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Citrus County Animal Services resumes normal shelter operations

By Florida's Original NatureCoaster™ Posted on February 6, 2018

Citrus County Animal Services is resuming normal shelter operations at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, February 6, 2018. The last round of laboratory tests results showed no new animals have been infected with the bacterium, which resulted in the temporary closure of the shelter. After working with, and following recommendations from, veterinarians with the University of Florida’s Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, we all feel it is safe to resume normal operations and begin transitioning animals out of the shelter into their new forever homes.

The Citrus County Animal Shelter was recently closed in response to an infection from a bacterium known as Streptococcus Equi Zooepidemicus (also known as Strep Zoo).  This bacterium is normally found in horses, but many animals can be carriers and show no signs of illness.

PIX1861 / Pixabay

At the shelter, three dogs suddenly became extremely ill. Staff immediately isolated these dogs, and then proceeded to lock down the kennels. Laboratory samples were collected and sent for testing to determine what infectious agent we were dealing with.  Even before the results were back, we were in contact with UF Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program and began consultation with Dr. Cynda Crawford, a lead researcher in infectious disease, along with Dr. Sarah Kirk.  Any animals brought in by Animal Control were isolated in a separate building, away from the main population.

Our veterinarians and managing staff have been working everyday with Drs. Crawford and Kirk since the beginning in order to help contain the disease and ensure that the population of our shelter (dogs, cats, assorted critters, and its humans) was as safe as it could be. Many precautions were taken, which included calling anyone who had fostered or adopted an animal from us within the previous three weeks to keep them informed and to check on their well-being.

skeeze / Pixabay

The good news, while Strep Zoo is highly contagious, it is easily treated with the right antibiotics.  All animals in our shelter were given an injection of Convenia, an antibiotic injection that lasts for two weeks.  Any cats or dogs that had even minor symptoms like sneezing or coughing were also started on additional oral antibiotics. Extensive testing has been done over the last few weeks following closure, and all testing has since been negative for Strep Zoo. Our dogs and cats have all been doing well, and are ready to find their forever homes!

A special Thanks to the UF Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, Florida SARC, Dept. of Agriculture, ESF-17, Animal Control, Volunteers and Staff for all of their hard work and dedication to caring for animals in need. A big “THANK YOU” also goes out to all those individuals who have supported and/or donated to the shelter. With your support, we were able to save more animals’ lives.