Dog fosters needed to help PACC fight canine-related illness "strep zoo"

TUCSON, Ariz. - Pima Animal Care Center is asking community members to foster its dogs for a few weeks while staff work to eradicate a shelter-related dog illness that can be deadly if not treated. 

Canines are on preventative treatment to prevent the disease spreading throughout the shelter. 

Streptococcus equi zooepidemicus, known as "strep zoo," is a highly contagious disease among dogs, especially in shelter settings.

Staff discovered the disease on May 18, when a deceased dog tested positive for strep zoo. 

Strep zoo can cause severe and potentially fatal pneumonia. Signs of infection include fever, depression, cough, discharge from the nose and blood coming from the animal’s mouth. Strep zoo is normally found in horses and cattle, pigs, and guinea pigs, but it does not cause disease in these animals. 

The deceased dog was one of six dogs brought in a week prior, form a rural area with exposure to a donkey. The other five dogs are now in foster homes with no other pets.

Community members can help prevent the spread of strep zoo by providing temporary housing to incoming adult dogs and to those who have completed antibiotic treatment. 

If interested, email PACC’s foster coordinators at pacc.foster@pima.gov.  

Shelter adoptions will also continue. All adopters will receive prophylactic antibiotics to resume treatment at home. 

“This disease shows up from the community periodically, and like other infectious illnesses, we treat is as especially critical once the general population is exposed,” said PACC Director Kristen Auerbach. “We are taking every measure to ensure that our population remains healthy while they wait for their permanent homes.” 

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