Santa’s veterinarian gives reindeer green light for Christmas flight

(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) December 13, 2021 — Children around the world received good news today as officials from the North Pole confirmed Santa’s reindeer have been approved for their Christmas Eve flight after a health screening by Santa’s veterinarian.

dr José Arce, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), visited the North Pole earlier this month to ensure Santa’s team of nine are up to date on vaccinations and paperwork, free from illness and injury and healthy enough to make their annual hike around the globe.

“After a full examination and review of their medical records, I am pleased to say that Santa’s reindeer are healthy, in great shape and ready to fly on Christmas Eve,” said Dr. Arce.

(Check out Dr. Arce’s vlog highlighting his trip to the North Pole.)

The annual inspection of the reindeer includes a health check about a month before their Christmas Eve flight to ensure they are healthy and showing no signs of diseases such as brucellosis, tuberculosis or chronic wasting, which could affect their ability to fly and make other animals sick.

“It’s important that we make sure the reindeer don’t harbor diseases that they could potentially transmit to animals in other parts of the world,” said Dr. Arce. “At the same time, ensuring their health also means they are less likely to catch diseases themselves on the long flight around the world.”

In addition to gifts for children around the world, Santa is required to bring an official North Pole Certificate of Animal Export, allowing him to cross borders freely and reassuring health officials that his reindeer pose no risk to animal or animal health present to the public.

dr Arce will make a follow-up trip to the North Pole on Christmas Eve for a final pre-flight survey and to inspect the reindeer on their return on Christmas morning.

The work of dr. Arce aligns with the role veterinarians play every day to ensure the health of animals, people and the environment around the world. Far from being just “dog and cat doctors,” veterinarians work with all types of species in all types of environments to make the world a healthier place for all life forms.

While unavailable for comment due to his busy work schedule, Santa Claus issued a statement saying: “Without my reindeer, there simply wouldn’t be Christmas. Proper veterinary care ensures that my team and I can deliver gifts to boys and girls around the world year after year. dr Arce has definitely earned its spot on my “beautiful list” this year.

“Ho ho ho,” added Santa.

Vets: Become one of Santa’s ELVES

While only a vet can be the official vet of the North Pole, any vet 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 customers and communities know that they are part of the Santa’s Emergency Landing and Veterinary Expert System (ELVES) support team.

As part of the ELVES team, veterinarians are ready to assist with any emergencies that might arise during the reindeer team’s nighttime Christmas Eve flight, or simply provide the reindeer with a safe place to rest and refuel before proceeding with the gift delivery.

Veterinarians are invited to help spread the holiday spirit by showing their official ELVES badge on their clinic’s social media channels and educating customers about the various ways veterinarians are helping to keep all animals healthy – even reindeer .

AVMA members can visit the AVMA website to download the official ELVES badge.

More information about dr. For Arce’s role as a veterinarian at the North Pole, including answers to children’s questions about reindeer, see

For more information on the role veterinarians play in global health or to schedule an interview with Dr. Arce about his role as veterinarian at the North Pole, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA Media Relations Manager, at 847-732-6194 (cell/text) , or msanfilippoAvma [dot] org.

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