Canine Hepatitis: Vaccination Schedule and Importance

by Manya Vaish

Dog vaccinations play a crucial role in protecting your canine companions from several fatal diseases and infections. Just as much you focus on giving them good food and a healthy lifestyle, you should consider keeping an eye on their vaccination schedule as well.

Canine Hepatitis vaccination for dogs 

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While some dogs need all vaccinations, some need just a few depending on their age, lifestyle, and environment. These vaccinations are categorized as core vaccines (essential for all dogs based on the risk of exposure, severity, and transmissibility) and non-core vaccines (not mandatory for all dogs). Likewise, vaccination for Canine Hepatitis is a core vaccine for every dog irrespective of their lifestyle and surroundings. 

Timeline for Canine Hepatitis Vaccine

The “7-in-1” vaccination works towards protecting your dogs from the contagious canine hepatitis. The first dose is given at 6 weeks if the pup has been on mother’s milk for one month. Otherwise, vaccination has to be given as early as possible. After this, the booster dose is first given 3 weeks after the first dose and then it must be given annually.

You can find the full list of all the vaccinations and schedules for your pooch here.

Overview of Infectious Canine Hepatitis

Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH) in dogs is a contagious viral disease with mild symptoms in some dogs and fatal signs in others. The disease starts from a slight fever and mucous membrane congestion and later leads to depression, reduction of white blood cells (WBCs), and deficiency of blood clotting. But you need not worry because, with routine immunization/vaccination, you can save your dogs from the disease in the long run. 

The viral infection affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and eyes of the affected dogs. While many dogs can fight back the mild form of the disease, it can lead to death if severe. 

Why is Canine Hepatitis Vaccine Important?

Treatment of canine hepatitis is complex and it is better to prevent the disease with timely vaccinations. The puppies that are born to vaccinated dogs usually have the antibodies to fight the infections during the first few weeks of their lives. But once the maternal antibodies decline to provide any kind of protection, it becomes necessary to get your pooch vaccinated.

Vaccination schedule for dogs

Photo by Dina Nasyrova from Pexels

Infectious Canine Hepatitis can be prevented with the right vaccination. Therefore, it’s important to give your pooch the necessary jabs at the right age. 

Causes of Canine Hepatitis

In most cases of canine hepatitis, the cause of infection is a virus called canine adenovirus 1 (CAV-1). The virus is transmitted through blood, nasal discharge, consumption of feces, saliva, or urine of an infected dog. It targets the lining of your dog’s blood vessels, kidneys, liver, spleen, and lungs causing severe damage to their body. The virus can survive for a long time in canine communities and can be difficult to remove as it is resistant to lipid solvents, acid, and formalin.

Symptoms in Dogs

A puppy or dog suffering from infectious canine hepatitis will show a variety of mild or severe symptoms. The mild signs that your pooch would show include:

  • Fever
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Diarrhea
  • Thirst
  • Anorexia
  • Serous discharge from the eyes and nose
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain

While if the disease is severe, your dogs might show the following symptoms:

  • Bruising of the skin
  • Red dots on the body
  • Swollen and enlarged lymph nodes

Prevention of Disease

Maternal antibody from immune dogs interferes with active vaccinations in puppies until they are 9-12 weeks old. After that, vaccination against ICH is recommended at the time of canine distemper vaccinations. The “7 in one” vaccine provides antigens against infectious canine hepatitis thus, helping your dogs to fight from viral infections.

Canine hepatitis vaccination for dogs

Photo by holloman

Once your dogs suffer from the disease, there is no specific treatment for it. Although supportive therapy is often given to balance the loss of fluid due to vomiting, the disease cannot be cured. 


Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH) is a viral infection that can be fatal for your dogs. Therefore, to protect your dogs from catching any such infections, you must give them proper and timely vaccinations. If you are unsure about the vaccinations that your pup needs, always consult your vet and follow the specific vaccination schedule to keep your dogs healthy and fit always.

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