After reports of animals being infected with the deadly coronavirus, many zoos and wildlife parks have started vaccinating their animals as a precaution. Potter Park Zoo in Michigan became one of the first zoos to take such an initiative after several zoo animals across the country tested positive.
The vaccines were donated by a New Jersey animal health company called Zoetis Inc. This company makes one of the few Covid vaccines approved for animals.
The company began work on its vaccine in February 2020, after a dog tested positive for Covid in Hong Kong. It was concluded that the 20 animals that received the experimental vaccine developed a strong antibody response against SARS-CoV-2. However, the ten who received the placebo did not. Also, no safety concerns have been reported by the company.
Pat Fountain, Animal Care Supervisor at Potter Park Zoo, said in a report, “They found that this was happening in a lot of big cats and things like that. As different numbers of animals grew, it became clear that it was a lot a bigger deal for the animals. “.
Read also | In the first test, three white-tailed deer tested positive for Covid in Canada
Al-Nofoura added that vaccinating animals is more difficult than vaccinating humans. He highlighted that reducing animal stress is the biggest priority. “I train the animals daily to get used to the idea of pricking or injecting or drawing their blood, or anything like that. It’s more about stressing the animal than anything else. So we don’t want to overstress them because they can get sick or injured.”
In another such incident, nearly 260 animals, including many different species, received a Covid vaccine trial at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.
Meanwhile, various animals have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus. This includes the three white-tailed deer in Canada. Also, the alpha variant of Covid was detected in pets when two cats and two dogs tested positive on a PCR test.
(with input from agencies)