Canine adenovirus is responsible for two distinct illnesses in dogs: Type 1 causes infectious canine hepatitis. Dogs typically pick up this virus through contact with another dog’s urine. As the virus spreads through the bloodstream and destroys cells throughout the body, the dog’s liver becomes stressed as it attempts to clear the resulting cellular debris. Signs of canine hepatitis include vomiting, high fever and jaundice. It is usually not fatal but it can be if the dog’s liver is severely damaged. Canine adenovirus Type 2 causes respiratory illness and is one of the agents associated with “kennel cough.” This form of the virus, often spread by infected, coughing dogs in enclosed areas, causes a fever, nasal discharge and a characteristic dry, hacking cough. Treatment is supportive care and rest. Most dogs recover quickly, but the virus can also lead to pneumonia.
► Recommendations: Vaccinate puppies against adenovirus starting at 6 weeks and then again every three or four weeks until they are 14 or 16 weeks of age. A booster is needed no longer than one year after the initial series and then every three years thereafter. Adult dogs can be vaccinated with a single injection and again every three years.