New York City animal shelters scramble after strep outbreak

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Postby nicole » January 7th, 2009, 10:49 am

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/01/07/2009-01-07_new_york_city_animal_shelters_scramble_a.html?ref=nl&nltr_ct=1&nltr_id=Shelters%20scramble%20after%20strep%20kills%20dogs

New York City animal shelters scramble after strep outbreak kills dogs
BY LISA L. COLANGELO
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Wednesday, January 7th 2009, 4:00 AM

A dog awaiting adoption rest in her cage within the Brooklyn Animal Care and Control Center.

A rare and potentially deadly illness has wreaked havoc on the city animal shelter system, killing several dogs and leading officials to shut down a Brooklyn facility for almost a week.

At least four dogs - and possibly a dozen more - were killed by an outbreak of Streptoccocus equi subsp. zooepidemicus, also known as Strep Zoo, at Animal Care & Control's Brooklyn shelter.

Worried animal rescuers said the toll might be even greater, fearing additional dogs could have been infected or felled by the dangerous bug before it was discovered.

AC&C officials said the danger to other dogs has passed and reopened the Brooklyn shelter late Monday. The shelter was closed last week to people who wanted to drop off and adopt dogs, but had continued to take in stray and unwanted cats.

Everyone, including police officers and rescuers with stray animals, were redirected to AC&C's Manhattan shelter, which is undergoing renovations.

"We didn't want this to spread. We started isolation with the sick animals," said AC&C spokesman Richard Gentles. "There is no instance of Strep Zoo in any of the other shelters."

Gentles declined to call the incident an "outbreak" and said all the animals were put on penicillin as a precaution.

Animal rescuer Kerry Clare said most of the six dogs her group took in from AC&C last month have fallen ill.

Clare, who helps run the Middletown, N.Y.-based Pets Alive shelter and sanctuary, said shortly after taking 2-year-old mutt Mindy from the Brooklyn shelter, the pooch started bleeding from the nose. Three other rescued dogs then began to vomit blood.

"We put all of our 80 dogs on penicillin twice a day and had to shut our own doors for nine days to avoid infecting the community," said Clare. "This is heartbreaking and a financial disaster for a shelter like us."

AC&C, a nonprofit that operates under a contract with the Health Department, has long struggled with underfunding, overcrowding and staff turnover.

Shelter officials were recently told by the Health Department they would have to cut almost $500,000 from their $8.6 million budget.
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Postby Marinepits » January 7th, 2009, 7:34 pm

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/0 ... _dogs.html

Strep Zoo outbreak kills dogs at N.Y.C. shelter

by The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk
Wednesday January 07, 2009, 5:27 AM

A rare and potentially deadly illness has wreaked havoc on the city animal shelter system, killing several dogs and leading officials to shut down a Brooklyn facility for almost a week, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

The report said at least four dogs and possibly a dozen more were killed by an outbreak of Streptoccocus equi subsp. zooepidemicus, also known as Strep Zoo, at Animal Care & Control's Brooklyn shelter.



http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/200 ... ble_a.html

A rare and potentially deadly illness has wreaked havoc on the city animal shelter system, killing several dogs and leading officials to shut down a Brooklyn facility for almost a week.

At least four dogs - and possibly a dozen more - were killed by an outbreak of Streptoccocus equi subsp. zooepidemicus, also known as Strep Zoo, at Animal Care & Control's Brooklyn shelter.

Worried animal rescuers said the toll might be even greater, fearing additional dogs could have been infected or felled by the dangerous bug before it was discovered.

AC&C officials said the danger to other dogs has passed and reopened the Brooklyn shelter late Monday. The shelter was closed last week to people who wanted to drop off and adopt dogs, but had continued to take in stray and unwanted cats.

Everyone, including police officers and rescuers with stray animals, were redirected to AC&C's Manhattan shelter, which is undergoing renovations.

"We didn't want this to spread. We started isolation with the sick animals," said AC&C spokesman Richard Gentles. "There is no instance of Strep Zoo in any of the other shelters."

Gentles declined to call the incident an "outbreak" and said all the animals were put on penicillin as a precaution.

Animal rescuer Kerry Clare said most of the six dogs her group took in from AC&C last month have fallen ill.

Clare, who helps run the Middletown, N.Y.-based Pets Alive shelter and sanctuary, said shortly after taking 2-year-old mutt Mindy from the Brooklyn shelter, the pooch started bleeding from the nose. Three other rescued dogs then began to vomit blood.

"We put all of our 80 dogs on penicillin twice a day and had to shut our own doors for nine days to avoid infecting the community," said Clare. "This is heartbreaking and a financial disaster for a shelter like us."

