2 Wisconsin Humane Society dogs euthanized for lethal respiratory illness

In Saukville, two Wisconsin Humane Society dogs were euthanized on Wednesday after testing positive for “strep zoo.” According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the respiratory illness cannot be prevented with a vaccine, but can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed early. Symptoms include coughing, nasal discharge, vomiting, labored breathing and coughing blood.

The disease is spread through the air, bodily fluids and contaminated surfaces. For now, the Wisconsin Humane Society will not accept dogs from the public and has been transferring pets to other shelters while investigating the source.

An 11-year-old surrendered Pomeranian and a one-year-old German shepherd mix were euthanized. The dogs had been housed together at the Ozaukee facility. A few weeks ago they presented with symptoms and were isolated and treated with oral antibiotics. Neither dog responded to the treatment. Testing confirmed the dogs had “strep zoo.”

“We want to reassure the public this is not an outbreak and there’s no need for concern  for pets”, said Wisconsin Humane Society spokeswoman Angela Speed.

There is some evidence that the illness could be transmitted from dogs to humans. Past outbreaks, reported in 2006, resulted in dogs deaths from Las Vegas and Florida shelters. For anyone in dire need of surrendering a pet, contact the Racine and Green Bay campuses.

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