PARMA -- A respiratory illness that may have claimed the lives of at least five dogs in Cuyahoga County has caused another shelter to close its doors as a preventative measure.
The Parma Animal Shelter has closed a portion of its building housing dogs "in light of the dog respiratory illness that is going around shelters in the Ohio area."
The shelter cited its main concerns are focused on the health of the dogs in the shelter and "preventing the spread of disease to any dogs outside the shelter."
Last week, the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter closed after five dogs died from an apparent respiratory illness. It still remains unclear what caused the illness. The dogs that died during the last three weeks came from the city kennel, a shelter spokesperson confirmed on Friday.
Cleveland city officials said the kennel has been working with the shelter and stepped up its cleaning process in its building and trucks. The city also noted that no dogs have died at the kennel, which remains open.
The shelter is still awaiting test results to determine how the dogs died, though employees believe it was a respiratory illness. The Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter will remain closed until results are confirmed.
On Wednesday evening, WKYC's Ray Strickland spoke with Mobile Veterinary Clinic's Dr. Sharmyn Clark, who says it's likely one dog could have spread the mystery illness to other dogs. She believes it was possibly a virus, not bacteria, that could be responsible for their deaths
"Frequently, it is virus induced because they do spread between dog to dog more quickly. They are also more deadly and more virulent than most bacteria infections," she says.
Whatever the mystery illness is, Dr. Clark says, at this point, your dogs at home should be okay. But just in case you are worried, she says you can do a number of things to keep your dog safe.
"Keep your dog at home. Keep it in the yard. Try not to go to dog parks. Don't go to kennels if you can help it. if you see a stray dog stay away from it," she advises.