrated throughout the day and always has access to fresh water. If it won't drink, take a look at our article to learn some tricks.
To treat your dog with hepatitis there are some more guidelines to follow. It is important that your pet rests and does not make any physical exertion. Many times, when owners notice that their dog is slightly better, they try to go back to routine and start walking as before. However, this is not recommended. During treatment, it is better for your dog to lead a very quiet life.
To relieve all muscle aches and pains, it is recommended to take anti-inflammatory pills under medical supervision. Since your pet is sick, his or her liver will slowly expel some of the administered drugs, so you may need to give low doses or increase the interval between drugs.
Depending on your dog's particular case, your veterinarian will choose the most suitable protocol for your pet's needs.
- If your dog's hepatitis has caused stomach ulcers, your vet may as for other drugs that will help protect its stomach so medication doesn't harm it further.
- If your dog has ascites in the abdomen, the vet may require an abdominocentesis in order to drain the free fluid in the dog's abdomen. In this case, it's also advisable to offer your dog diuretic drinks in order to aid digestion.
- The vet will commonly ask for periodic analysis to monitor your dog's hepatitis, though if you notice any changes in its appetite, activity, weight or so on, it's important you take your dog to an emergency visit.
Prevention is based on vaccination. Canine viral hepatitis can be prevented through the first vaccination given to puppies and also via the annual booster shot, as the causes of hepatitis can be quickly solved this way.
Up-to-date vaccinations are compulsory for attending dog shows and booking places in kennels.
Once your dog has been diagnosed, make sure it is isolated from other pets that may be at risk of contracting the virus. It is essential to take hygienic measures such as cleaning the whole house with disinfectant and immediately changing clothes that have come in contact with your dog. If there are any unvaccinated animals in the family it is recommended to keep them in quarantine.
Remember, the best prevention is always vaccination. Canine viral hepatitis is one of the first vaccinations that puppies receive, along with distemper and leptospirosis. They usually also get an annual booster shot.
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