Deputies were dispatched to the town just after 1 p.m. on Friday after they were notified of numerous dead cows lying in a field in the 8000 block of Fourth Avenue, according to a Portage County Sheriff's Department news release.
The owner of the cattle reportedly told deputies that he had been working with a local veterinarian and suspected that the animals died from either infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, or IBR, or bovine virus diarrhea, or BVD, the Sheriff's Department said.
According to Cattletoday.info, IBR, aka red nose, is an acute, contagious virus of cattle that usually occurs in the air passages of the cow's head or its windpipe.
Cattle of all ages that have not been vaccinated or have not recovered from the disease are susceptible to IBR, the website says.
BVD can cause numerous problems, according to the site, such as damage to the cow's digestive and immune systems, pneumonia, abortions and calf deformities.
Samples of the dead animals have been sent to Madison for testing.
Neither the Sheriff's Department sergeant who wrote the press release nor the humane society officer who took the farmer's statement could be reached for comment Friday evening when information about the incident was released to the media.
Attempts to reach a large animal veterinarian also were unsuccessful.
The investigation is being handled by the Portage County Humane Society.There is no threat to humans or other animals, the Portage County Sheriff's Department said.