The world needs veterinary professionals. Not just because our animals need doctors and caretakers (which is obviously also crucial), but because of the type of people they are. They are selfless, caring, compassionate individuals who will stop at nothing to make sure your four-legged family member is okay.
So, we repeat the world needs veterinary professionals simply because the world needs better people. We, of course, are biased when it comes to veterinary professionals and their superhuman powers, but take a look for yourself and read on why have a day allotted to celebrate veterinary medicine.
The Theme and Date of World Veterinary Day 2021
This year (2021), World Veterinary Day takes place on Saturday, April 24th. This year’s theme is The Veterinarian Response to the Covid-19 Crisis. Veterinary professionals were quite literally thrown into the fire when having to deal with the pandemic.
Of course, the dreaded Corona Virus wasn’t a new word for seasoned veterinary professionals, but COVID-19 was a whirlwind no one was expecting. Human nurses and doctors were faced with the impossible challenge of keeping up with the mental and physical wellbeing of the public and themselves.
We salute them and are forever in their debt. We felt we had to mention and give them a much-deserved shoutout before diving back into the veterinary world.
Veterinarians were also faced with an insanely new and demanding challenge—the challenge of dealing with the general public while trying to treat their fur babies and stay safe.
The World Veterinary Day Award
In 2008 the World Veterinary Day Award was created to recognize an outstanding organization that has made stellar awareness and contribution to the current years’ theme. Any member of the WVA can enter and participate. Listed below are the last five years’ winners, theme, and their efforts to achieve the award:
- 2020: Winner- Indian Veterinary Association- Kerala.
Theme-Environmental Protection for Improving Animal and Human Health.
Amidst the beginning of the pandemic, the Indian Veterinary Association shifted its efforts to virtual safe awareness through partnership and engagement with veterinary professionals. They organized 75 WVD activities to raise awareness and support the years’ theme.
- 2019: Winner- Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA).
Theme- Value of Vaccination.
UVA organized vaccination campaigns, radio interviews, seminars, workshops, career and guidance programs to raise awareness on the value of vaccinating.
- 2018: Winner- Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA).
Theme– The Role of the Veterinary Profession in Sustainable Development to Improve Livelihoods, Food Security and Safety.
UVA organized many activities to recognize the theme, such as radio talk shows, seminars, documentaries, and press conferences.
- 2017: Winner- The National Council of the Order of Veterinarians of France. Theme- Antimicrobial Resistance- From Awareness to Action.
To achieve this award, this organization held meetings, continuing education sessions, national congresses, symposiums, etc. All of these efforts exemplified how to fight antibiotic resistance by raising awareness to do so.
- 2016 Winner-Jamaica Veterinary Medical Association (JVMA).
Theme- Continuing education with a One Health focus.
Their most praised effort was their promotion and organization of the One Health One Caribbean One Love project. The project aims to increase animal health and production and food security in Caribbean countries. To do this, the project promoted proper monitoring, response, and diagnosis of zoonotic and food-borne diseases.
The winner/s of this award will receive both the WVD Award and a cash prize of $3500 for their efforts to be repurposed into their all-important work.
The History of World Veterinary Day
This last year has shown what disease can do to a global nation. Years ago, a deadly virus called Rinderpest attacked cattle until it was declared eradicated in 2011 through vaccination. Today it is the only animal disease ever to be eradicated.
Rinderpest was transmitted between cattle via droplets. The cattle would become infected by inhaling these droplets via breath, secretions, or excretions. Although Rinderpest posed no threat to humans, it affected their life by causing famine, which caused a lot of death.
Back in April of 1863 in Hamburg, Germany, a general meeting amongst doctors to discuss Rinderpest occurred. Professor John Gamgee extended the invite to veterinarians and professors of veterinary medicine from all over Europe. This meeting’s main goal was to discuss epizootic diseases and come up with standard rules for the cattle trade that all of Europe could follow.
