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FAQs on Strep Zoo

Why were the two dogs who tested positive at the Ozaukee Campus euthanized?

Although we see a lot of respiratory issues, these two dogs were so sick that that we suspected something else was going on, hence the PCR test that revealed the Strep Zoo diagnosis. Despite being on antibiotics for respiratory illness, they were not responding to medication and were getting worse, not better. From what we know about Strep Zoo itself, they also posed a significant risk to the other dogs in our care. These decisions are never made lightly or without exploring alternatives; it was a difficult situation but one we know was the right one for not only these two suffering dogs, but for all the animals in our care. 

Is this basically “Strep Throat” in dogs? 

Strep Zoo is not the same illness as strep throat in humans. Strep zoo in dogs is a serious respiratory illness. The symptoms include: coughing, nasal discharge, vomiting, labored breathing, and coughing blood. The onset of the illness is typically sudden.

What does this mean for public dogs coming to the Milwaukee or Ozaukee Campuses (for classes, events, etc.)?  

It is highly unlikely that a visiting dog would contract Strep Zoo from being at WHS, but there is always a risk of contracting an illness. That risk has always existed. The only thing that has changed is that this particular bacteria is new to WHS. 

Is it possible for me to take this germ home on my clothes after walking dogs sick with the Strep Zoo or any of the other upper respiratory illness?

It is possible but unlikely. This has always been a risk, which is why we recommend hand washing and changing clothes before you interact with your own animals after your volunteer shift. 

Is this disease not treatable?

It can be treated with antibiotics if caught early enough in most cases; it can also have a sudden onset and result in death very quickly. 

I was volunteering/working/adopting/attending an event at WHS recently.  Is this something I could have brought home to my dog?  Also, is this something I should monitor in myself?

While we can’t rule out transmission of any bacteria or virus, it is highly unlikely that a person would bring home Strep Zoo to their own animals, or contract it themselves. We’re only aware of one confirmed case of Strep Zoo being transmitted from a dog to a human in all of history. 

What is the incubation period? 

The incubation period typically less than a week, but it can be transmitted for up to a few weeks later.

  • Wednesday, February 14, 2018