MARIETTA, Ga. — Cobb County Animal Shelter officials said on Wednesday afternoon that test results indicated that two dogs had contracted "Strep Zoo."
The ailment, streptococcus zooepidemicus, is a bacterial infection affecting the respiratory system and can spread quickly among animals in close contact with each other, officials said.
After receiving results from the University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine, Cobb County Animal Services officials said they ordered the necessary antibiotics to treat the dogs and cats in the shelter and said they plan to begin treatment as soon as it arrives.
Officials said the infection is believed to be responsible for the death of at least one dog over the past week, and several other dogs and cats are being treated for symptoms.
According to officials, veterinarians believe the infection came into the shelter with an animal dropped off there, but they may never be able to determine which animal was responsible.
“Our Animal Services personnel dealt with a strep zoo outbreak a year ago,” said Public Safety Director Randy Crider. “They quickly contained the outbreak then, and their experience will help them keep the infection from spreading this time and save the lives of the dogs and cats we are caring for.”
Medical staff will continue to monitor the animals at the shelter, officials said. Any animals that show symptoms of the illness will be quarantined.
The shelter will not be able to reopen until after the animals are treated and no symptoms appear among the current population for two weeks, officials said.
Meanwhile, they said, the shelter will undergo a cleaning.
They said the shelter had already been in an "appointment-only" status since the beginning of the pandemic.
Anyone who recently adopted from the shelter will be notified of the illness and advised to seek treatment for their pet if necessary, officials said.