The Detroit Zoo has begun vaccinating animals most susceptible to COVID-19 such as gorillas, chimpanzees, lions and tigers, according to a news release issued Monday.
A special COVID vaccine was developed solely for animals by Michigan-based veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis and has been authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a case-by-case basis.
"...Many of the mammals are trained to present themselves to our animal care staff for minor medical procedures, including vaccinations We’re both thankful and relieved a special vaccine is now available to protect against COVID-19,” Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society, which runs the zoo, said in a news release.
No COVID-19 infections have been discovered in animals at the Detroit Zoo, however lions, tigers, leopards and gorillas at other U.S. zoos have contracted the virus. A tiger and lion have died from COVID in Europe and India.
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"Much like we vaccinate dogs for things like parvovirus, distemper or rabies, this is needed to protect animals at the Zoo,” said Dr. Ann Duncan, director of animal health for the DZS.
Zoetis is donating more than 11,000 doses of the vaccine to zoos as well as conservatories, sanctuaries and other organizations across 27 states.