This meeting became the first International Veterinary Congress (WVC). In Spain in 1959, at the 16th WVC, the World Veterinary Association was founded. The WVA’s mission is ”to provide global leadership for the veterinary profession and promote animal health and welfare and public health, through advocacy, education, and partnership.”
The WVA works with prominent partners such as:
- World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
- World Health Organisation (WHO)
- Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)
- World Medical Association (WMA)
- World Animal Protection
- International Dairy Federation (IDF)
- One Health Initiative
- World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA)
- Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC)
- International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM)
- AAALAC International
- World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA)
The WVA represents veterinarians all over the world and requires associations to pay membership fees. The WVA decided in 2000 that there should be a day dedicated to celebrating the veterinary profession, and it was deemed that the last Saturday in April would be World Veterinary Day.
World Veterinary Day is a day to promote the veterinary profession and work on improving animal and human welfare, the environment, food safety, animal transport, and quarantine. Each year World Veterinary Day has a specific theme to promote awareness on a particular topic.
The Importance of Vets During the Covid-19 Pandemic
When the pandemic started, there wasn’t much room for anyone to do anything. We think it’s pretty safe to say that no one currently working has ever worked through a pandemic before, considering the last one was 100 years ago. This left most veterinary professionals on their own to navigate its rough waters.
As we learned, the show must go on. Animals were still getting hurt, always getting sick, and even requiring wellness examinations regardless of the outside world bunkering down. Toilet paper and paper towels were being hoarded, food was being stored, and people were panicking.
We have to admit we were quite envious of the ignorance our animals faced while we as a nation were breathing heavy and developing “maskne.” Nonetheless, a new normal would be set, and a year later, we would push through and use the skills we learned in the workforce to man this pandemic. The two most valuable skills being adaptation and anticipation.
Veterinary professionals are no strangers to personal protective equipment (PPE) and would find themselves gearing up now more than ever. This time, however, it was from each other instead of the animals. Having this new uniform would provide temporary comfort for the essential workforce.
Being deemed essential carries a heavy weight within its words. To be essential means to be needed, and let’s face it, we as a workforce are and will always be needed. Veterinarians during the Covid-19 pandemic played a specific role in keeping owners calm with their animals.
Veterinary professionals not only put themselves on the line to continue treating your pets, but they also helped aid in the cause. Veterinary hospitals across the globe volunteered their equipment and time to help fight the fight against COVID-19.
Unpacking the Effects the SARS-CoV-2 had in 2020 for Veterinary Medicine
Sars-CoV-2 will forever have an impact on our world. It will change the way we see things forever, change the way we react in certain situations, and may just keep us super paranoid when it comes to germs.
Not to mention the effects it had on businesses and medicine in general. As far as veterinary medicine goes, business seemed to be status quo as people rushed out to cure their homebody woes with a new puppy.
So, you may be asking what areas were impacted by the effects of Covid-19. There are two areas to explore here, operational impacts and financial impacts. Obviously, these impacts vary from practice to practice and on location.
Some locations did (and still aren’t) taking COVID-19 as seriously as others. Veterinary practices have had to make tremendous changes to adapt to the new world they are facing. Changes that secure continued exceptional veterinary care but also maintained the safety of its clients and employees. Check out this poster for Helpful tips for bringing your pet to the vet during Covid-19 .
Day-to-day operations have undergone a makeover. In many practices, patients are being seen curbside or dropped off, followed by a phone call to discuss their pets’ current health status. This limits the exposure between people but increases anxiety in pet owners because they cannot see their pet examined.
Trust is a significant factor that must be exhibited for this process to work. If you do not trust your veterinarian and veterinary professionals to take care of your pet without you there, then it simply would not work.
Clients are also being asked to make contactless payments and give credit cards over the phone, leaving the veterinary practice to trust their owners to pay after services are completed.
Other operational processes have been adapted, such as better hygiene and cleaning measures, the mask mandate, thoroughly sanitizing all areas between appointments, and working with skeleton crews. Many staff members were even laid off or furloughed to limit the amount of exposure and keep costs down.