DOG owners have been warned about the risks of parvovirus – a disease that can be deadly for pups.
Health officials in Washington DC and New York have warned about rising cases.
Experts have said that the warmer winter season meant that not all viruses were killed off.
Vaccinations can protect dogs from the disease, but some owners find them too expensive, per the Fox affiliate WDAF.
It can cost as much as $2,000 for a vet to provide care for an unvaccinated dog with parvovirus.
Rachel Lunsford, an urgent care tech at Pet Resource Center in Kansas City, said: “Parvo is something you can never tell if they’re going to make it or not.”
Vets have warned that the symptoms of parvovirus include diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration.
Dogs could develop symptoms within two to 14 days of being infected.
Veterinarian Dr. Hannah Lau told the NBC affiliate WNBC: “Young, unvaccinated dogs are at the highest risk of parvovirus.
“Any breed of dog can become sick from parvovirus, but Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, American Pit Bull Terriers, English Spring Spaniels, and German Shepherds may see an increased risk.”
Cases of parvovirus have seen a spike in New York and Washington DC, sparking concern among health officials.
Ashly Smith, a medical director for Bond Vet in Washington DC, branded the rise as “very concerning,” as reported by WTOP.
Animal care centers in New York diagnosed 14 dogs with the virus as of March 14, prompting health officials to issue a warning.
The figure was more than the usual number of cases that are recorded each year.
Infected dogs are given antibiotics that are designed to tackle or prevent sepsis.
Animals may also be given fluids containing electrolytes to tackle dehydration.
Pet experts have said vaccination is the “best way” to protect puppies from parvovirus.
Lau said: “Timely and appropriate vaccination is the best way to protect your dog from parvovirus!
“Prevention of disease is the best medicine.”
Puppies tend to receive their first vaccine at the age of eight months and they get their second shot around four to six weeks later.
Experts have warned that puppies are vulnerable to the disease until they’ve received all vaccinations.