Santa's Reindeer Cleared For Flight After Annual Veterinary Exam

Following a thorough veterinary exam at the North Pole, Rudolph and all of the other reindeer have been given the green light to guide Santa's sleigh once again this year.

Dr. Tom Meyer, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and official veterinarian of the North Pole, examined the reindeer earlier this month to ensure that Santa's team of nine were up-to-date on their vaccinations, free of disease and healthy enough to make their annual trek around the globe.

"After thorough examination, I can tell you that Santa's reindeer are perfectly healthy, in great shape and ready for their upcoming flight," Meyer said.

The reindeer's annual exam includes a health check about a month prior to their Christmas Eve flight to make sure they're healthy and not showing any signs of disease—such as brucellosis, tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease—that can be transmitted to other animals around the world.

In addition to presents for children around the world, Santa is required to bring with him an official "North Pole Certificate of Animal Export" that allows him to freely cross borders and ensure health officials that his reindeer are no threat to animal or public health.

Meyer will make a follow-up trip to the North Pole on Christmas Eve to provide a pre-flight checkup and to inspect the reindeer upon their return on Christmas morning.

For more information on Meyer's role as official veterinarian of the North Pole, including answers to kids' questions about reindeer, visit avma.org/santa.

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