BREAKING: Streptococcus equi zooepidemicus Outbreak at Nebraska Humane Society – Emergency Measures in Place!

Omaha, Nebraska – The Nebraska Humane Society is currently operating on an emergency-only schedule for the next 3 to 5 days due to a highly contagious bacterial infection known as Streptococcus equi zooepidemicus, or “Strep zoo.” This decision was made after a dog within the shelter showed symptoms of kennel cough, ultimately escalating into critical condition, prompting staff and volunteers to take immediate action.

Dr. Amber Horn, Animal Medical Director at NHS, emphasized the seriousness of Strep zoo, highlighting how quickly it can progress from mild symptoms to sudden death in some cases. Following a necropsy that pointed towards the presence of Streptococcus equi zooepidemicus, preventive measures were put in place while awaiting official test results to contain the spread of the bacteria within the shelter.

As a bacteria commonly seen in kenneling situations, particularly in animal shelters like NHS, the decision to activate emergency status was crucial to ensure the well-being of the animals in their care. Strict protocols, such as wearing protective suits and limiting contact with animals, were implemented to prevent further transmission of the infection amongst the shelter population.

While only one dog displayed signs of a serious infection, NHS staff are diligently monitoring and treating 40-50 other dogs that may be carrying the bacteria. The shelter has also temporarily halted adoptions and summer camps to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. Additionally, individuals who recently adopted a dog are advised to be vigilant for symptoms like respiratory illness, coughing, and loss of appetite.

Dr. Horn emphasized the importance of swift action in handling cases of Strep zoo, given its potential to cause severe pneumonia in immunocompromised dogs. As the shelter works tirelessly to treat and contain the outbreak, they are urging anyone encountering stray or lost animals to contact NHS for guidance on next steps, with the option of housing the animals temporarily if needed.

While the situation is concerning, Dr. Horn reassured pet owners that taking precautionary measures, such as avoiding contact with other animals, can help mitigate the risk of spreading the infection. As the Nebraska Humane Society continues to address the Strep zoo outbreak, they remain available for emergencies and support for those in need of assistance in light of the current circumstances.