This information comes from the AMVA and Merck Veterinary Library.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis
Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) is a worldwide, contagious disease of dogs with signs that vary from a slight fever and congestion of the mucous membranes to severe depression, marked decrease in the number of circulating white blood cells (leukocytes) in the blood, and prolonged bleeding time.
ICH is caused by a virus, canine adenovirus 1 (CAV-1). CAV-1 is resistant to lipid solvents and survives outside the host for weeks or months, but a 1-3% solution of sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) is an effective disinfectant.
Ingestion of urine, feces, or saliva of infected dogs is the main route of infection. Recovered dogs shed virus in their urine for ≥6 mo. Liver, kidneys, spleen, and lungs are the main target organs. Chronic kidney lesions and corneal clouding (“blue eye”) result from immune-complex reactions after recovery from acute or subclinical disease. Signs vary from a slight fever to death. The mortality rate is highest in very young dogs. The incubation period is 4-9 days. The first sign is a fever of >104°F (40°C), which lasts 1-6 days. Signs are apathy, anorexia, thirst, conjunctivitis, serous discharge from the eyes and nose, and occasionally abdominal pain and vomiting. Enlarged tonsils, may be seen. There may be subcutaneous swelling of the head, neck, and trunk. Blood clotting time is directly linked with the severity of illness. It may be difficult to control hemorrhage, which is seen by bleeding around some teeth and by spontaneous bruising. Respiratory signs usually are not seen in dogs with ICH; however, CAV-1 has been recovered from dogs with signs of infectious tracheobronchitis and from dogs with respiratory signs induced by exposure to the nebulated virus. Chronic Hepatitis may occur as a result of this illness.
Blood transfusions may be necessary in severely ill dogs. In addition, 5% dextrose in isotonic saline should be given, preferably IV. Modified-live virus vaccines are available and are often combined with other vaccines. Vaccination against ICH is recommended at the time of canine distemper vaccinations.