≡ Menu

Chronic Active Hepatitis in Dogs

Now you’ve probably heard of humans having hepatitis, but did you know that dogs can suffer from chronic active hepatitis (CAH) as well?  Also known as…

  • Chronic canine inflammatory hepatic disease (CCIHD) or
  • Lupoid hepatitis,
  • Or canine hepatitis,

Chronic Active Hepatitis (CAH) is a disease of your dog’s liver. And since we here at IndulgeYourPet like to shed provide as much information that we can about all aspects of pet ownership we figured we take a moment to “highlight” some of the issues an owner may face if their dog is diagnosed with chronic active hepatitis at some point in his or her life.

So, what is Chronic Active Hepatitis in Dogs?

CAH is a chronic liver disease that manifests itself as an ongoing inflammation of the liver. Sometimes a dog or human’s liver is inflamed for a few days due to a virus infection or something else and then goes back to normal – this is not the case with chronic active hepatitis.

With CAH…

The inflammation is constant, with few if any “reprieves” from infection.  And since the liver is a major organ of the body that serves many important daily functions, this “prolonged inflammation” will cause a number of problems with your dog’s overall health.

Causes of Chronic Active Hepatitis

CAG is a disease that can be caused by a number of things. It could be an autoimmune disorder that is unavoidable or it could be caused by other things such as:

  • Infectious disease,
  • Viruses,
  • Environmental factors,
  • Copper-storage disease AKA Wilson’s disease (common particularly in Bedlington Terriers).
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (obviously nonalcoholic since your dog doesn’t drink, does he?!)

All of which can lead to hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver.

Symptoms of chronic active hepatitis

Symptoms you may expect to see if your dog is suffering from chronic active hepatitis may include:

  • Unintentional or unexplained weight loss,
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea,
  • No appetite or a decrease in appetite,
  • Puffy or swollen abdomen,
  • Seizures,
  • Urinating more frequently than normal,
  • And excessive thirst.

But it’s important to remember…

That none of these symptoms on their own will mean your dog definitely has hepatitis. Hopefully his symptoms may indicate some other type of issue or perhaps he or she just doesn’t like the food you’re feeding him, who knows?

This is why…

Anytime you begin to notice an “unexplained” behavior in your dog that seems to be affecting the his or her overall health, it’s important to have him examined by a professional so that you can get a proper diagnosis on their condition.  Because after all, only when you know what’s wrong with your dog, can you truly know what action to take.

Diagnosis and Treatment of CAH

To diagnose CAH, your vet will want to first observe your dog’s symptoms and decide whether or not it is “probable” that he or she suffers from chronic active hepatitis. From there, your dog will probably be tested for HBV and HCV.

HBV and HCV…

Are the two viruses responsible for causing hepatitis B and hepatitis C which is why determining if these viruses are present in your dog’s blood will be one of the first things that your veterinarian will want to determine.  If it turns out that your dog’s liver inflammation is not being caused by a hepatitis virus, they can then move on to try to determine what other “cause” could be responsible for causing your dog’s symptoms.

From there…

Your vet will likely perform either a sonography, and X-ray or a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and try to determine how “severe” the chronic active hepatitis is.

Treatment options…

Will first focus around removing the “cause” of your dog’s liver inflammation.  If the “cause” is curable or “treatable” your veterinarian will focus much of the treatment on eliminating the “root” cause of your dog’s disease.

 But if the “root” cause…

Of your dog’s CAH is not treatable, your veterinarian will likely shift gears towards managing and minimizing the symptoms that he or she is suffering from.


In cases like these, you and your veterinarian are likely only going to be able to play supportive roles in your dog’s health management due to the fact that a permanent cure would likely require a complete liver transplant which just isn’t available within the veterinarian care portfolio as of yet.

Dog breeds that are commonly affected with CAH may include:

We should also point out that…

We here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals of any kind.  All we are is a bunch of folks who really care about animals and only want the best for our readers.  For this reason, if you feel that you dog may be suffering from chronic acute hepatitis, or any other medical condition for that matter, please have him or her seen by a professional.  The last thing you want to do is try and “self-diagnosis” your animal from something that you have read “online”.

Which brings us to…

The last thing that we want to discuss when it comes to the health of your loved one, which is, veterinarian care can be expensive.  This is why we would encourage you to take a moment and see what it might cost for you to be able to purchase a pet insurance policy on your animal.


While it may be true that pet insurance policy might not be right for everyone, until you know what these “types” of policies will and won’t cover and how much they actually cost, how will you know if one may not be “right” for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies in the market right now, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment