Humans aren’t the only ones getting sick this time of year. An entire animal shelter in Citrus County is closed because of a virus.
The parking lot is empty and the gates are locked at Citrus County Animal Services; all because of a strep like virus that’s extremely contagious
Morgan Woodward, Director of Citrus County Animal Services said, "A shelter is like a daycare facility, you never know what’s going to walk in the door and you always have that potential of getting sick.
And that’s what happened last week when staff noticed a very sick dog.
Woodward said, "We came across a dog that was acting very lethargic. It raised some concerns with staff so they brought it up to the clinic."
Turns out the dog was sick with a rare virus called "Strep Zoo."
Woodward said, "It’s typically found in horses but is contagious to dogs cats and even humans."
University of Florida Shelter Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Cynda Crawford said, “This is an uncommon disease and the shelter is doing everything right by acting responsibly and following our guidelines.”
Symptoms of Strep Zoo include: fever, sneezing, rapid breathing, bloody discharge from the nose or mouth, tiredness and reluctance to eat.
Animal disease specialists say the sickness is very uncommon and most exposed animals are carries that show no symptoms. But three shelter dogs who were deathly ill were euthanized.
All shelter animals are being treated with antibiotics and staff are working to set up a temporary shelter while the disinfecting process may take up to two weeks.
"Anybody that has come to the shelter within the past two weeks, call you’re local veterinarian and let them know you could’ve possibly been exposed," Woodward said.