Commemorating International Day of Veterinary Medicine


Each year on December 9, veterinary professionals and organizations across the globe are recognized for their tremendous efforts in promoting and protecting the welfare of animals and humans alike.

New Africa /

New Africa /

Today marks the International Day of Veterinary Medicine, celebrated each year on December 9. This special occasion recognizes the tremendous efforts accomplished by veterinary professionals and organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), whose mission is to promote a robust and unified veterinary profession that safeguards the health of animals and humans.1

From discovering the origins of this day to 3 reasons to celebrate its importance, here are a few ways everyone can support and recognize the tremendous contributions of veterinary professionals worldwide.

The roots of veterinary medicine

The history of caring for animals and preventing and treating the diseases that impact them is lengthy and can be traced back to the Neolithic period. This period holds the first recorded evidence of a cow that had undergone trepanation (ie, trephination)—a type of skull surgery involving the drilling of holes to treat pain and injury.1 Another practice that is thought of as 1 of the first organized veterinary professions to emerge is “horse doctoring,” which was first introduced within the Arabic world in the ninth century due to the economic and military value of equines. In addition, horseshoe makers (ie, farriers), located in London, England were encouraged by the Lord Mayor to form a “fellowship” in 1356 to enhance their practice of tending to horses.1

After the outbreak of rinderpest among cattle in France, veterinary surgeon Claude Bourgelat, deemed the founder of scientifically informed veterinary medicine, established the first veterinary school in 1762. Following these footsteps, Britain forged its first veterinary school in 1790 more than 2 decades later. The United States would wait nearly a century more before it debuted its first public veterinary college offering a 4-year degree in Iowa State University.1 Further, practitioners from 7 states within the US joined forces to form the United States Veterinary Medical Association (USVMA), which later became the AVMA in 1898.1

Currently, the demand for veterinary professionals continues to rise with the growing emergence of zoonotic diseases across the globe. These clinicians are an integral component in preserving, protecting, and curing diseases and conditions that impact the lives of animals, plants, and humans.

The significance of International Day of Veterinary Medicine

Each day, veterinary professionals work tirelessly to save the lives of their patients, no matter the hurdle or obstacle that may stand in their way. Between managing and dealing with clients, being advocates for their patients, and completing a variety of day-to-day tasks, these workers deserve more recognition and support than they are often given. Though every day should be International Day of Veterinary Medicine, here are 3 reasons to extend appreciation to these hardworking individuals.

1. Animal health is linked to human health.

Several medicinal advancements within the veterinary realm have also helped improve human healthcare and treatment such as vaccines, organ transplants, and the robust therapeutic abilities many companion animals innately have.1

2. Animal diseases are connected to human diseases.

Adopting a One Health approach is key to preventing and controlling a variety of zoonotic and vector borne diseases that impact both animals and humans alike. Diseases such as Ebola, Zika, and SARS all have animal origins, stressing the importance of keeping a vigilant eye on the welfare and health of animals to ensure a healthy human population.1

3. Veterinary professionals deserve appreciation.

Even with the defined connection to human health, animal health doctors and professionals are not seen or treated as equals to human medical practitioners. It is time to shatter this notion and recognize the vital role veterinary professionals play within the entire healthcare field.1


International day of veterinary medicine. Published November 1, 2021. Accessed December 9, 2021.

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