TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — An outbreak of canine parvovirus has led officials at the Terre Haute Humane Society to close the shelter to visitors as workers tend to sick dogs.

A post to Facebook said the shelter will be closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but young puppies and unvaccinated dogs are at the highest risk.

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months old are the most at risk. Dogs that are ill from canine parvovirus infection are often said to have “parvo.” The virus affects dogs’ gastrointestinal tracts and is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces (stool), environments, or people. The virus can also contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. It is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and drying, and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. Even trace amounts of feces from an infected dog may harbor the virus and infect other dogs that come into the infected environment. The virus is readily transmitted from place to place on the hair or feet of dogs or via contaminated cages, shoes, or other objects.

American Veterinary Medical Association

With the possibility of spread in a shelter situation, the decision was made to close the THHS doors to the public to prevent further spread and to allow workers to tend to the sick animals and to perform a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the building.

THHS expects to resume regular public hours Friday. For more information about canine parvovirus including symptoms to watch for and preventative measures, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website here.