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Oprah’s new puppy Ivan has died

The cocker spaniel that Oprah Winfrey recently adopted has passed away after it came down with the deadly Parvo virus. The puppy's sister Sadie, who has also been exposed to the virus, is being treated as a precaution.
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We were devastated to hear this news about the new cocker spaniel puppies Oprah adopted just the other week: Ivan, one of two puppies she adopted recently from PAWS Shelter in Chicago, has died, and the other, Sadie, is currently being treated as a precaution. Oprah proudly announced the adoption of Sadie on her show March 6 and contemplated on-air adopting one of her three brothers still awaiting homes at PAWS. The media mogul brought home Sadie’s brother Ivan, but the puppy came down with a deadly virus called Parvo last Wednesday and died, said Dr. Jean Dodds, the veterinarian who supplied the plasma, which is also being used to treat Sadie since she was exposed.

A spokesperson for Winfrey confirmed to PEOPLE Pets that the puppy died over the weekend, and added that Sadie, “is getting stronger.” The remaining puppies from the litter are doing fine, according to Angela Brown who rescued the puppies’ mother, Lizzy Ann.

“It was just a little bit too late. All the veterinary community got together to save his life,” Dr. Dodds said of Ivan. “The puppy didn’t make it, but he’s teaching others how important this is to get vaccinated at the right times.”

Dr. Dodds, who founded Hemopet, a non-profit animal blood bank, said that she thinks the shelter and vets did everything right, but that Ivan was exposed between two critical shots. Puppies (and unvaccinated adults) around the country are being hit with a new strain of the disease called Canine Parvovirus Type 2c. Dr. Dobbs said that shelters often hold puppies in isolation, but that Parvo “is everywhere; it’s like the flu.”

Oprah Winfrey

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Oprah Winfrey

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Because Sadie was exposed to Ivan before her second shot, she is also being treated with “plasma from hyper immunized healthy dogs” as a precaution until she is old enough to get her second crucial shot, Dr. Dodds said. A puppy with Parvo typically becomes lethargic, refuses to eat, then suffers explosive and often bloody diarrhea that has a distinct smell vets recognize, Dr. Dodds said.

The PAWS Shelter has not returned calls. Sadie and Ivan were part of a litter of 11 puppies born to a dog rescued from Greenwood, South Carolina by a woman attending her mother’s funeral. Animal lover Winfrey’s Golden Retriever Gracie choked to death on a ball in 2007 and her cocker spaniel Sophie died about a year ago at age 13 of kidney failure.

According to the American Veterinary Medicine Association, the disease is often fatal despite aggressive treatment. The hardy virus can be spread dog-to-dog, through feces, people or their shoes or clothes or just the environment.