Dog adoptions at Winnebago County Animal Shelter have been suspended indefinitely as a potentially severe infection was found in several dogs in the shelter.

Dangerous Bacterial Infection at Winnebago County Animal Shelter

Zoonar/Erik Lam
Zoonar/Erik Lam
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'Strep Zoo' (Streptococcus Zooepidemicus) has been found in several dogs at Winnebago County Animal Services (WCAS) in Rockford.

The upper respiratory infection is HIGHLY contagious and potentially fatal and can quickly spread in a shelter environment.

Two dogs housed at WCAS were recently diagnosed with bad cases of pnuemonia and one of those dogs tested positive for Strep Zoo. It's that test that led to dog adoptions being suspended temporarily, according to

If you recently adopted a dog from WCAS, you should be ok if your dog is not showing symptoms.


Common Strep Zoo Symptoms in Dogs

  • Fever: Dogs with Strep Zoo may develop a high temperature.
  • Respiratory Issues: Coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge can occur.
  • Lethargy: Infected dogs may appear tired or lack energy.
  • Loss of Appetite: A decreased interest in food is a common symptom.
  • Difficulty Swallowing: Some dogs may experience difficulty swallowing.
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes: Swollen lymph nodes may be noticeable.
  • Joint Pain: Strep Zoo can sometimes cause joint pain in affected dogs.

Can Humans Get Strep Zoo from Dogs?

While it is rare, humans can get strep zoo according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Human infection is also linked to contact with other infected animals including: dogs, monkeys, domestic ruminants, pigs, and with ingestion of unpasteurized dairy products.

Contact WCAS at (815) 319- 4100 if you need more information. Seek a vet's care immediately if you suspect your dog may have strep zoo.

WCAS shared a lot of useful information regarding Strep Zoo in the Facebook post below.

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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