Canine Adenovirus

Read about canine adenovirus, the virus that causes infectious canine hepatitis and find out more about the symptons, the cause, who’s most at risk and how the disease is spread. Learn what the signs are, how hepatitis in dogs can be prevented, and finally how dogs are diagnosed and treated for hepatitis. If that’s too much reading for you, scroll down to the informational video below, and all the facts about canine adenovirus will be revealed.

  • Lack of appetite
  • acute nausea
  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Vomitting
  • Light coloured stools
  • Diarrhoea
  • Jaundice
  • Pale gums, tongue & nose
  • Tearing of eyes
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Some dogs that have recovered from canine adenovirous ( hepatitis) will develop “Blue Eye,” a clouding of the cornea. This usually resolves itself over time.

How is it spread?

The disease is spread by direct contact of infected urine, faeces and saliva.

Dogs that have recovered from the disease can still be infectious, and spread the disease for more than 6 months.

What is Canine Adenovirus?

Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) is a disease which affects the kidney, liver, lungs and eyes of a dog. It is caused by canine adenovirus-1 ( CAV-1)

At Risk

Puppies in their first year of life and unvaccinated dogs are most at risk of contracting hepatitis.



Many vaccines use the CAV-2 strain to protect against viral hepatitis, as this also provides cross-protection for some forms of kennel cough, and is less likely to cause “Blue Eye.”

All infected and in-contact dogs should be isolated from other susceptible dogs


Signs develop after an incubation period of about 4 -7 days.


Some cases of “acute” hepatitis which have gone on for just a few days can be cured.

For those with a more chronic form of hepatitas there is no cure.

However with proper treatment and monitoring, many patients with chronic hepatitis can live a good quality of life with minimal clinical signs.

In extreme case the disease can become severe very quickly and cause sudden death within hours.


Canine adenovirus / CAV-1 virus, cannot be treated directly.

Treatment to support the dog during the illness may include:

  • Medication to control symptoms
  • Avoidance of all exercise
  • Anti-inflammatories.
  • Antibiotic treatment to control any secondary bacterial infections.

Learn more from Dr Karen Becker - proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian

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Protect your puppy

Puppies are vunerable to serious, life threatening diseases so it is vital that you vaccinate your puppy to protect them.

Core Vaccinations

Non Core Vaccinations