DETROIT -

LAs the weather becomes warmer more and more pet lovers are heading outdoors with their dogs.

Before you take your dog anywhere, make sure your faithful family member is protected against a deadly and highly contagious virus commonly found outdoors.

Parvovirus, known as parvo, is highly contagious and often a death sentence for a dog. Young dogs and especially puppies who haven't been vaccinated properly fall victim quickly to the virus says Gina DeLuca a licensed veterinary technician and co-owner of 4 Paws 1 Heart.

Dogs can catch parvo by coming into direct contact with the virus, usually through dog waste or from any object another infected dog had contact with. The virus is not contagious to people.

DeLuca says she has seen her fair share of puppies die from the virus.

"Parvo virus can be very costly to treat, on average $600-$2,500. 4 Paws 1 Heart has treated all of the animals in these pictures, but there were a handful here that did not survive the virus," she said

Symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Lethargy

"Immediately seek veterinary care if you puppy is showing any of these signs," said DeLuca. "Quick treatment can make survival greater, but there are no guarantees. Without treatment your puppy will probably suffer to death."

Parvo is preventable:

The good news for dog owners is that parvo is completely preventable through routine vaccinations.

DeLuca recommends finding a veterinarian as soon as you bring a new puppy into your family to start the vaccination process right away. Until a dog is fully vaccinated and protected from the virus, owners should avoid taking their pets to public places and should limited access to other dogs.

Low-cost vaccinations:

The Michigan Humane Society offers low-cost vaccinations against Distemper, Parvovirus, Rabies and other deadly diseases through their Protect-A-Pet clinics.

To find out more about Protect-A-Pet clinic dates and locations visit the michiganhumane.org.

4 Paws 1 Heart is a 501c3 organization that works to reduce the number of homeless cats and dogs by paying for medical treatment and helping pets find homes by partnering with local rescue groups.

To help their mission and to donate click HERE.