Other Las Vegas shelters on high alert following respiratory illness at Animal Foundation

1 dog euthanized, others sick due to contagious disease
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 11:08 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Animal Foundation announced Tuesday that one dog died from a respiratory illness that was discovered at the Animal Foundation shelter in Las Vegas. In response to the illness, the Animal Foundation is quarantining dogs that have symptoms or may have been exposed.

They’ve also notified other shelters of the illness in their shelter.

Hearts Alive Village said the Animal Foundation reached out to their rescue clinic Friday to alert them that one of their dogs transferred from the Animal Foundation was in the same bungalow as a dog who had tested positive for the respiratory illness Strep Zoo.

The dog at Hearts Alive, Rosalia, does not have any symptoms but out of an abundance of caution the facility is isolating their 30 dogs and providing them with antibiotics.

“It’s a scary moment for our city because we have a lack of access to veterinary care,” Hearts Alive Village executive director Christy Stevens said. “People are waiting days and days or weeks to get an appointment, and this is more of an emergency situation where you can’t wait if your dog gets sick. You have to take them in and get them on antibiotics.”

The shelter said on Sept. 30, test results for the dog came back positive for pathogens including Strep Zoo and Canine Pneumovirus. According to the shelter, Strep Zoo is an upper respiratory infection that is prevalent even in healthy animals, and symptoms only present themselves when an animal’s immune system is compromised.

Canine Pneumovirus is a virus that is highly contagious to dogs. The shelter said there are no preventative vaccines for the virus and dogs don’t have natural immunity to it.

“[Strep Zoo] can cause what’s called hemorrhagic pneumonia which means they can bleed from their lungs,” Stevens said.

The dog that died was a two-year-old border collie named Bullock. He found a new home last week and was described as happy and playful after being picked up from the animal foundation. However, just one day later his foster family said he began coughing and gagging and the symptoms kept getting worse.

The next day the Animal Foundation said he went into septic shock and had to be euthanized.

The respiratory illness is contagious.

“It’s very important that any animal that was fostered from the animal foundation, you do not go to any public places. No doggy daycare. No parks. Don’t even walk around,” Stevens recommended.

Just last week several Animal Foundation employees suddenly resigned and walked off their jobs, alleging poor working conditions.

The shelter said its capacity was at a critical point. In September alone it took in over 2,000 animals.

At this point it’s not clear how long the pause on fosters, adoptions and transfers will be for the dogs at the shelter.

This is not the first time the Animal Foundation has dealt with a deadly outbreak. In 2007, when it was called the Leid Animal Shelter, It had to put down 1,000 animals. The shelter said extreme overcrowding allowed multiple infections spread through the shelter. It was forced to close for a week to contain the diseases.