Santa’s reindeer cleared for flight after annual veterinary exam, AVMA says

In a statement, Santa thanked the AVMA and said, “Without my reindeer, there simply would be no Christmas.”

Traveling the world in record time means Santa’s reindeer don’t get a lot of time to sight see, but it can expose them to various viruses and bacteria. That’s why, before takeoff, the Tom Meyer, DVM, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and official veterinarian of the North Pole, came in to check on each reindeer to ensure they were up-to-date on their vaccinations, were disease-free and healthy enough for the annual journey.

The results, as always, were spectacular. “After a thorough examination, I can tell you that Santa’s reindeer are perfectly healthy, in great shape and ready for their upcoming flight,” Dr. Meyer said.

Meyer always performs a health check on the reindeer about a month prior to Christmas Eve. Not only do they want to ensure they aren’t susceptible to disease, the veterinary team wants to make sure the reindeer don’t pass on diseases either, such brucellosis, tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease.

“Santa’s reindeer need to be in tip-top shape to complete their Christmas Eve flight on time, so it’s vital that they receive a pre-trip veterinary exam to make sure they are free of any injuries that might slow them down,” Meyer said. “Because the reindeer will be visiting all corners of the globe, we need to make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and free of disease so they don’t pick up or spread any infections to other animals around the world.”

Meyer also had to ensure Santa’s “North Pole Certificate of Animal Export,” which allows him to freely cross borders and ensure health officials that his reindeer are no threat to animal or public health, was up-to-date.

Santa, in a statement, thanked Meyer and the AVMA for their work. “Without my reindeer, there simply would be no Christmas. Proper veterinary care ensures that, year in and year out, my team and I are able to deliver presents to boys and girls around the world. It’s safe to say that Dr. Meyer is on the ‘Nice List’ this year.”

You can watch his inspection below:

This won’t be Meyer’s only trip to the North Pole. On Christmas Eve, he’ll give the reindeer another pre-flight checkup, and then check on them when they return Christmas morning.

The AVMA, in a press release, said that Meyer’s work is consistent with roles veterinarians play every day to “ensure the health of animals, people and the environment around 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,” the AVMA writes.

Veterinarians can help other Christmas pets too, the AVMA reports. “While only one veterinarian can be 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 know they are part of Santa’s Emergency Landing and Veterinary Expert System (E.L.V.E.S.) support team. 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.”

To find out more about the E.L.V.E.S. badge and download it for their, members are encouraged to go to the AVMA website.

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