AC&C, a nonprofit that operates under a contract with the Health Department, has long struggled with underfunding, overcrowding and staff turnover.

Shelter officials were recently told by the Health Department they would have to cut almost $500,000 from their $8.6 million budget.

lcolangelo@nydailynews.com



More information here about another outbreak over the summer:

http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm/Ve ... ail/520473

Deadly bacterium strikes shelter dogs

S. zooepidemicus emerges as a causative agent of canine infectious respiratory disease

Jun 1, 2008
By: Jennifer Fiala
DVM NEWSMAGAZINE

Davis, Calif. — A bacterium common among horses kills infected shelter dogs at an alarming rate, researchers say, prompting an alert to clinical practitioners who encounter densely housed animals.

The latest confirmed outbreak of Streptoccocus equi subsp. zooepidemicus, commonly called strep zoo, struck in February at an animal shelter near Milwaukee, where seven dogs died in 10 days of acute clinical respiratory disease. Earlier that month, a dozen dogs died in a Miami shelter where the bacterium was identified.

But those outbreaks pale in comparison to a 2007 occurrence, when an estimated 1,000-plus shelter dogs succumbed to severe hemorrhagic pneumonia in Las Vegas.

Strep zoo outbreaks are rare — just three have been documented in the United States — but the onset of infection is dramatic and fast, says Kate F. Hurley, DVM, MPVM, director of the University of California-Davis' (UC-Davis) Koret Shelter Medicine Program.

While incidence has been limited to dogs in intensive housing systems, there's no reason private practitioners might not see cases, she says.

"Those dogs in Las Vegas dropped dead in a pool of blood, sometimes within 24 hours of the first clinical signs," Hurley says. "In general, we're recognizing that canine respiratory disease complex is just that — it's complex, with newly emerging causative agents. We don't know why this couldn't be seen like canine influenza, with patients being adopted and taken to private veterinary practices."

Diagnosing strep zoo

Clinical signs of infection include a short period of a moist cough, fever, anorexia and depression. Terminal cases involve hemorrhaging of the lungs associated with acute respiratory disease. The onset is rapid; some dogs are found dead before any clinical signs appear.

Unless practitioners specifically test for strep zoo, a diagnosis likely will be missed, researchers say. Yet the bacterium is sensitive to a wide range of antibiotics, including penicillin.

"When you're talking about diagnosing 100 dogs, you want to go with something easy," Hurley says. "We advise practitioners to treat early, even prophylactically. Once these clinical signs show, it's too late for treatment to work in many cases."

'Opportunistic bug'

Strep zoo transfers dog to dog; an animal can appear normal until something, possibly stress, triggers the bacterium to act as a primary pathogen, says Patricia Pesavento, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of Clinical Anatomic Pathology in UC-Davis' veterinary medical program. It's a big, complicated bacterium that occurs naturally in the environment and even is found on the oral swabs of cats. In shelters with outbreaks, cage bars, floors, drains and other surfaces often are contaminated.

"We think there must be something in the environment of intensive-housing systems that allows it to do more than normal," Pesavento says. "We've collected a number of strains, but we have more work to do. We don't know the incidence of disease after exposure or the recovery rates. Are there co-pathogens or underlying viruses? The confounding disease state is still unknown."

Beating the disease

Hurley and her colleagues' investigation of strep zoo is reported in the January issue of Veterinary Pathology. While the three-page paper cites Bordetella bronchiseptica as the most common trigger for canine infectious respiratory disease, other bacterial agents like strep zoo now are being implicated because of enhanced detection, vaccination and/or natural evolution, the study says.

Husbandry changes, such as dramatic depopulation, facility cleaning and staff education, work to slow or limit outbreaks.

"It's very common in a shelter that there's more than one thing going on with canine respiratory disease," Hurley explains. "Practitioners need to move beyond the assumption that kennel cough is Bordetella and think more three-dimensionally."

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Postby iluvk9 » January 7th, 2009, 9:06 pm

Horrible. :(

I remember when it hit the Vegas shelters and they lost all those dogs.
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Postby nicole » January 7th, 2009, 9:17 pm

I posted the second article earlier today in the news forum...

Such a nightmare, I really hope that the Brooklyn shelter can rebound from this. I've done a lot of work with them and there are some good people who really work hard for the animals there. NYC NEEDS this shelter. I pulled my foster Sophia from here, she had a UTI...most dogs in that environment end up with one...so I can't imagine how devastating a strep outbreak would be there.
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Postby Marinepits » January 7th, 2009, 9:22 pm

nicole wrote:I posted the second article earlier today in the news forum...


Fixed! Sorry, Nicole -- didn't see your post. :wink:
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