Citrus County Animal Services has temporarily closed the shelter, until further notice, due to a severe upper respiratory illness. Test results have confirmed the presence of highly contagious bacterium typically found in horses, but which also has the potential of affecting dogs, cats, and humans. The bacteria known as Streptococcus Zooepidemicus (strep zoo) was confirmed by the lab Wednesday morning, January 17, 2018.
Strep Zoo is an opportunistic pathogen which has the ability to shed from an infected dog without showing any clinical signs. Infected dogs may eventually develop the following signs: sudden-onset fever, sneezing, rapid, shallow breathing, bloody discharge from the nose or mouth, lethargy (tiredness) and have a reluctance to eat. Some dogs may collapse, which indicates a developing blood infection. In most cases, this occurs within 12-24 hours of the onset of the first symptoms (which may be mistaken for ‘kennel cough’). In a small proportion of cases, the disease has been known to be fatal to dogs within 24 hours of contracting the infection.
In an effort to contain this situation, and keep the animals’ health and safety a priority, the shelter will be closing for a minimum of two weeks to allow staff to effectively clean, isolate and treat all animals in the shelter. During this time, all animals will be held under strict quarantine. Therefore, no animal will be admitted into or out of the shelter.
A temporary shelter will be established in the next 24-48 hours for the purpose of housing any stray animals brought in by animal control. During this time, animals will not be accepted by the general public, which includes stray and owner-surrendered animals.
Shelter administration and staff have been, and will continue, working with expert veterinarians from the University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program to ensure the most current protocols are being followed to minimize the risk of spreading to other animals in the shelter, to shelter staff and their pets at home.
If you have visited the shelter or reclaimed or adopted an animal from the shelter in the past two weeks, it is highly encouraged that you contact your veterinarian immediately.