What is Adenovirus in Dogs?

When it comes to the health of dogs, pet owners are always looking to be knowledgeable on the many diseases that can affect a canine’s health. One disease that is important to understand and learn about is Adenovirus for dogs.

There are two types of Adenovirus in dogs that can be detrimental to your pup’s health. Both types will be discussed below so that pet owners can understand exactly what the strains are, how they work, and what it might mean for the overall health of their canine.

There are several strains of Adenovirus, but only two types that are fairly common. Both of these strains spread rapidly, but the resulting diseases vary greatly. The first is referred to as canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1) and the second is known as canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2). Unfortunately, both strains of Adenovirus can bring all kinds of havoc on a canine’s bill of health.

Type 1

CAV-1 is known for causing infectious canine hepatitis (ICH). It is the more severe strain out of the two, as it can have symptoms that cause severe liver failure in dogs. Most signs for this disease include a canine fever, pain in the canine’s abdomen, anorexia, excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, and an increased heart rate. When CAV-1 leads to ICH there can be varying degrees of severity, including death. The liver is highly affected, which can lead to excessive bleeding.

To prevent ICH from developing, veterinarians often recommend that pet owners opt for a vaccination against CAV-2, which concurrently provides immunity for CAV-1. Vaccines against CAV-1 are commonly combined with the DHPP shot which includes prevention against canine distemper, parvovirus, and dog influenza vaccines.

Type 2

CAV-2 is also commonly associated with the Hepatitis virus in canines. It is one of the leading causes of infectious tracheobronchitis, more commonly referred to as canine cough or kennel cough in dogs. Canine cough results when multiple pathogens are combined. Most of the time, the illness can be resolved on its own and rarely turns into a serious problem.

How Does the Adenovirus Spread?

Both types of Adenoviruses are spread through dog-to-dog interactions. What is important to note is that these types of interactions do not have to take place face-to-face. The virus is spread through secretions, including contaminated fecal matter, urine, and saliva. If a canine has discharge around his nose or eyes, and that discharge is left on the surface of something, another dog can pick up the disease. Once a dog leaves his mark somewhere outside, another dog can easily contract it if he smells, eats, or breathes in any of this matter. Ultimately, the virus is transmitted by direct contact with any infected materials.

For these reasons, the most high-risk areas where Adenovirus is contracted include parks, beaches, sidewalks, grassy areas, trees, shelters, rescue centers, kennels, pet stores, daycares, and dog parks. If a pet owner has multiple dogs it is quite possible for the disease to spread between the dogs within the same household. Thankfully, it is not possible for the virus to be passed from dog to human.

Younger dogs are at the highest risk for contracting the Adenovirus as they have a lower immune system than dogs in middle to old age. A dog can contract the Adenovirus after just 2 to 5 days of coming into contact with the affected area. However, these symptoms will sometimes not present themselves for up to two weeks. In older dogs, the symptoms of the infection may go completely unnoticed. They can sometimes even be resolved without medical intervention. It is also possible from some canines to spread the virus without manifesting any symptoms at all, which can be a especially worrisome if the owner is unaware.

Prevention Options

If a dog is coming from a shelter, rescue center, large breeding kennel, or a pet store, it is highly recommended that they see a veterinarian as soon as possible for a vaccination. Regular vaccinations can be very successful at reducing the risks. During the dog’s puppy stage, the vaccine will only be effective for a few weeks at a time. However, as the dog gets older and builds up a stronger immunity, he will be able to withstand longer periods of time between booster shots.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends vaccinating all dogs every three years, despite their backgrounds of coming from a breeder, pound, or kennel. If a dog frequently comes into contact with other canines, these booster shots will be especially important for prevention.

Unvaccinated dogs of all ages are at risk for Adenovirus. If the dog is young and unvaccinated, the disease can take it’s victim in as little as two hours after the initial signs have surfaced. It can often be so sudden that it will come as a complete surprise to the dog owner. This is why it is so important to know the signs of the disease. As soon as any irregular symptoms are present, you must take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

What are the signs?

If a canine is infected by the Adenovirus, different signs and symptoms will present themselves based on the particular strain.

CAV-1 is the strain known for causing hepatitis, which means the symptoms will appear similar to that of hepatitis itself. The most common sign that a dog has been affected by CAV-1 is a fever that continually rises and falls. Depending on how long the fever persists, your dog may experience a drop in white blood cells.

Other symptoms may include:

  •       Abdominal pain
  •       Diarrhea
  •       Vomiting

In CAV-2, which can cause more respiratory issues, symptoms may include:

Some common signs that dog is affected by this virus includes decreased appetite, depression, and so