This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
This is one of the most common of the diseases to which sport-ing dogs are liable, in consequence of exposure to cold and wet
It causes congestion of the liver, which runs into inflammation. Dogs deprived of exercise likewise contract it, because their livers first becoming torpid, the bile accumulates, and then, in order to get rid of it, nature establishes an action which ends in inflammation. The symptoms are a yellow condition of the whites of the eye and of the skin generally, from which the disease is commonly called "the Yellows."
Acute hepatitis comes on rapidly, and with a good deal of fever, generally manifesting itself on the day following a long exposure to wet and cold. The dog shivers; his nose is hot. His breathing is more rapid than usual, and his pulse is quick and weak. The bowels are confined; and when moved, the "motions" are clay-colored or slaty. If these symptoms are not immediately attended to, the case ends fatally, sickness coming on, and the strength being rapidly exhausted. The treatment should be, first, a considerable abstraction of blood; then give the bolus (13); and, as soon as it has acted, rub the embrocation (42) or (43) on the right side, over the liver. At the same time, give calomel and opium pills of a grain each, every four hours, taking care to keep the bowels open by the bolus (13), or by castor oil (15). As soon as the proper color returns to the motions, the calomel may be entirely or partially discontinued, small doses of rhubarb and ipecacuanha being substituted. An emetic (45) in the early stages will sometimes act like a charm, unloading the liver, and at once cutting short the congestion.
When, however, inflammation has actively set in, it is worse than useless, inasmuch as it aggravates the disease tenfold.
Chronic hepatitis is caused more frequently by improper food than by exposure, and is very different in its symptoms from the acute form. Whenever the faeces are pale, dark, or slate-colored, the approach of this disease may be suspected, and appropriate treatment should be commenced forthwith; but it is not until the liver is perceptibly enlarged, and the dog is evidently out of condition, that it is generally considered to be established. Then scarcely any remedies will be of much service. At this time there is frequently not only a hard enlarged state of the liver - easily felt through and below the ribs on the right side - but also a yield 15 ing watery enlargement of the belly, from a collection of serous fluid, which is thrown out in consequence of the pressure on the veins, as they return through the liver. The skin is "hide-bound," the hair dull and awry, and the dog looks thin and wretched. The treatment consists in the use of small doses of mercury, or podophyllin, according to the state of the liver (1) or (13); or sometimes ipecacuanha may be given instead of the mercury, in half-grain doses. It requires a long time, however, to act, and will suffice only in very mild cases.
The red iodide of mercury mixed with lard, may be rubbed into the side, one drachm to one ounce of the lard, or the embrocation (42) or (43) may be used instead. Gentle exercise may be given at the same time, and mild farinaceous food, with a small quantity of weak broth. After a time, as the liver begins to act, shown by the yellow color of the faces, the disease relaxes, and the mercury may be dispensed with. As a general thing, however, considerable time elapses before the stomach recovers its tone. A strong decoction of dandelion roots boiled in water and strained, may be given for this purpose, the dose being half a teacupful, administered every morning.