Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Nebraska Humane Society on emergency-only schedule due to “Strep zoo”

The Nebraska Humane Society will operate on an emergency-only schedule for the next 3 to 5 days. It’s due to a highly contagious bacterial infection called Streptococcus equi zooepidemicus, or “Strep zoo.” NHS staff and volunteers spent Sunday scrubbing every surface inside the humane society after the potential bacterial infection outbreak was identified.”We just have the one so far that had these more suspicious, more serious clinical signs recently,” Dr. Amber Horn, Animal Medical Director at NHS, said.Horn said a dog began showing symptoms of kennel cough Friday morning, and by Saturday afternoon, the dog was in critical condition.”Strep zoo can be a very serious illness,” Horn said. “You can go from an animal maybe seeming a little off, such as like not eating, maybe coughing to sudden death in some situations.”After a necropsy, Horn said she and her colleagues’ suspicions only grew.”We did a necropsy, which is basically an animal autopsy last night , and our findings, they suggest or points towards this Streptococcus equi zooepidemicus and so we have to take that very seriously and we have to assume that it’s this until we can prove otherwise,” Horn said.Strep zoo is a bacteria that is typically seen in kenneling situations, like at an animal shelter like NHS. Due to its highly contagious and potentially fatal nature, NHS made the call to activate emergency status while waiting for official test results.”We’ll be putting on those extra suits and booties to cover our feet when we’re caring for the animals so that we don’t accidentally spread illnesses to animals that maybe aren’t even showing signs yet,” Horn said.The bacteria can spread through the air or via direct contact, all summer camps are canceled for now to lower the amount of people in the shelter, and the shelter is closed for all adoptions.Horn said only one dog showed signs of serious infection, but staff are closely monitoring and treating 40-50 other dogs that are potentially carrying the bacteria.”We are treating the entire shelter population aggressively to get back to normal faster,” Horn said. “Those are animals that will get prophylactic treatment just in case there is involvement of this bacteria with those animals.”The shelter is also only accepting new animals if it is an emergency. “We’re setting up a separate area that’s completely separate from the rest of our animals so that we can have what’s called a clean break,” Horn said.If you adopted a dog from NHS within the last 7 days, you should look out for symptoms like respiratory illness, coughing, discharge from the nose, loss of appetite, and depression. If you see this in your pet, call your veterinarian. All vets are also asked to contact the NHS medical team to report any cases. Anyone who finds a lost pet or stray animal in the next three to five days is still encouraged to call NHS. Horn says from there, staff will help guide you on what to do next. If possible, Horn said they are asking people to house those strays and the shelter will provide supplies and assistance like food and bedding. “If for some reason, those animals are you know, they’re not comfortable having that pet in their home, depending upon the situation, we can arrange for animal control to come out and get that animal under an emergency basis,” Horn said.Horn said strep zoo can be devastating to shelter populations. It’s a bacterium normally found in horses, cattle, pigs & guinea pigs. When it infects immunocompromised dogs, it could cause a severe case of pneumonia. There is no vaccine for it. Cats and immunocompromised humans can also catch Strep zoo, but Horn says it is extremely rare.If you have recently adopted, Horn said to avoid mingling with other animals and avoid public parks until strep zoo can be ruled out.Anyone with an emergency is still encouraged to call the Nebraska Humane Society at 402-444-7800.

The Nebraska Humane Society will operate on an emergency-only schedule for the next 3 to 5 days. It’s due to a highly contagious bacterial infection called Streptococcus equi zooepidemicus, or “Strep zoo.”

NHS staff and volunteers spent Sunday scrubbing every surface inside the humane society after the potential bacterial infection outbreak was identified.

“We just have the one so far that had these more suspicious, more serious clinical signs recently,” Dr. Amber Horn, Animal Medical Director at NHS, said.

Horn said a dog began showing symptoms of kennel cough Friday morning, and by Saturday afternoon, the dog was in critical condition.

“Strep zoo can be a very serious illness,” Horn said. “You can go from an animal maybe seeming a little off, such as like not eating, maybe coughing to sudden death in some situations.”

After a necropsy, Horn said she and her colleagues’ suspicions only grew.

“We did a necropsy, which is basically an animal autopsy last night [Saturday], and our findings, they suggest or points towards this Streptococcus equi zooepidemicus and so we have to take that very seriously and we have to assume that it’s this until we can prove otherwise,” Horn said.

Strep zoo is a bacteria that is typically seen in kenneling situations, like at an animal shelter like NHS. Due to its highly contagious and potentially fatal nature, NHS made the call to activate emergency status while waiting for official test results.

“We’ll be putting on those extra suits and booties to cover our feet when we’re caring for the animals so that we don’t accidentally spread illnesses to animals that maybe aren’t even showing signs yet,” Horn said.

The bacteria can spread through the air or via direct contact, all summer camps are canceled for now to lower the amount of people in the shelter, and the shelter is closed for all adoptions.

Horn said only one dog showed signs of serious infection, but staff are closely monitoring and treating 40-50 other dogs that are potentially carrying the bacteria.

“We are treating the entire shelter population aggressively to get back to normal faster,” Horn said. “Those are animals that will get prophylactic treatment just in case there is involvement of this bacteria with those animals.”

The shelter is also only accepting new animals if it is an emergency.

“We’re setting up a separate area that’s completely separate from the rest of our animals so that we can have what’s called a clean break,” Horn said.

If you adopted a dog from NHS within the last 7 days, you should look out for symptoms like respiratory illness, coughing, discharge from the nose, loss of appetite, and depression. If you see this in your pet, call your veterinarian.

All vets are also asked to contact the NHS medical team to report any cases.

Anyone who finds a lost pet or stray animal in the next three to five days is still encouraged to call NHS. Horn says from there, staff will help guide you on what to do next. If possible, Horn said they are asking people to house those strays and the shelter will provide supplies and assistance like food and bedding.

“If for some reason, those animals are you know, they’re not comfortable having that pet in their home, depending upon the situation, we can arrange for animal control to come out and get that animal under an emergency basis,” Horn said.

Horn said strep zoo can be devastating to shelter populations. It’s a bacterium normally found in horses, cattle, pigs & guinea pigs. When it infects immunocompromised dogs, it could cause a severe case of pneumonia. There is no vaccine for it.

Cats and immunocompromised humans can also catch Strep zoo, but Horn says it is extremely rare.

If you have recently adopted, Horn said to avoid mingling with other animals and avoid public parks until strep zoo can be ruled out.

Anyone with an emergency is still encouraged to call the Nebraska Humane Society at 402-444-7800.

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