An animal shelter in Cincinnati had to pause its operation after four dogs under its care contracted and died of a viral disease.

The Cincinnati Animal CARE halted on-site dog intake and adoptions after the four dogs tested positive for the canine distemper virus on Monday.

Ray Anderson, the media spokesperson for the shelter, told Fox19 Now that the virus typically infects unvaccinated puppies and dogs.

To address the issue, Anderson said the shelter is working on preventing the further spread of the disease to other animals under the organization's care.

"Infectious diseases of any kind in our shelter are taken seriously and treated aggressively while we exercise the highest levels of caution to mitigate the risk of further spread," the spokesperson added.

The shelter is currently home to around 200 dogs. Pausing adoptions would be difficult for the staff and the dogs. However, they opted to do it to ensure the virus could no longer spread.

"This will drastically affect the organization at every level, particularly numbers. We are restricting intake as much as possible, but no dog currently on-site can leave the facility until they are medically cleared, which could be upwards of a month," Anderson explained.

The staff is currently monitoring all of the remaining dogs that are in quarantine at an off-site facility. They are examining the canines for symptoms of the infection, including fever, cough, eye and nose discharge, as well as swelling of the paw pads and gastrointestinal distress, per The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The canine distemper virus cannot be transmitted to cats, so the cat wing, called Kitty City, will remain open for intake and adoption.

After consulting with veterinarians and experts, the Cincinnati Animal CARE team released a list of guidelines for the public, so they could help contain the situation.

Among the guidelines, the team said pet owners should not bring their dogs to public places frequented by many animals if they have not been fully vaccinated against the virus.

For more information about the issue, visit the shelter's website.

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