MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Animals at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan got an extra layer of protection on Friday when they received vaccine shots for COVID-19.
According to Kansas State University, a group of veterinarians and staff from the Sunset Zoo worked together to help the animals get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. The vaccine being used on the animals is slightly different than the Moderna and Pfizer shots for humans.
“The vaccine we are using is produced by Zoetis,” said Sara Gardhouse, Assistant Professor of Exotic Pet, Wildlife and Zoological Medicine at K-State. “Zoetis has donated over 15,000 doses of this USDA-authorized experimental vaccine to ensure protection of the animals in our zoos, conservation centers, academic centers and government organizations.”
All animals at the Sunset Zoo that require protection have now received their first doses of the vaccine. Over 150 animals call the zoo home.
“We are in the process of administering all of their boosters now,” Gardhouse said. “The Sunset Zoo has focused on vaccinating animals known to be susceptible to the virus and in which species-positive cases have been reported. This includes a large number of the mammals and primates that the zoo has.”
According to Gardhouse, there have been outbreaks among primates, mustelids (members of the weasel family) and many felidae, or cat, species in other zoos and facilities.
“The administration of vaccines to zoo animals is slightly different than administration of vaccines to humans,” Gardhouse said. “For many of the animals at the Sunset Zoo, the keepers have worked hard to have them trained to receive injections.”
The Sunset Zoo has yet to see any side effects in the animals that have been given the COVID-19 vaccine.