Manitoba zoo animals receive COVID vaccine

Assiniboine Park Zoo will be administering Zoetis’ vaccine to 55 animals

Camels, snow leopards, skunks, and meerkats are among the species set to receive COVID vaccinations at Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg. Photo by Assiniboine Park Zoo
Photo by Assiniboine Park Zoo

Camels, snow leopards, skunks, and meerkats are among the species set to receive COVID vaccinations at Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg.

To protect animals at highest risk of becoming ill from the virus, the facility has begun the process of administering Zoetis’ COVID vaccine, which is uniquely formulated for animal species.

While there has not been a COVID diagnosis among the animals at Assiniboine, several cases have been reported at other zoos. Additionally, some cases have been fatal.

Species considered most vulnerable to illness from the virus include primates, felids, and animals that have close interaction with human caregivers.

“Vaccination is a very common, safe, and effective way of protecting animals in human care from a variety of illnesses,” says the zoo’s director of veterinary services and animal welfare, Chris Enright, DVM. “In addition to other biosecurity protocols we have in place here at the zoo, vaccination against COVID-19 adds another layer of protection for the most vulnerable species in our care.”

The facility plans to vaccinate 55 animals, including:

  • amur tigers, snow leopards, and other felids;
  • white-handed gibbons, squirrel monkeys, and other primates;
  • camels, goats, and llamas; and
  • skunks and meerkats.

The vaccine will be administered in two doses, approximately three weeks apart.

Assiniboine Park Zoo is featured on the CBC television program Arctic Vets.

Look for Veterinary Practice News Canada’s interview with Dr. Enright in an upcoming issue of the magazine!

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