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Santa’s reindeer cleared for Christmas Eve flight


The American Veterinary Medical Association gives all 9 reindeer a clean bill of health

Jess rodriguez/stock.adobe.com

Jess rodriguez/stock.adobe.com

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) shared the news that Rena Carlson, DVM, AVMA president, and Ashli Selke, RVT, CVT, immediate-past president of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) traveled to the North Pole to examine Santa’s reindeer. At the end of the in-person exam, Carlson and Selke declared the 9 reindeer healthy and ready for the Christmas Eve journey around the world.

"While this may be an out-of-the-ordinary visit, ensuring that these magical and magnificent animals are fit for their important journey reflects the vital work veterinarians and their teams perform every day around the world to ensure the health and safety of animals and people," expressed Carlson, in the organizational release.1

The AVMA conducts an annual exam at the North Pole to give a health check to each reindeer about a month before Christmas Eve. Carlson and Selke examined them to make sure they were healthy and not presenting with any signs of disease that can affect their ability to fly or animals and people they could encounter such as brucellosis, chronic wasting disease, and tuberculosis.

"It's such an honor to be part of this special tradition," Selke said.1 "Examining the reindeer, from their iconic antlers down to their cloven hooves, is a reminder of the diverse and fascinating work that veterinary health care teams are called on to provide."

According to the release, Carlson and Selke closely inspected each reindeer’s fur for signs of lesions or parasites as well as their eyes, noses, legs, and hooves.1 Now that the examination has been completed, the AVMA issued a North Pole Certificate of Animal Export, allowing him to travel freely across the world and ensure his reindeer pose no threat to animal or public health.

"It's fascinating how reindeer have adapted to the harsh North Pole climate, from their hollow fur, which allows them to trap and retain heat, to the mass of tiny veins in their noses that help circulate blood to keep them warm—and in some deer, give their noses a red glow," noted Dr. Carlson.

Carlson and Selke will return to the North Pole on Christmas Eve to give one final pre-flight checkup and inspect the reindeer once the return home. They are instructing any children who want to leave treats for the reindeer to leave a plate of graham crack reindeer cookies next to Santa’s.

"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. Carlson and Ashli are definitely on the 'nice list' again this year," Santa said in a North Pole-issued statement.1


Following veterinary exam, Santa's reindeer cleared for Christmas flight. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. December 12, 2023. Accessed December 12, 2023. https://prnmedia.prnewswire.com/news-releases/following-veterinary-exam-santas-reindeer-cleared-for-christmas-flight-302012792.html

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