FOND DU LAC - An area animal shelter closed its doors to the public because of an outbreak of a highly contagious and potentially deadly virus for dogs.
It's called the "parvo" virus and it is something officials with the Fond du Lac Humane Society say they are not taking lightly.
Nineteen puppies at Fond du Lac Humane Society have the canine parvovirus, or "parvo." Since last weekend, four died.
"Parvo kills puppies. You go into it knowing you will probably lose 30%," explained Manager Renee Webb.
FOX 11 was not let in the shelter Friday because Webb closed the doors to visitors.
"Not only for the protection of their dogs, but we also have to make sure that they virus is not getting dragged around the shelter," she explained.
The virus is highly contagious among puppies and can infect older dogs. There is a multi-phase vaccine, but the sick puppies had only gotten the first shot when they became ill. It's unclear how it happened.
"Could have literally been dragged in on someone's shoe," said Webb.
A the Bay Area Humane Society in Green Bay, staff is also familiar with parvo.
"Being lethargic, vomiting, diarrhea, really they just get icky," explained development director Karen DeBaker.
Right now the shelter is treating one puppy with the virus, but it can be managed easily in small numbers.
"We've had 13 cases up here this year. That's not necessarily high, but we've treated them all with a lot of success," DeBaker told us.
In Fond du Lac, Webb and her staff are treating the pups with fluids, antibiotics and plasma transfusions. They are disinfecting treatment areas. Staff who work with the sick do not work with other animals. Webb told us it's unclear when the doors might open again.
"Take care of those puppies. That is the only thing we can concentrate on right now," said Webb.
The Fond du Lac Humane Society is asking for donations of exam gloves and newspapers right now.
Webb recommends the public have pet dogs checked for parvo.
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