A Question About Jaundice

“My brother tells me he has had his puppy inoculated against jaundice. Can you tell me a little about this disease?”

Jaundice can be present in the puppy from several causes. There may be something blocking the bile duct, preventing the bile’s escaping from the liver into the small intestine in the usual way; it has to be absorbed, therefore, by the lymphatics, and some of its constituents are then deposited in the body, causing the well-known yellow appearance of the mucous membranes, etc.

The most likely cause of jaundice in a puppy is the virus of contagious hepatitis. The temperature rises to an alarming degree and the puppy becomes very ill. Unless veterinary aid is sought quickly, the puppy may die. The urine often becomes green, and the stool clay-colored and offensive. Vomiting is often present, as well as convulsions or fits.

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The treatment of jaundice must, of course, depend on the cause and symptoms present. If the cause is obstruction, an enema is sometimes given to relieve the constipation. An operation may be necessary, but if it is contagious hepatitis, antibiotics will be used. In all cases of jaundice, expert advice must be taken without delay.