Contagious bacteria temporarily shuts down Orange County Animal Services

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Animal Services announced it is closing all dog intakes and adoption immediately after a dog tested positive for Streptococcus Zooepidemicus, commonly known as “Strep Zoo.”

Strep Zoo is a contagious bacteria that can lead to sudden death in canines, a news release stated.


The release went on to state that OCAS staff members will administer antibiotic treatment to approximately 200 dogs in its care.

Officials made the decision with an abundance of caution to prevent the spread of the disease.

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

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The infected dog arrived at OCAS on June 8, 2024, after it had been running loose in a local apartment complex for the prior two weeks. On June 14, 2024, the dog was diagnosed with pneumonia.

On Wednesday, a PCR test revealed the “Strep Zoo” bacteria results.

“While we’ve had other respiratory illnesses identified over the years, this is our first confirmed case of Strep Zoo,” said Diane Summers, Manager for Orange County Animal Services.

According to Dr. Moser, the infected dog and his kennelmate have already been given an antibiotic injection and were moved to isolation away from the general population. Both dogs are in stable condition.

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“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 Summers.

Normal stray animal intake and adoptions for dogs will resume on Monday, June 24.

In the meantime, dogs will be restricted in movement throughout the shelter with no dogs being able to enter or leave.

Animal Services asks anyone who finds a stray dog during this period to hold onto the pet until intakes have resumed and to attempt to locate the owner through established methods.

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Cat intakes and adoptions remain available, as they have not been exposed.

“The types of diseases that occur here at the shelter are a reflection of what is happening in our community,” said Summers. “Most of our intakes are strays and while animals are loose, they can be exposed to any number of contagious illnesses.”

“We implore pet owners to protect their pets by keeping them confined and on leash” added Summers. “Allowing pets to roam free or taking them to dog parks can be risky and so if any respiratory symptoms are then observed it’s crucial to seek veterinary guidance before it escalates into something more serious.”

Strep Zoo has prompted closures in other shelters across the country including Prince George County, Maricopa County, and Los Angeles County

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