The Moncton SPCA is expected to reopen on Thursday, two days after the facility was forced to euthanize all of its cats following an outbreak of a deadly virus.

Dr. Christine Chong, a veterinarian, said she's noticed a rise in cases of panleukopenia lately, a virus also known as the cat plague which attacks the animal's digestive system.

She said unvaccinated kittens have a high mortality rate from the virus and pet owners should be looking for specific symptoms.

"If they have adopted a cat from the SPCA one would look for anorexia, depression, vomiting and diarrhea or not doing as well as they should," Chong said.

'It's not something that we can prevent 100 per cent. We just need to ask for the community's understanding and just let us get on with what we need to do.' — Karen Nelson, Moncton SPCA

"You would want to bring the cat in to be seen right away."

Chong said panleukopenia outbreaks are common in shelters, such as the SPCA

She said euthanizing the animals is the most effective way to stop the virus from spreading further.

Karen Nelson, the executive director of the Moncton SPCA, said the shelter’s staff detected something was wrong with a few of the cats on Monday night.

The next day, after being seen by a veterinarian, the virus was confirmed in the animals.

Nelson said about 10 cats were awaiting adoption, but they had to be euthanized.

"It's not something that we can prevent 100 per cent. We just need to ask for the community's understanding and just let us get on with what we need to do," Nelson said.

Nelson said the incident has been very upsetting for the SPCA's staff and volunteers.

She said she urges cat owners to have their animals vaccinated.