What is Parvovirus? All about second deadly dog disease after Alabama Rot [Representational Image]Creative Commons

Forget Alabama Rot, there's a new deadly dog disease that might kill your beloved pet. In the UK, parvovirus has become the second deadly dog disease after Alabama Rot and is highly contagious.

The viral disease can produce a life-threatening illness after virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in the body of the dog and affects the intestinal tract severely. It also affects the white blood cells and in puppies, a virus can damage the heart muscle, causing a lifelong cardiac problem.

The virus is highly resistant and can live in the environment for months. They may survive on inanimate objects like clothes, shoes, carpet, food, and floors.

Symptoms of Parvovirus

The general symptoms of the parvovirus include lethargy, severe vomiting, loss of appetite, fever and foul-smelling diarrhea leading to life-threatening dehydration.

How do dogs contract the disease?

It is an extremely contagious disease and can be transmitted by any person, animal or object coming in contact with infected dog's feces. Unvaccinated dogs,  puppies, and adolescent dogs are most susceptible to the virus. The parvovirus affects almost all members of the dog family (wolves, coyotes, foxes, etc.), according to WebMd.

How to prevent Parvovirus?

The potential killer disease can be prevented by vaccinating it properly. Usually, the puppies are to be vaccinated against parvovirus from the age of six weeks, according to Blue Cross for Pets.

When to go to a vet?

If pet owners recognize any of the symptoms above in your their dog, it's better to go to the vet immediately for advice. Since most of the deaths from Parvovirus happen within 48 to 72 hours after the symptoms begin, owners should keep checking their canine friends. The quicker they get help, the greater the chances of survival are.

If the symptoms appear similar to parvovirus, it's better to keep the dog away from other dogs as it spreads easily.