Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) is a serious viral disease that affects the liver, kidneys, lymph nodes, eyes, and other organs.
Nearly all dogs are exposed to ICH virus at some time during their lives, but not all dogs become gravely ill. The disease may be so mild that it passes unnoticed or may be so severe that death occurs within a few hours of the first signs of illness.
Signs of ICH develop about a week after exposure to the virus. High fever, loss of appetite, increased thirst, tonsillitis, and reddening of the lining of the mouth, throat, and eyelids may occur. In some cases, there is bloody diarrhea. The virus may be present in any body secretion and may be present in the urine for up to 6 to 9 months after apparent recovery. A bluish cast to the eye may occur during the recovery period.
A highly effective vaccine is available to prevent ICH. All dogs should be immunized yearly. People are not susceptible to ICH.
Important Points in Treatment
1. Hospitalization is required for initial treatment. Intravenous fluids and other intensive measures are often necessary. Various blood and laboratory tests are necessary to evaluate the response to treatment.