UTAH (ABC4) – One of the state’s leading animal advocates is asking Utahns to better understand and be aware of the risks of canine parvovirus.

According to the Humane Society of Utah, over 32 cases of parvovirus, also known simply as “parvo,” have been reported by the community in the last four days. The society explains that the virus is highly contagious and can survive in the environment for months or even years in the right conditions.

Vomiting and diarrhea are hallmark symptoms of the disease, which can be deadly in dogs of all ages who have not received their immunizations.

“Parvo is a very scary virus that can cause deadly vomiting and diarrhea. The good news is that vaccinating your dog provides excellent protection against Canine Parvovirus infection. Make sure to work with a veterinarian to get your dog vaccinated properly,” says Humane Society of Utah Medical Director Timna Fischbein. “If you have a puppy, remember that they will need multiple boosters for full protection. Beware of do-it-yourself vaccines such as those from farm supply stores, as they are often not refrigerated properly and may not be effective.”

The Humane Society’s associate director of marketing and communications, Guinn Shuster also advises new puppy owners to pump the brakes on showing off their furry companion in public until the animal has received all their shots.

“As tempting as it may be for new puppy owners, we advise against taking them to parks, pet stores, or any areas highly trafficked by dogs until their puppy is fully vaccinated,” says Shuster. “You can safely socialize your new puppy with fully vaccinated dogs in a clean environment like your home.”