Rubarth's hepatitis in dogs: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

Often called Rubarth's disease , this adenovirus is an extremely contagious canine hepatitis with a high level of severity since it is fatal . It is also a crippling vice . It is transmitted to dogs by canine adenovirus type 1 and is then transmitted to other dogs through excretions and secretions when they are contaminated. Let's take stock of the symptoms that should alert, its treatment and see what are the best preventive measures for Rubarth's hepatitis.

Rubarth's hepatitis in dogs: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

Rubarth's hepatitis: a canine disease with generalized symptoms

There are three forms of Rubarth's disease : the acute form , the superacute form and the chronic form . The dog with Rubarth's hepatitis shows symptoms that affect the whole body as soon as the incubation period has passed. This usually lasts between 4 and 9 days . The clinical manifestations that should alert his owner are the following:

  • Fever,
  • Abdominal pain,
  • Dehydration,
  • Intense fatigue / depression,
  • Haemorrhagic diarrhea,
  • Vomiting,
  • Rupture of blood capillaries which lead to bleeding in the mucous membranes or skin of a minor degree (petechiae),
  • Bruises,
  • Coagulation problems,
  • Peripheral internal bleeding which can occur in the abdomen or even in the thorax,
  • Hepatic encephalopathy due to the build up of toxins that harm the brain,
  • Yellow discoloration of the mucous membranes (jaundice),
  • Glaucoma,
  • Corneal edema,
  • Inflammation of the uvea (uveitis) which causes impaired vision,
  • Blindness,
  • Movements of the dog in circles,
  • Unintentional jerky movements of the eyes (nystagmus),
  • Body movements during movement without any coordination between them (ataxia); this is often due to damage to the cerebellum or even the spinal cord,
  • Convulsions,
  • Coma.

We are well aware that Rubarth's hepatitis is a serious disease which causes all kinds of disorders: general, respiratory, coagulation, hepatic, ocular and central nervous.

The death of the dog with Rubarth's disease is inevitable and it occurs relatively quickly, namely:

  • Within 48 hours at most for dogs suffering from the acute form,
  • Within 14 days for a third of the dogs affected by the acute form of this pathology,
In a few months at most, but frequently in only a few weeks , in dogs with the chronic form of Rubarth's hepatitis because it causes hepatic failure which progresses gradually.

Rubarth's hepatitis: diagnosis and treatment

Various factors can give rise to a suspicion of Rubarth's disease such as the age of the dog, an outdated vaccination and of course the extent of the clinical manifestations. However, it should be noted that even a dog that has always been vaccinated on time can develop this very serious pathology. The veterinarian performs additional analyzes and examinations to confirm his diagnosis such as:

  • A biopsy,
  • Histological analysis,
  • A blood test,
  • Serological tests,
  • Blood and urine samples in order to perform DNA isolation by PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), which allows the RNA of the virus in question to be identified through its genome,
  • An immunohistochemical examination.

Unfortunately, in the current state of knowledge, there is no treatment that can cure Rubarth's hepatitis . The dog is therefore doomed to certain death, within a relatively short period (from 24 hours to a few months at most) depending on the form of the disease. The dog is all the more vulnerable when its immune system is weakened and the disease is virulent.

On the other hand, to soften the end of the animal's life, drugs are prescribed such as anti-nausea drugs, antibiotics or a treatment to thin the blood. At the same time, the dog is fed directly through the digestive tract. This is called enteral feeding.

Rubarth's disease: prevention

Although Rubarth's disease in a dog cannot be prevented 100%, it is still necessary to take precautions that can help in prevention. Make sure to vaccinate your dog from an early age (before 1 year) because it is the most important element of prevention against this pathology. At the same time, the owner must ensure that the premises intended for his dog or his dog breeding are very regularly disinfected . To do this, we recommend bleach because this effective product limits the risk of contamination of other dogs by the virus. But this one is tough since it is able to resist for long months despite preventive actions.