By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Over the next few months, the Maryland Zoo will vaccinate specific species of animals that may be susceptible to COVID-19.

The animal health company Zoetis developed a vaccine specifically for animals and is donating more than 11,000 doses to immunize 100 mammalian species living at 70 zoos across the country, the zoo said on Tuesday.

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Dr. Ellen Bronson, senior director of animal health, conservation, and research at the Maryland Zoo, said there have been no cases of COVID-19 in the animals at the zoo, “but the vaccine will add another layer of protection for the animals in our care.”

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North American river otters, chimpanzees and cat species–including cheetahs, bobcats and lions–are most likely to contract the virus, Bronson added.

“Many of these animals are trained to participate in their own health care, meaning they willingly work with the animal care team and veterinary technicians to receive injections, and in some cases to even allow blood to be drawn and have ultrasound examinations performed while awake,” Bronson said. “The training avoids the need in some situations to anesthetize the animal for minor medical procedures.”

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After receiving their shots, the animals will be monitored for any side effects.

CBS Baltimore Staff