Vaccinating Other Organisms

Out of curiosity, has anyone on iNaturalist had any experience with vaccinating other organisms? I remember from my Virology class that one method of vaccinating wolves for Rabies was dropping bait filled with the vaccine. Does anyone else have any more knowledge on this area in general? Thank you for any helpful comments in advance.

I work in vet med. Every vaccine is going to have a recommended route for best response. Each individual will also have a variable immune response, which is partially why pet animals should be examined prior to vaccinating, but also why, expenses aside, titers should be checked prior to re-vaccinating. As it is without titers, vaccine schedules are based on best case scenerios (ie, even poor responders should be covered up to x amount of time). With that said, I myself have been vaccinated for rabies over 20 years ago, and still have a high titer. Regarding the bait-dropping method, I imagine it is a compromise between creating the ideal vaccine response and the ability to vaccine a high number of animals. However, if you search “wolf rabies vaccine bait” on Google Scholar, you come up with a good number of studies on the topic. This study shows a good immune response in 86% of wolves that ingested the bait.
Sillero-Zubiri, Claudio, et al. “Feasibility and efficacy of oral rabies vaccine SAG2 in endangered Ethiopian wolves.” Vaccine 34.40 (2016): 4792-4798.

I am not a vaccine expert, but did that answer your question?

Ian

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I worked on a rabies baiting project once. We had a ton of what looked like ketchup packets with vaccine solution inside them. They were covered in fishmeal, and we drove around and chucked them out the windows at regular intervals. My car stank for weeks, so I’m not interested in doing that again!

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We just give the black footed ferrets shots for rabies, distemper, and plague.

I have heard of distributing fat balls with distemper vaccine for mesocarnivores, but I was told it has a pretty low efficacy and that’s why we don’t do it at the refuge I work at.

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The 2002 IUCN Guidelines for Nonhuman Primate Re-introductions has a portion on vaccinating primates prior to releases and there are research papers that look more closely at specific non-human primate vaccines. Pretty much every primate rescue center I know of vaccinates their animals.

An example is the 2014 paper Protection of non-human primates against rabies with an adenovirus recombinant vaccine and there have been a lot of papers coming out this year about the effectiveness of vaccines against Covid in non-human primates, such as the 2020 paper Single-shot Ad26 vaccine protects against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques. Obviously, a large portion of this in the Covid case has to do with coming up with human effective vaccines, but not all, not by a long shot. The IPS (International Primate Society), and those of us working in primate conservation have been concerned about non-human primates, especially those in captivity, rescue centers, or in tourist areas contracting Covid, so part of this current research is aimed specifically at providing protection for the non-human primates.

I haven’t taken part in it, but I’ve read about distributing rabies vaccines to raccoons using the same bait drop method you mention.

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For non-mammalian stuff, DOC in Aotearoa NZ does heaps with birds, especially kākāpō each have their round of jabs and in the past tokoeka as well when avian flu was a greater perceived threat. Mostly direct handling methods and through jabs far as I’m aware, though, since they’re all such directly managed birds anyway

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I used to volunteer at a wildlife rehab where prior to release we would vaccinate coyotes for distemper and rabies (if I remember correctly) via injection. I think it was also done for bobcats and mountain lions but those weren’t common and I never saw it done first hand.

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There’s quite a bit of experience with rabies baits for various animals. I’m most familiar with bait for foxes but only because a friend ran a program. There is a body of research that says that it can be effective. Here are two papers dealing with fox programs:

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/13/1/06-0622_article

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09670870601185222

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I was just thinking about big animals, i.e. related to domesticated livestock. How would you vaccinate a herd of wildebeest against rinderpest?

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