Even Santa's reindeer need a veterinarian!

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Being AVMA President certainly has its perks, including the title of Santa's Official Veterinarian. In addition to providing regular preventive care to Santa's reindeer, this means examining Rudolph and each of the others in preparation for their special flight around the world.

Just like you and your pets, Santa's reindeer need to be examined and issued health certificates in order to travel between U.S. states or across national borders. Thankfully, they've never had a problem being certified for flight, due in good measure to the regular examinations and preventive veterinary care they receive from AVMA's president to keep them healthy.

AVMA's current president, Dr. John de Jong, examined the reindeer shortly before their 2018 Christmas flight to make sure their paperwork was up to date and that they were all healthy enough to fly. And ... good news! All the​ reindeer have received full "RTF" ("Ready To Fly") status, so be prepared to hear on your roof "The prancing and pawing of each little hoof!"​

Be sure to keep your own pets safe during the holiday season, by following our holiday pet safety advice and avoiding these holiday pet DON'Ts.

'Twas a Month Before Christmas

'Twas a month before Christmas, and at the North Pole
The AVMA president was about to play a most critical role.

For without healthy reindeer to pull Santa's sleigh
There'd be no presents waiting to be opened Christmas Day.

So snapping on boots, and donning a cap
Our president traveled north to a spot not found on the map

Where elves tend to reindeer in fields at play,
Brushing their fur and delivering hay.

But as Christmas approaches and travel draws near
Someone must come to examine the deer

And ensure that they're healthy enough for their flight,
Pulling nonstop with all of their might.

And as president of the AVMA,
This veterinarian has been given final medical say

To examine their fur, looking for mites
Or other critters that can cause painful bites.

With stethoscope listening for their hearts beating strong,
Or signs of arrhythmia, or anything wrong.

While flying is easy for deer's legs and hooves,
It’s stressful to take off and land on so many roofs.

Hooves should be clean and free of debris
That may cause the deer to fly tenderly.

While we want to help Santa spread presents and cheer,
We don’t want disease hitching a ride on the deer.

Tests will confirm there's no brucellosis
Or chronic wasting disease, or tuberculosis.

Countries across the world need proof
That the deer won't leave deadly bugs on the roof.

So Santa's veterinarian fills out all the paperwork needed
To ensure the deer can cross borders unimpeded.

With certificates signed, the doctor tells St. Nick
That none of his deer are injured or sick.

From the veterinarians who work day and night,
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a safe flight.

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