Veterinarians work tirelessly to provide excellent care to their patients, other animals, and humans. These dedicated individuals are celebrated every year on World Veterinary Day, held the last Saturday in April, which this year falls on April 30. Our team at Town and Country Animal Hospital wants to provide information about this event and explain why the recognition is important.

What is World Veterinary Day?

The World Veterinary Association (WVA) was established in 1959 at the 15th International Veterinary Congress in Spain, with the objectives of highlighting the importance of veterinary science, and increasing awareness about issues such as animal health, welfare, and safety, and quarantine rules. In 2000, WVA declared the last Saturday of every April as World Veterinary Day (WVD), to honor the individuals who help prevent and treat animal illnesses. Every year, a WVD theme is chosen to call attention to a particular aspect of veterinary medicine. This year’s theme is “Strengthening veterinary resilience.”

Veterinary medicine is an extremely demanding and stressful profession, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the issues that veterinary professionals face. Compassion fatigue and burnout are common concerns that have led to an increased suicide risk for veterinary professionals. To provide their patients with the appropriate care, veterinarians must stay healthy to handle their daily challenges in practice. This year, WVA is celebrating efforts from veterinarians and veterinary associations who are bringing attention to this important cause and offering ways to strengthen veterinary resilience.

Why should veterinarians be celebrated?

Veterinarians work to provide many benefits to their community and country.

  • Pet wellness care — Veterinarians provide wellness care, such as vaccinations, preventive medications, and dental care, to your pet.
  • Pet emergency care — Veterinarians also provide care to your pet when they are sick or injured, and need emergency care
  • Pet population control — Many veterinarians volunteer their services to perform spay and neuter procedures at shelters to help control pet overpopulation.
  • Disease control — Veterinarians are responsible for recognizing and controlling disease outbreaks that can have public health consequences for people.
  • Research — Many veterinarians participate in important research projects to find new ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent animal and human health issues.
  • Regulatory medicine — Veterinarians are responsible for inspecting animals used for food, to ensure only healthy animals enter our food supply.

How has World Veterinary Day been impactful?

Celebrating World Veterinary Day is important not only to shine a spotlight on the hardworking veterinary professionals, but also to make other significant contributions.

  • Promoting disease prevention — In 2011, WVD’s theme was rabies awareness, and veterinarians educated pet owners about the importance of vaccinating their pets against this dangerous, zoonotic disease. Free vaccination drives were offered to promote a healthy environment for pets and humans.
  • Promoting animal welfare — In 2014, WVD’s theme was animal welfare, and veterinarians raised awareness about signs that could indicate a pet or animal was being neglected or abused.
  • Promoting awareness of antimicrobial resistance — The 2017 theme was antimicrobial resistance, and veterinarians educated pet owners on how the overuse of antimicrobials could lead to resistant strains of dangerous bacteria.
  • Promoting environmental protection — The 2020 theme was environmental protection for improving animal and human health, and veterinarians educated pet owners on how environmental protection is linked to animal and human health.
  • Responding to COVID-19 — In 2021, WVD’s theme was the veterinary response to the COVID-19 crisis, to highlight how veterinarians provided quality veterinary care during the pandemic, despite the challenges.

How can pet owners celebrate World Veterinary Day?

If you would like to show your support to your veterinarian on WVD, here are some steps you can take to celebrate the day.

  • Educate yourself — Ensure you follow our veterinary professionals’ recommendations for your pet’s care. Pets need routine wellness care, annual vaccinations, year-round preventive care, and regular dental care to stay happy and healthy.
  • Spend time with your pet — Spend time doting on your pet, to show them how much you love them. As veterinarians, we want to promote your pet’s health, and their bond with you is one of the best ways you can improve your pet’s wellbeing.
  • Donate — Donate to your local animal shelter. You can provide monetary support or donate supplies. In addition, shelters always need extra hands if you can donate your time. 
  • Be patient — The pandemic caused a work overload for our veterinarians—you may have been affected if you couldn’t get a timely veterinary appointment. We appreciate your patience when interacting with our team members, and your support with expressions of kindness, as we deal with these difficult times.
  • Say thank you — A simple thank you goes a long way, and our veterinary professionals and staff members feel so honored when you take the time to express your appreciation. 

World Veterinary Day is an important reminder of the vital role veterinarians play in their community. If you would like to schedule your pet’s wellness exam to help celebrate WVD, contact our team at Town and Country Animal Hospital, and we will gladly find a time that works best for you.