Pima Animal Care suspends consumption after dog dies of possible infection

TUCSON, AZ – The Pima Animal Care Center on Monday suspended all non-emergency animal intakes and began giving antibiotics to its resident pets after a center dog was found dead in his kennel on Sunday morning, according to a press release.

Shelter vets are concerned the dog may have died of a highly contagious bacterial infection called Streptococcus equi zooepidemicus, or “streptococcus,” and are taking precautions as if it did. Test results to confirm the dog’s cause of death are still not there.

The shelter is still open for adoptions, but all adopted animals will be sent home with antibiotics.

“We are exercising a high degree of caution to protect shelter and community animals, and are commencing antibiotic prophylaxis for all shelter animals,” shelter director Monica Dangler said in the statement. “If it’s not a strep zoo, we plan to resume normal operations on April 28. If it is, we’ll likely have to extend the temporary admissions halt for a few more days.”

Those who adopted or fostered a dog from the center on Saturday or Sunday are encouraged to come to the Pima Animal Care clinic during business hours to pick up antibiotics for their pet.

The shelter always advises adopters or adoptive parents who have other pets to keep their new pet separate from their other pets for at least three days.

There is no zoo step vaccine and few warning signs, according to the shelter, and zoo strep is known to cause sudden outbreaks of deadly pneumonia in shelter dogs around the world.

The shelter urges anyone who needs to return a pet to first go to their pet support page and try to rehom their pet before contacting the shelter. Alternatively, they can contact other shelters in the area.

Anyone who finds a wandering friend in the next few days is encouraged to try to find the owner by knocking on doors, posting flyers, posting online or having them scanned at a veterinary clinic for a microchip and holding the animal until its owner is found.

Anyone who finds a sick, injured, or hostile stray pet can call the Animal Humane Services Dispatch Line at 520-724-5900 and press 4.

Benjamin M. Yerger