Santa’s Reindeer Cleared for Christmas Flight, Says Vet Association

Santa’s sleigh team completed their annual checkup with the American Veterinary Medical Association and are cleared to dash and prance through Christmas Eve night.

Dr. Joe Kinnarney, the official North Pole veterinarian and president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, visited Santa’s reindeer last week and cleared them for their Christmas Eve flight.

“After a thorough examination I can tell you that Santa’s reindeer are perfectly healthy and in great shape, and ready for their flight,” Dr. Kinnarney said in a statement.

The reindeer team’s annual exam happened 10 days before its big flight and ensures the reindeer are up-to-date on vaccinations and free of diseases that can be spread to other animals, such as brucellosis, tuberculosis, or chronic wasting disease—diseases common among deer.

“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,” Dr. Kinnarney 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.”

Dr. Kinnarney also provides Santa with the “North Pole Certificate of Animal Export,” an official document allowing Santa to travel across borders with his reindeer. It informs health officials that the reindeer are healthy and not a threat to the public.

“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,” Santa said in the statement. “Dr. Kinnarney is definitely on the ‘nice list’ again this year.”

The team of nine can always use some extra energy during its around-the-world flight. Dr. Kinnarney recommends kids leave out a plate of graham cracker reindeer cookies, the reindeers’ favorite treat, for them to snack on between stops.

The reindeer will also receive a pre-flight visit from the doctor on Christmas Eve as well as a checkup after landing on Christmas morning.

Veterinarians like Dr. Kinnarney work to keep all kinds of animals, not just cats and dogs, healthy and strong, which helps protect the environment, animals, and people from diseases and other public health issues.

“Veterinarians treat all kinds of animals,” Dr. Kinnarney said, “and just like your dogs and cats, reindeer need veterinary care too.”

AVMA President Dr. Joe Kinnarney, shown in a YouTube clip with a reindeer. (YouTube screenshot)

Alex Beall

By Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. MORE

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