First strep zoo case forces Orange County Animal Services into dog lockdown

Orange County Animal Services has temporarily paused intakes and adoptions after a dog tested positive for "strep zoo," according to Orange County Health Services. 

Because of the positive strep zoo result, Animal Services staff will give antibiotic treatment to about 200 dogs in its care in an attempt to prevent the spread. This marks the first confirmed case of strep zoo at Orange County Animal Services, health officials said. 

Strep zoo, called streptococcus zooepidemicus, is a contagious bacteria that can lead to the sudden death in dogs, according to animal officials. 

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"Strep Zoo is a bacterial disease that is seen randomly in shelters," said Chief Veterinarian for Orange County Animal Services Dr. Valerie Moser. "Quick action was taken this morning to connect with one of the premier veterinary infectious disease experts based out of Florida."

The dog with strep zoo arrived at Orange County Animal Services on June 8. It was "running loose in a local apartment complex" for the two weeks prior to being taken in at the animal shelter, health officials said. About a week later, the dog was diagnosed with pneumonia and further testing revealed a positive strep zoo diagnosis, too.

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An antibiotic injection was already given to the infected dog and its kennelmate. They were moved into isolation away from other dogs and remain in stable condition. 

"The injectable antibiotic ceases any shedding of the disease in approximately 72 hours, so for this brief period, we’re going into a total lockdown," said Orange County Animal Services Manager Diane Summers. Lockdown means dogs' movements will be restricted and dogs aren't allowed to come in or leave. 


Normal animal intake and dog adoptions will resume Monday, June 24. In the meantime, if you find a stray dog, hold onto it and try to find the owner. 

Cat intakes and adoptions are not affected by the dog shelter lockdown since cats have not been exposed. 

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To prevent your pet from coming in contact with another that might be infected with strep zoo, keep your dogs on a leash and seek vet care if your dog shows any signs of respiratory symptoms.