AVMA president greenlights Santa’s reindeer for flight

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Santa stands with his reindeer with text that reads "Reindeer team preflighted to fly. avma.org/Santa"

Each year, AVMA’s president gives Santa’s team the “all-clear” for international travel after a veterinary inspection of Santa’s herd. Rudolph and friends received their clean bill of health this week after an appointment with AVMA President Dr. Douglas Kratt, and they’re ready to help Santa safely deliver presents around the world.

Despite the pandemic, some veterinary services still need to be conducted in person, such as the examination performed prior to issuing a certificate of veterinary inspection. COVID-19 restrictions made it difficult for Dr. Kratt to travel to and from the North Pole this year. But, with a little help from Santa’s magic, Dr. Kratt was able to travel north and give the reindeer their checkup before their big flight!

Recognizing the importance of attention to their own health, both Dr. Kratt and Santa tested negative for COVID-19 prior to and after his visit. And, because he has a veterinarian-client-patient relationship with Santa and the team, Dr. Kratt has been able to keep tabs on Santa’s special herd between visits by using tools of telehealth, like phone, text, audiovisual connections, and remote patient monitors. Many pet owners similarly have been able to connect with their pets’ veterinarian this year via telemedicine.

The green light means that Dr. Kratt found no problems while giving the reindeer their official inspection. In-person exams are needed for animals traveling across state or national borders, to ensure they don’t spread infectious diseases or parasites to other animals or people. It’s part of the important work veterinarians do every day to make the world healthier and safer for all species.

All nine reindeer are up to date on vaccinations, free of disease, and fit for sky travel!

Spread the spirit as part of the E.L.V.E.S. support team

Though only the AVMA president is the official veterinarian of the North Pole, all AVMA members can be part of Santa’s emergency veterinary team. Let your clients know you’re part of Santa's Emergency Landing and Veterinary Expert System (E.L.V.E.S.) support team by downloading a festive digital badge. Here are a few ways you can participate:

  • Post your badge on your clinic’s website and social media channels.
  • Print the badge to display in your clinic’s waiting room.
  • Share this video of Dr. Kratt explaining how he ensured the reindeer are healthy for their holiday task.

Joining in the fun with the E.L.V.E.S. team gives you a great opportunity to educate clients about the various ways veterinarians keep animals healthy—even reindeer! Find more information to share with clients at avma.org/Santa, including:

  • Details about Dr. Kratt’s role as North Pole veterinarian
  • Answers to kids' questions about reindeer
  • A shareable version of the reindeer’s certificate of veterinary inspection
  • Winter and holiday safety tips for pets

Happy holidays!



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