OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City Animal Welfare will remain closed until further notice while caretakers deal with an outbreak of multiple illnesses among their dog population.

The shelter announced last week it would be closed temporarily due to a rapidly spreading upper respiratory infection.

Officials estimated 150 dogs became sick in just a few days, leaving five dead, to date.

“It’s life or death, when we say this, it’s serious,” said Jon Gary, Superintendent of Oklahoma City Animal Welfare. “This is the first time we ever have closed a building, but we’ve also never seen anything that spread as rapidly as this is spreading.”

The OKC Animal Shelter said caretakers pulled samples from 10% of their ill population March 29, which was 14 samples, and eight positive samples have returned:

  • 8 dogs tested positive for streptococcus zooepidemicus (strep zoo)
  • 8 dogs tested positive for H3N2 Influenza (Canine Flu)
  • 8 dogs tested positive for Influenza A (Canine Flu)

Shelter staff says every shelter dog is being treated with a round of amoxicillin and doxycycline.

OKC Animal Welfare is also working with the shelter’s veterinary team as well as an outside national organization to form a plan to move forward.

Midwest City Animal Welfare has also been forced to close its doors as staff deals with the flu outbreak at the facility.

The Moore Animal Shelter says it will not be accepting strays brought in from the public or owner-surrendered pets until further notice due to the outbreak.