American Veterinary Medical Association
Children around the world received some good news today, with officials from the North Pole confirming that Santa’s reindeer have been approved for their Christmas Eve flight, following a health checkup from Santa’s veterinarian.
Dr. José Arce, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), visited the North Pole earlier this month to ensure that Santa’s team of nine were up to date on their vaccinations and paperwork, free of illness and injury, and healthy enough to make their annual trek around the globe.
“After a full examination and review of their medical records, I’m pleased to say that Santa’s reindeer are healthy, in great shape and ready to fly on Christmas Eve,” Dr. Arce said.
The reindeer’s annual exam includes a health check about a month prior to their Christmas Eve flight to make sure they’re healthy and not showing any signs of disease—such as brucellosis, tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease—that can affect their ability to fly or make other animals sick.
“It’s important that we make sure the reindeer aren’t harboring any diseases that they could then potentially spread to animals in other parts of the world,” said Dr. Arce. “At the same time, making sure they’re healthy also means that they’re less likely to catch any diseases themselves on that long flight around the globe.”
In addition to presents for children around the world, Santa is required to bring with him an official “North Pole Certificate of Animal Export” that allows him to freely cross borders and ensure health officials that his reindeer pose no threat to animal or public health.
Dr. Arce will make a follow-up trip to the North Pole on Christmas Eve to provide a final pre-flight checkup and to inspect the reindeer upon their return on Christmas morning.
Dr. Arce’s work is consistent with the role veterinarians play every day to ensure the health of animals, people and the environment across the globe. Far from just being “dog and cat doctors,” veterinarians work with all kinds of species, in all types of environments, to make the world a healthier place for all forms of life.
While unavailable for comment due to his busy work schedule, Santa issued a statement, saying, “Without my reindeer there simply would be no Christmas. Proper veterinary care ensures that, year in and year out, my team and I can safely deliver presents to boys and girls around the world. Dr. Arce has definitely earned his place on my ‘nice list’ this year.”
“Ho ho ho,” Santa added.
While only one veterinarian can be the official veterinarian of the North Pole, every veterinarian can help the cause by volunteering to be part of Santa’s emergency veterinary staff on Christmas Eve. AVMA members can download a badge to let their clients and communities know they are part of Santa’s Emergency Landing and Veterinary Expert System (E.L.V.E.S.) support team.
As part of the E.L.V.E.S. team, veterinarians are ready to assist with any emergencies that might arise during the reindeer team’s all-night Christmas Eve flight, or just provide a safe place for the reindeer to rest and refuel before continuing to deliver presents.
Veterinarians are invited to help spread holiday cheer by displaying their official E.L.V.E.S. badge on their clinics’ social media channels and educating clients on the various ways that veterinarians help keep all animals healthy—even reindeer.
AVMA members can visit the AVMA website to download the official E.L.V.E.S. badge.
For more information on Dr. Arce’s role as North Pole Veterinarian, including answers to kids’ questions about reindeer, visit avma.org/Santa.
For more information about the role veterinarians play in global health, or to schedule an interview with Dr. Arce about his role as North Pole Veterinarian, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations manager, at 847-732-6194 (cell/text), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the AVMA
The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 97,000 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities and dedicated to the art and science of veterinary medicine.