A mysterious disease has killed about 20 small dogs in the US state of Michigan, while officials say the disease is similar to a highly contagious canine virus called Parvo virus

An Otsego County animal shelter said the dogs that showed symptoms of the disease died within 3 days and were less than two years old, reports a local Arabic daily quoting ABC News.

The network pointed out that the symptoms of the disease include vomiting, bloody diarrhea and loss of appetite, but it indicated that the tests to detect the “parvovirus” for infected dogs were negative.

Animal shelter director Melissa Fitzgerald says there is expectation that it is a new strain of the virus that is not known to specialists. “The disease,” she said, “affects different breeds of dogs and is more prevalent in young and old dogs.”

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