Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH)

What is Infectious Canine Hepatitis (IHC)?

Infectious Canine Hepatitis (IHC) is a viral infection of the liver. Infectious Canine Hepatitis (IHC) begins to replicate in the tonsils and from there the virus spreads to nearest lymph nodes, then spreads to the circulatory system. The body's blood supply pushes the virus to various bodily tissues such as the lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, and eyes resulting in inflammation, bleeding, and even death of bodily tissues. Severe cases may result in death of the dog.

Symptoms of Infectious Canine Hepatitis (IHC)

The Incubation period for IHC is around 4-7 days. Because Infectious Canine Hepatitis (IHC) effects several organs there are a wide variety of symptoms that will show up at different severity levels.

We've tried to just list what you may notice

  • Fever

  • Depression

  • Loss of appetite

  • Vomiting

  • Blood in vomit

  • Bloody diarrhea

  • Blood in urine

  • Dehydration

  • Excessive Thirst

  • Abdominal pain

  • Watery discharge from eyes and nose

  • Eye inflammation

  • Abnormally rapid breathing

  • Cough

  • Corneal edema or “blue eye” (from replication of virus within the eye)

  • Enlarged tonsils

  • Jaundice (a yellow discoloration of their skin, gums, and ears)

  • Edema (fluid swelling under the skin) of the head and neck

  • Difficulty clotting blood

  • Red dots on skin

  • Seizures

  • Death

What spreads Infectious Canine Hepatitis (IHC)?

Direct contact (usually by mouth) with infected saliva, feces, urine, nose or eye discharges, and contaminated objects. Parasites like fleas and ticks can also spread virus.

Being a puppy increases the risk factor for contracting IHC along with not being vaccinated.

How is Infectious Canine Hepatitis (IHC) Diagnosed?

Laboratory tests such as antibody, blood, or immunofluorescence scanning may be used to diagnose the disease. Your vet may also want to take a liver sample to make a diagnosis that can provide additional details.

How can you prevent catching Infectious Canine Hepatitis (IHC)?

Talk to your vet and vaccinate your puppy at their recommended schedule as this is the best protection. The DHPP vaccine helps protect your dog from Infectious Canine Hepatitis (IHC).

Try to isolate your puppy from the other dogs until they're fully vaccinated. Avoid taking your puppy to public places before they are fully vaccinated against Infectious Canine Hepatitis (IHC). Wild animals can also track the virus so be mindful of that when taking your puppy outside for potty breaks.

The virus can survive for months at room temperature, but disinfectants that work against parvovirus will also work against Canine Hepatitis (IHC).

What Can You Do?

Find a breeder who vaccinates their corgis for diseases like Infectious Canine Hepatitis (IHC) and ask what other vaccinations are being done. You must advocate for your future puppy.

To learn more about Infectious Canine Hepatitis go to Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital & Veterinary Emergency Hospital

Disclaimer: Anything written on this website should not be considered medical advice. It is purely informative. Please refer to your local veterinarian for any health related concerns.