Orange County Animal Services pausing dog intake, adoptions to contagious bacteria, 'Strep Zoo'

Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) has temporarily closed dog intakes and adoptions after a dog tested positive for Streptococcus Zooepidemicus, or "Strep Zoo," a contagious bacterium that can cause sudden death in canines.

OCAS staff said they will treat around 200 dogs with antibiotics to prevent the spread of the disease. As a precaution, no dogs will enter or leave the shelter until Monday, June 24.

The infected dog is believed to have been a stray from a local apartment complex. It arrived at OCAS on June 8 and was diagnosed with pneumonia on June 14. A PCR test confirmed Strep Zoo.

"This is our first confirmed case of Strep Zoo," said Diane Summers, OCAS Manager. Dr. Valerie Moser, Chief Veterinarian, added, "We took quick action to consult a top veterinary infectious disease expert in Florida."

The infected dog and its kennel mate received antibiotic injections and were isolated from other animals. The antibiotics will stop disease shedding in about 72 hours, according to OCAS  start, during which the shelter will be on lockdown.

OCAS urges anyone who finds a stray dog during this period to hold onto the pet and try to find its owner. Cat intakes and adoptions are unaffected.

"The diseases we see here reflect our community," Summers said, emphasizing the importance of keeping pets confined and on leashes to prevent exposure to contagious illnesses.

According to OCAS, Strep Zoo has led to shelter closures in other regions, including Prince George County in Maryland, Maricopa County in Arizona, and Los Angeles County in California.