Hepatitis is a serious disease of the liver. Both dogs and people can get hepatitis, but from different viruses. Hepatitis C is one of the strains that causes disease in humans, but it is not transferable to dogs. By the same token, dogs can’t give canine hepatitis to humans.
Hepatitis in dogs is caused by the canine adenovirus 1 (CAV-1). If your dog has regular vaccinations from the vet, he's protected from CAV-1. Dogs also can get hepatitis from bacteria, which is treatable with antibiotics. Neither the virus nor the bacteria can infect humans, so don't worry about caring for your dog during the illness.
Symptoms of CAV-1
CAV-1 attacks a dog’s liver, eyes and kidneys. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and severe weakness. The dog’s eyes and skin may develop a yellow color if liver failure develops. There is no cure, but vaccination has reduced the number of cases in the United States and western Europe.
Human Hepatitis C
Because there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, people must be careful to avoid exposure to the virus. You can be exposed by contact with blood and other body fluids. Health care workers are especially at risk and should be careful to follow infection control procedures. Dogs cannot get hepatitis C.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C
Seventy percent of the people who have hepatitis C develop chronic liver disease. Early symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite and nausea. Patients develop jaundice and liver failure as the disease progresses. It can take years for symptoms to appear; hepatitis C is usually diagnosed through a routine blood test.
Dogs and Human Diseases
Although you can’t get hepatitis from your dog, your pet can give you other diseases. Among these are leptospirosis, cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis and Q fever. Often, these illnesses are carried by bacteria or parasites. Be careful to wash your hands thoroughly after playing with your dog or handling his droppings.