The canine adenovirus (infectious hepatitis) - if contracted - may lead to inflammation of the liver and occassionally the kidneys. A virus of the same family is the causative agent of kennel cough.


Urgency level 5


Danger level 5


The canine adenovirus occurs especially often in young dogs (within the first year after birth) and can take different forms. The peracute form, the very short-term acute version of the disease, is often deadly. The longer form is accompanied by fatigue, loss of appetite, high fever and diarrhea. Nasal discharge and an inflammation of the cornea might also occur. As a consequence of the liver inflammation the dog has stomach pain that is triggered even by light touch. Older dogs often just show high fever as a symptom but if another fever bout occurs, fatigue, emanciation, bleeding and in severe cases a collapse might develop. In case the condition improves, the dog might develop corneal opacity a few weeks later.


The Canine Adenovirus Type 1 is a viral agent which is profoundly infectious and is frequently passed on by the mother. Additionally, a transmission by contaminated urine, excrement or direct contact is possible. The agent primarily provokes hepatitis.


The diagnosis can be made after verification of the virus in the dog's blood. The diseased animal shall be treated as in-patient. Since the disease is profoundly infectious, all dogs which had contact with a diseased animal shall be examined. For the time being, the stabilization of the patient with infusions is in the foreground. Additionally, antibiotics can be administered for the purpose of preventing bacterially caused secondary infections. In case the animal survives the acute phase of the disease, the prospects for healing are good.

Emergency measures

The disease shall be considered an emergency since possibly danger to life emanates from it. The dog needs to get as fast as possible to a veterinary hospital. The prospects for healing are to be assessed as favorable when the acute phase is overcome. There is an immunization protection against the canine adenovirus. In most cases, due to severe side-effects, a vaccination against canine adenovirus of that type is dispensed with and instead a vaccination against type 2 of the virus is made. That vaccination by now demonstrably protects also against the disease which comes along with the causative organism of this type. Normally, a combination vaccine is given which protects at the same time against parvovirosis and distemper.

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