Los Angeles County Steps In to Address ‘Strep Zoo’ Outbreak in Downey

Los Angeles County Steps In to Address ‘Strep Zoo’ Outbreak in Downey

A veterinarian volunteer cares for a rescued dog, in a file photo. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

4/12/2024

Updated: 4/12/2024

LOS ANGELES—In an effort to address a bacterial outbreak at the Downey Animal Care Center, Los Angeles County officials are taking action April 12 to safeguard animals and prevent further health issues.
The county’s Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) reported Thursday an outbreak of what is known as Streptococcus Zooepidemicus, or Strep Zoo, which can pose a significant risk to dogs when multiple dogs are housed in stressful environments, such as facilities like animal shelters. The bacteria can lead to severe pneumonia in immunocompromised dogs, who can become ill very quickly with few warning signs.
While there is not available vaccine against Strep Zoo, the DACC is taking measures to control the spread of the bacteria and ensure the safety of animals.
The department began four key measures to combat the issue, including intake diversion, testing and cleaning, treatment protocols and educating pet owners about the bacteria.
DACC did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon. A timeline of when cleaning efforts or the cost of these mitigation efforts were not immediately available.
To prevent further spread of Strep Zoo, all new stray and owner surrender dogs will be directed to the county’s Baldwin Park Animal Care Center and the Carson/Gardena Animal Care Center.
DACC is being assisted by its partner, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, to swab test affected kennel areas this week. Deep cleaning efforts have begun, with special attention giving to areas housing positive or symptomatic dogs.
Dogs that have been infected with Strep Zoo are under daily observation by veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians. Symptomatic dogs are receiving antibiotics and any necessary supportive care.
All adopters, return to owner individuals and rescue organizations will be counseled on potential exposure to Strep Zoo. The Downey Animal Care Center will continue to facilitate adoptions, and interactions with a potential new pet dog will be limited to only one time with one dog per visit to avoid spread of the disease.
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