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Six Canadian Zoos Vaccine COVID-19 for Animals

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“When animals are taking care of us, it is important to do everything we can to keep them healthy and happy.”

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A major veterinary drug company has given Canada’s six zoos 900 COVID-19 vaccines for animals.

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The vaccine developed by Zoetis, the world’s largest producer of pet and livestock medicines and vaccines, is not yet on the market.

The vaccine has been licensed for use through the Canadian Veterinary Biology Center of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and is licensed by the US Department of Agriculture, according to Zoetis spokeswoman Christina Ludo.

She expects the zoo to receive the dose by the end of the year. The vaccine is given twice at 3-week intervals. It is estimated that 450 zoo animals can be vaccinated.

Dr. Chris Enlight, a veterinarian at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, said:

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“Vaccination has an important role to play in this effort, including new animal-specific COVID-19 vaccination.”

Zoo animals susceptible to COVID-19 include large cats such as lions and tigers. Apes such as gorillas and chimpanzees, and mustelidae such as otters and ferrets. According to recent reports, the virus has spread to populations of white-tailed deer in four states in the United States.

Earlier this month, three snow leopards died of COVID complications at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska. Two hyenas at Denver Zoo were also positive, along with 11 lions and 2 tigers. Denver’s hyena was the first confirmed case of hyena in the world.

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Zoetis hasn’t released the name of the Canadian zoo to be vaccinated, but Enright has confirmed that Assiniboine Park Zoo is one of six. As far as he knows, there have been no COVID-19 infections in Canadian certified zoos so far.

Other zoos, on the other hand, are lining up to vaccinate susceptible animals as soon as possible.

“It’s like when we started vaccination for humans. We were all waiting to be vaccinated,” said Nathalie Santerre, director of Parc Safari in Hemmingford, Hemmingford, Que. increase. “I’m sure it will come soon.”

There are many felines in Santerre that want to be vaccinated, such as lions, tigers and lynxes. After learning about the infection in Denver, she added the zoo spotted hyena to the list.

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Zoetis began developing the vaccine in February 2020, when it was reported that the first dog was infected in Hong Kong, Lood said. Initial development work and research on dogs and cats has been completed. The results were shared last year at the World One Health Conference, which examines how human and animal health are intertwined.

At this point, companion animals such as dogs and cats infected with COVID-19 are considered to have a low risk of serious illness or death. Regulators such as the Canadian Veterinary Biology Center and the US Department of Agriculture have determined whether certain animals need vaccines, Lood said.

The World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there are few signs that companion animals play an important role in human transmission. If that changes, Zoetis is ready to quickly develop a COVID vaccine for livestock.

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Last January, Zoetis donated an emergency vaccine to members of the San Diego Zoo’s great apes. This has increased interest from other zoos.

Veterinarians are tracking the progress of vaccination, Enlight said.

“All veterinarians work closely with their clients to determine what is best for the health of their animals. In my particular situation, I use vaccines for the health care of certain species and individuals. I’m happy with that. “

Vaccines are specially prescribed for animals, Lood said.

“Viruses (or antigens) are the same as human vaccines, but animal vaccines depend on the carrier (or adjuvant) used,” she says. “We do not use live or inactivated viruses, nor do we use mRNA.”

Zoetis is still in demand for vaccines and has recently promised to donate an additional 15,000 doses to about 100 zoos and 20 greenhouses, reserves and other animal organizations in the United States and 14 other countries. Lood said. These include 900 doses assigned to 6 zoos in Canada.

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