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Yes, dogs can get hepatitis, too. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It causes scarring and the formation of excessive fibrous tissue that affects normal liver function. Hepatitis in dogs can take the form of infectious canine hepatitis or canine chronic hepatitis. 

Infectious hepatitis is contagious, and affects the liver as well as the spleen, kidneys, lungs, blood vessels, and other organs. Chronic hepatitis is not contagious and affects only the liver. If left untreated, both types of hepatitis can advance to the point of liver inflammation and cell death. 

Causes and Symptoms of Hepatitis in Dogs

Hepatitis in dogs can be caused by several factors. However, it can only be transferred from infected dogs and not other infected animals.

  • Immune-mediated diseases
  • Toxins
  • Copper storage disease
  • Environment such as soil that an infected dog used to go to the bathroom
  • An adverse reaction to certain drugs

Contact Anasazi Animal Clinic right away if your dog exhibits the following symptoms:

  • Sluggishness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive urination and excessive thirst
  • Yellowish discoloration of the gums and moist tissues
  • Fluid buildup in the abdomen
  • Poor body condition
  • Nervous system signs such as dullness or seizures 

Treatment for Hepatitis in Dogs

Dogs with severe liver damage will be put on an IV with vitamins and other nutrients. Medication and diet changes offer additional forms of treatment. If your dog has hepatitis, you may need to switch to a hepatic dog food.

Highly palatable and digestible, hepatic dog food is packed with nutrients that support healthy liver function. It also contains essential vitamin supplements, including B vitamins, to support a healthy immune system. Its high-energy density means your dog can eat less, but still get all the nutrition they need. 

Hepatic dog food also has a low copper content for dogs with copper storage disease. An abnormal amount of copper in your dog’s liver can result from an inherited or pre-existing condition. Certain terriers and labrador retrievers are most susceptible to copper storage disease. 

Schedule a Wellness Exam Today

At Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert, we provide affordable and comprehensive pet care. If you have questions about hepatitis in dogs, changing your dog’s current dietary habits, or identifying any preexisting symptoms, please contact us. We are committed to ensuring your pet’s health and safety through preventative care plans. 

Photo by Dominik QN on Unsplash

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