As temperatures warm up and more people head outside for summer activities, there is an increased risk for dogs to contract the highly contagious Parvo virus.

Parvo virus is a highly contagious virus particularly affecting canines, Douglas Patriquin, CEO of Dr. Kellys Surgical Unit, said. While it mainly impacts puppies, dogs of all ages can be infected.

What makes it unique is it’s a particularly hardy virus. It may be in the soil, on your countertop, or the floor, and you dont even notice it.

If your dog is unvaccinated, the virus is difficult to avoid.

The way it goes from canine to canine is through body fluids, diarrhea, or vomiting,” Patriquin said. “Your dog picks it up by just walking across that area and ingesting it. Its highly contagious and highly lethal.

Parvo virus has a 90% mortality rate, but vaccinations can protect dogs from the disease.

Right now its really just fluids and overnight care,” Patriquin said. “There are antiviral treatments, but they are not that effective.

However, a new treatment offers hope.

Theres a new treatment out, a monoclonal antibody that you can give your pet once they have Parvo virus. Its shown to be incredibly effective,” Patriquin said. “The trouble is, its brand new to the market. Its just come out in the last month or two and is hard to get. Hopefully, over the next year or two, it will become readily available in all practices.

With Parvo having such a high mortality rate for dogs, it’s important to keep their vaccinations up to date, avoid contact with unknown dogs, and be cautious of where they walk if they are unvaccinated.