BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two dogs rescued from horrible living conditions in the basement of a city home are now battling a deadly virus. The dogs are part of one of the largest rescue operations the Maryland SPCA has seen this year.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the virus and the threat it’s posing to other animals.

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It’s called parvo, and it attacks a dog’s intestines. Because these pups were never properly fed or vaccinated, they have become susceptible to the virus.

Flapjack and Penguin look and play like other healthy puppies, but the brother and sister are fighting an internal battle of their own after being rescued from deplorable living conditions in the basement of a home in West Baltimore.

“They started having a lot of bloody diarrhea, soft stool. We went ahead and blood tested them. The blood test showed they were positive for the parvovirus,” said Dr. John Floramonti, Towson Veterinarian Clinic.

The deadly virus parvo has a fatality rate of 60 percent. But with the help of the Towson Veterinarian Clinic, Penguin and Flapjack have a fighting chance.

The pups’ story of survival started at a home on N. Tremont Road, where more than 30 dogs were living without food and water. A neighbor complained about loud barking. Animal Control stepped in and found the malnourished pooches cramped together.

“It’s inhumane to keep animals crated, and with that many animals in one crate,” said one person.

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“Just to see that volume of animals in one location and no food and water, that’s unacceptable,” said another.

It’s those conditions, the dogs’ veterinarian says, contributed to the deadly virus attacking Penguin and Flapjack.

“Causes a lot of fluid loss and nutritional loss. The animals get dehydrated,” said Floramonti.

The owner of the dogs told police he brought the canines across state lines back to Baltimore with the intention to sell them. Instead, he is now trying to buy his way out of animal cruelty charges as the Maryland SPCA looks for ways to pay for treatment of the parvovirus, which exceeds $5,000.

“It’s really important that we receive help from the community to kind of refuel our KB Fund, which pays for all of our medical expenses, especially for these two parvo positive puppies,” said Nicole Miller, Maryland SPCA.

The other dogs that were rescued are now being monitored to see if they show any signs of the parvovirus.

If you are able to help in the puppies’ treatment, you can donate to the Maryland SPCA.

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