Franklin Park and Stone Zoos vaccinate animals against COVID-19

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Staff at two Boston-area zoos have started administering COVID-19 vaccines to animals in their facilities that are at risk of contracting the coronavirus. Officials from the New England Zoo, which manages the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and the Stone Zoo and Stoneham, say There have been no cases of COVID-19 among animal populations in zoos, but added that vaccination is an important preventive health measure to protect species susceptible to contracting the virus. The species most at risk at the New England Zoo include primates; large casts such as lions, tigers and snow leopards; and mustelids, which are a family of carnivorous mammals including the ferrets and river otters of North America. Chris Bonar, senior veterinarian in the Animal Health Department at the New England Zoo. animals in children’s zoos. “They have the potential to catch the virus and because they have human contact we wanted to be a little bit more careful and vaccinate them as well,” Bonar said. Bonar says staff at the New England Zoo have spent months preparing more than 80 animals in the two zoos to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. “The vast majority of our animals have been very willing to present shoulders and hips for hand injection, making it easier for them and for us,” he said. vaccine used by Zoo New England was developed for animals by Zoetis, a global animal health company that has donated over 11,000 doses to help protect the health and well-being of over 100 species of mammals living in nearly 70 zoos, as well as other animal care facilities.Similar to the vaccine developed for humans, the Zoetis vaccine is given in two doses approximately four weeks apart.Zoo New England has received approval to administer the Zoetis vaccine, which has been cleared on a case-by-case basis by the US Department of Agriculture and relevant state veterinarians. Since the onset of the pandemic, Zoo New England’s animal health team has been aware of the latest scientific literature on the sensitivity of animals. These team members are also in close contact with veterinary colleagues from other institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The animal health team has also implemented procedural changes to ensure the health and safety of animals cared for by zoos. Preventive measures already in place include wearing appropriate protective gear, masking and social distancing around sensitive species.

Staff at two Boston-area zoos have started administering COVID-19 vaccines to animals in their facilities that are at risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Officials from Zoo New England, which operates Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and Stone Zoo and Stoneham, say there have been no cases of COVID-19 among animal populations in zoos, but added that the vaccination is an important preventive health measure to protect species that are susceptible to contracting the virus.

The species most at risk at the New England Zoo include primates; large casts such as lions, tigers and snow leopards; and mustelids, which are a family of carnivorous mammals that include the ferrets and river otters of North America.

“We think it is very important to have our susceptible species vaccinated, especially since there are new variants that can be more virulent for our animals,” said Dr Chris Bonar, senior veterinarian in the Department of Animal Health at the New England Zoo.

High-risk species will be vaccinated first, and officials estimate that it will take three to four months to fully vaccinate all at-risk species in both zoos, including some animals in petting zoos.

“They have the potential to catch the virus and because they have human contact we wanted to be a little bit more careful and vaccinate them as well,” Bonar said.

Bonar says staff at the New England Zoo have spent months preparing more than 80 animals in the two zoos to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The vast majority of our animals have been very willing to present shoulders and hips for injection by hand, which makes it a lot easier for them and us,” he said.

New England Zoo

Anala, a female tiger from Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, is participating in a training session that will prepare her to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine used by Zoo New England was developed for animals by Zoetis, a global animal health company that has donated more than 11,000 doses to help protect the health and well-being of more than 100 species of mammals. living in nearly 70 zoos, as well as other animal care facilities.

Similar to the vaccine developed for humans, the Zoetis vaccine is given in two doses approximately four weeks apart.

Zoo New England has received approval to administer the Zoetis vaccine, which has been approved on a case-by-case basis by the United States Department of Agriculture and relevant state veterinarians.

Since the start of the pandemic, the animal health team at Zoo New England has kept abreast of the latest scientific literature on animal susceptibility. These team members are also in close contact with veterinary colleagues from other institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The animal health team has also implemented procedural changes to ensure the health and safety of animals cared for by zoos. Preventive measures already in place include wearing appropriate protective gear, masking and social distancing around sensitive species.


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