Adenovirus 1 In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

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Adenovirus 1 in dogs causes respiratory infections, targets multiple organs in the body, and causes infectious canine hepatitis (ICH), which is a disease that severely affects the liver and can be fatal in as many as 30 percent of the dogs who suffer from it. This virus is the more serious of the canine adenoviruses, as adenovirus 2 usually only causes minor respiratory problems. Adenovirus 1 is contagious and can be spread through an infected dog’s saliva or feces, and even after the dog no longer shows symptoms of ICH, their urine can still spread the virus for six to nine months. Vaccines to prevent adenovirus 1 infections in dogs are usually given alongside the canine distemper vaccine, as it is one of the core vaccines that are recommended for all dogs except in unusual circumstances where dogs cannot receive the vaccination. If you see the signs of an adenovirus 1 infection (infectious canine hepatitis) in your dog, you should consult your veterinarian immediately, as the condition can be life-threatening. Here is what you should know about adenovirus 1 in dogs.

Symptoms Of Adenovirus 1 In Dogs

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The symptoms of adenovirus 1 in dogs depend on a lot of factors, including the condition of the immune system, the amount of damage the virus does to the cells, and the stage of the disease. Infectious canine hepatitis can be mild with symptoms that are barely noticeable, or it can be severe and deadly. Here are some of the symptoms seen in dogs that suffer from adenovirus 1 infection.

  • Fever (usually above 104 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Cloudy or bluish eyes (sometimes called “hepatitis blue eye”)
  • Discharge from the nose or eyes
  • Glaucoma
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Cough
  • Tonsilitis
  • Increased thirst
  • Tachycardia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Edema in the head and neck
  • Jaundice
  • Small red dots on the skin
  • Bleeding mouth and gums
  • Bruising
  • Inflammation of the brain
  • Convulsions
  • Paralysis of one or more limbs

Causes Of Adenovirus 1 In Dogs

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Adenovirus 1 infection is contagious, and the virus is quite resilient. It is spread through the saliva or feces of infected dogs, and it can still be spread in the urine of dogs that have recovered from infection for six to nine months. Some dogs can be carriers of the disease without ever showing symptoms of infectious canine hepatitis at all. The virus, itself, can survive for several months on its own, so contaminated surfaces or objects can still transmit the disease unless they are cleaned, preferably with bleach or harsh chemicals.

Because adenovirus 1 is contagious from dog to dog, it is more often seen where groups of dogs are usually together, such as dog parks, kennels, or shelters. The disease is commonly transmitted through contact with infected feces, breathing contaminated airborne saliva from a sneeze or cough, contact with urine, or spending time where dogs congregate. Dogs that aren’t vaccinated, such as puppies that are too young to get the vaccination, have the highest risk of being infected. Usually symptoms of the disease are worse when seen in puppies, and the risk of death is higher, as well.

Treatments For Adenovirus 1 In Dogs

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Treatment for adenovirus 1 infection in dogs is aimed at reducing the severity of symptoms, as there is no cure for adenovirus 1. Antibiotics are not effective for fighting viruses, but they may be prescribed to reduce the risk of a secondary bacterial infection that may result from having a weakened immune system. Intravenous fluids may be given to re-hydrate and restore electrolyte levels. In severe cases, blood transfusions may be needed. Dietary changes may be prescribed.

Dogs may suffer tissue damage as a result of the infection, particularly in the eyes. Dogs that have suffered from adenovirus may be sensitive to bright light or may experience pain in their eyes. Some veterinarians will prescribe pain medication to reduce symptoms.

Vaccination is quite successful in reducing the risk of the disease, and it is one of the core vaccinations recommended for all dogs. Its effectiveness may decrease with time, and it is recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association that dogs receive the vaccination again every three years. You should discuss a vaccination schedule with your veterinarian to determine what is appropriate for your dog.