Office of Communications

Posted on: February 21, 2018

Helping Paw: Donation Allows Animal Care & Control to Fight "Strep Zoo"


Today the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors took a moment to recognize a community partner that made a big difference during a time of crisis. The Board officially accepted a $25,000 donation from the non-profit Two Pups Wellness Fund. The money was donated to cover the cost of antibiotics to treat an outbreak of a potentially fatal transmittable disease at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control's East Shelter.

"I've always believed we are stronger when we work together: governments and businesses and non-profits. That's exactly what happened in this case," said Chairman Steve Chucri, District 2. "This donation allowed our team at Animal Care and Control to save lives."

Streptococcus Zooepidemicus, or "Strep Zoo," is an upper respiratory infection which can be fatal if left untreated.

Although only one dog tested positive for the strain, the shelter and their staff were proactive to keep all of the animals safe. More than 30 dogs that were showing signs of an upper respiratory infection were treated with antibiotics. All the animals in the shelter were vaccinated to try and prevent the disease from spreading any further. Within two weeks, not only were the dogs feeling much better but the shelter lifted its quarantine and returned to business as usual.

"This disease can have a devastating impact on shelter dogs and cats. It's capable of spreading very quickly so this was an all-hands-on-deck situation" said Animal Care and Control Director Mary Martin. "Fortunately, we have amazing community partners dedicated to the well-being of our animals. Their time, energy, and resources allowed us to respond quickly to limit the severity of the outbreak. It really could have been much worse."

Four dogs were tested during the outbreak with only one dog testing positive for the strain. The other three dogs tested positive for pneumonia. The quarantine lasted for about two weeks. All intakes ceased during the outbreak at the East shelter, with the West shelter taking in any lost/stray dogs in the area.

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) is the second-largest county animal shelter in the country and is also one of the most effective at saving the lives of dogs and cats. Despite a yearly intake above 30,000, MCACC has been at a 94-percent "live release rate" for more than a year, which means that 94-percent of the animals leave to a good outcome.

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