A certificate of health for Santa’s reindeers

Published on December 05, 2017

Reindeer Team Preflighted to FlyVeterinarians know that health certificates are vital tools to ensure that animals don’t spread infectious diseases or parasites when they travel across state or national borders. But few people may realize that even Santa’s reindeer need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) to clear them for their international journey each Christmas Eve.

For this important task, Santa puts his trust in AVMA President Dr. Mike Topper, whose office brings with it the title of official North Pole veterinarian. In this role, Dr. Topper recently examined each of Santa’s reindeer from antler to tail to make sure they are healthy enough to make their magical, yet arduous, trip. As part of that exam, of course, he looked specifically for any signs of disease—such as brucellosis, tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease—that might be transmitted to other animals or humans around the world.

We sent a video crew with Dr. Topper, and they put together a report  for the AVMA Nightly News, shown below, which you can share with your clients and colleagues to give them the good news: Upon completion of this year’s examinations, Dr. Topper declared all nine reindeer to be up-to-date on their vaccinations, free of disease and fit for their upcoming trip. He’ll make a follow-up trip to the North Pole on Christmas Eve to provide a pre-flight checkup and to inspect the reindeer upon their return Christmas morning to make sure they haven’t sustained any injuries during their travel.

While serving as Santa’s official veterinarian is a unique job, Dr. Topper’s work is consistent with the role veterinarians play every day to ensure the health of animals, people and the environment around the globe. As the video shows, veterinarians work with all kinds of species, in all types of environments, to make the world a healthier place for all forms of life.

Watch the full news segment below and share it with your friends, family, and colleagues as a fun way to illustrate how broad-reaching and important the work of veterinarians is. You can even print out and display the official North Pole Certificate of Animal Export, signed off by Dr. Topper for Kris Kringle himself.

Join Santa’s E.L.V.E.S.

AVMA members can share in the fun and spread holiday cheer by downloading an official E.L.V.E.S. badge to display on your social media pages. As a bona fide member of Santa’s Emergency Landing and Veterinary Expert System, you will be certified to help Santa with any reindeer emergencies that might arise during his flight. This is another fun way to educate your clients about the varied types of work that veterinarians perform in keeping animals, humans, and the environment healthy.

Be sure to also check out and share our other holiday resources with your clients, including pet safety tips, healthy gift ideas, and more helpful information for animal owners.


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