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Two dogs euthanized for "Strep Zoo" at Wisconsin Humane Society

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Two dogs at the Wisconsin Humane Society Ozaukee Campus have tested positive and been euthanized for Streptococcus equi subsp. Zooepidemicus is also known as "Strep Zoo”. One of the dogs was also at the Milwaukee Campus.

Strep Zoo is a potentially lethal respiratory infection, but if caught in the early stages, is usually treatable with antibiotics. Officials believe it spreads through airborne exposure, contact with bodily fluids and contaminated surfaces. A senior Pomeranian and a 1-year-old Shepard were euthanized after treatment did not work. 

"These decisions are never made lightly or without exploring other alternatives. But we knew this was the right decision to make not only for these two suffering dogs but for all of the dogs in our care," Angela Speed of Wisconsin Humane Society said. 

The illness could be transmitted to humans but it is extremely rare. This is the first time the Wisconsin Humane Society has had a dog test positive for the illness in recent history. However, in 2008 seven dogs died from the illness at HAWS in Waukesha.

The Humane Society is testing any dog with respiratory illness, but will likely not get the results until next Monday. There is no vaccine to prevent Strep Zoo. The illness is more likely in shelter environments due to the volume and proximity of dogs, but if your pet dog is experiencing symptoms you are asked to see a vet immediately. 

"Any signs of an upper respiratory illness, which would be coughing, sneezing, congestion, nasal discharge," Dr. Nancy Weiss of Wisconsin Humane Society said. 

Wisconsin Humane Society is temporarily not accepting any new dogs at their Milwaukee and Ozaukee campuses. Dogs can still be take to the Racine and Green Bay campuses. There are no special actions for cats at this time, but officials will monitor the cats closely. The Wisconsin Humane Society doesn't know what caused the illness but asks the public not to panic. 

"We want to assure the public that this is not an outbreak and there is no need to be panicked for your dogs at home," Speed said. 

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