World Veterinary Day is held on the last Saturday of April, and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the celebration. Created by the World Veterinary Association (WVA) and the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) to celebrate the veterinary profession and its impact on the world, this annual event features a themed award that is bestowed upon the WVA member who best exemplifies the veterinary “mission.”
Embodying the World Veterinary Association’s Mission
Last year’s theme was “Value of Vaccination,” which highlighted the importance of vaccination “for preventive veterinary medicine, promotion of animal health and welfare, and reducing the risk of human exposure to many zoonotic pathogens.” The Uganda Veterinary Association won the award for the second year in a row, due to an extensive public health campaign to highlight the importance of vaccines, and their role in keeping people and animals safe. They also created vaccination campaigns against foot and mouth disease, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, rabies, and Newcastle disease. This was the first year a $2,500 prize was given with the award.
2020’s theme is “Environmental protection for improving animal and human health.” Nominations for recipients are still being accepted and reviewed.
Honoring the Vocation
The importance of World Veterinary Day is to celebrate the vast diversity of the profession and the benefits of veterinary work for pets and the world. The profession is incredibly diverse and provides services for many facets of life. Veterinarians work to provide healthcare for animals large and small, work alongside the USDA to ensure that food products are safe for consumption, create vaccines and pharmaceuticals, and perfect surgical techniques that benefit animals and humans alike. Each veterinarian has a vast skill set, is capable of adapting to each patient’s unique condition, and willingly treats “all creatures large and small.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, veterinarians have stepped into uncharted territory. Many veterinary hospitals have opened up their medical supplies, including PPE and mechanical ventilators, to help humans suffering from coronavirus. Veterinarians have also been asked to enter a medical reserve in case human medical professionals need help. Though veterinarians are comfortable treating large creatures, treating humans is still a new undertaking, especially as they continue to handle pet emergencies, despite limited staff and facilities. 2020’s World Veterinary Day will certainly be an unprecedented event for the vocation.
What Can You Do for World Veterinary Day?
This is a day to show appreciation for everything veterinarians do for you and your pet. Send a card or token of appreciation to your vet, thanking them for their care over the years. Better yet, tell them they’re doing a great job next time you stop in for a visit. It will truly make their day.