Disease of Alimentary System
Vitamins are essential for proper body functions, but excesses are in no way beneficial. Over supplementation of water-soluble vitamins – C and the B complex – is not likely to be harmful, but the fat-soluble vitamins A and D are stored in the liver and excesses can be cumulative. Over supplementation usually occurs through cod liver oil, vitamin tablets or from large amoun ts of food rich in vitamin A, such as liver; bone changes may result with deposition of bone in the soft tissues. Bone deformities are occasionally seen in the long bones of giant dogs such as Great Danes when cod liver oil has been given to dogs critically short of essential minerals in their diet. Far from improving bone structure an excessive intake of vitamin D depletes the skeleton as more calcium is absorbed than can be excreted.
Hypervitaminosis is easily avoided with a balanced diet and no unnecessary supplementation; where Hypervitaminosis is suspected, urgent veterinary attention is essential.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH)
Sometimes called Infectious Viral Hepatitis and formerly known as Rubarth’s Disease (see also Blue Eye), this is a specific virus disease of the liver. It is highly infectious, and unless dogs are protected by vaccination they usually succumb to the disease. Young dogs are most at risk, although dogs of all ages may contract ICH, characterized by high fever with prostration, sometimes increased thirst accompanied by vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea, often with violent hemorrhage in the gut. The extent of blood loss usually indicates the possibility of successful treatment. With intensive care many cases recover completely, others may die within a few hours. The disease normally runs its course within a week, leading either to death or recovery.