The Lexington Humane Society’s main campus will be closed for at least 14 days as they work to contain a contagious bacteria infection that has led to the deaths of two dogs.
On Friday, shelter veterinarians confirmed a case of Streptococcus zooepidemicus in a dog, humane society spokeswoman Ashley Hammond said. The dog died as result of the illness. A second dog had to be euthanized after it was found to have the bacterial infection.
After working with national experts on how to best contain the illness, humane society officials decided to close the shelter on Monday. While the quarantine for dogs will last at least 14 days, an adoption center at the PetSmart in Hamburg is scheduled to re-open for cat adoptions on Dec. 7.
The shelter had been seeing an increased number of upper respiratory infections in adult dogs when the dog with Strep zoo was discovered, according to the humane society.
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During the temporary closure, the shelter will be working with the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Lab to identify the cause of the upper respiratory infections and test animals for Strep zoo bacteria, according to the humane society.
Shelter officials are also contacting everyone who has adopted dogs from the humane society in the last seven days, Hammond said. The recent adopters will be given a preventative antibiotic for free.
“We want to assure our community we will be working overtime to identify, treat, care for, and cure ALL of our animals that may have been exposed to this illness,” the shelter posted on Facebook on Monday.
The diagnostic tests, treatment and preventative measures underway at the shelter will be costly, according to the shelter. To donate, go to lexingtonhumanesociety.org.
“This will be very expensive, but we’re sparing no cost to make sure our animals are taken care of and that they receive the antibiotic,” Hammond said.
During the quarantine, any strays taken in by Lexington Fayette Animal Care and Control will be housed in a temporary shelter being set up in Masterson Station, Hammond said.
Healthy dogs in the community that are up-to-date on their vaccinations are not at risk for this illness, Hammond said.