TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Parvovirus cases are on the rise in East Texas.

Parvo is a highly contagious virus that spreads through direct contact with an infected dog or by indirect contact with a contaminated object. This virus can be deadly to animals and they often require hospitalization to survive. Even then, many dogs with parvo don’t make it.

Dr. Gary Spence from Spence and White Veterinary Hospital said there’s only one way to fully protect your dog: get it vaccinated.

“We start puppies at 6 weeks, we give them boosters at 8 weeks, we come back with boosters at 10-12 weeks and finish up with more boosters at 14-16 weeks,” Spence said.

Veterinarians say this disease is highly transmissible. If you track infected feces into your home and your dog licks, sniffs or touches it, it’s likely the pet will contract it.

Spence says Parvo is comparable to COVID-19. If your dog is vaccinated, he may still contract the virus but it won’t be as life-threatening.

Some symptoms of virus are bloody diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and depression.