Introduced back in 2000 to acknowledge the hard work of vets from across the globe, World Veterinary Day is celebrated on the last Saturday of April. Animal doctors don’t always get enough recognition, which is why this day is so important. Vets have a huge impact on our pets. They make domestic animals live longer, happier lives.
So, if you want to honor these gifted, dedicated, and selfless people, World Veterinary Day is perfect for that. What’s the story behind this day, though? And how can you help on this day? Read on to find out!
What Does This Day Celebrate?
Veterinarians have a huge impact on the world, and the WVD has one goal: to put them on the pedestal. First, this is a highly demanding, stressful, and responsible job. Secondly, animal doctors treat cattle, and without their skillful hands, many cows and chickens would die, leading to price hikes, shortages, and (potentially) famine.
Besides, when our furballs and pooches are in pain, we rush to local vets for help. If the pet has a condition, they’ll tell you exactly what type of medication to use. Severe cases like bloat, hip dysplasia, or skin tumor, in turn, require surgical intervention and only a professional can perform it. So, that’s exactly what this day celebrates: the importance of the work done by vets.
When Is World Veterinary Day?
The last Saturday of April is when World Veterinary Day is celebrated. It’s not a set-in-stone date. Depending on the year, World Veterinary Day will either be on the 25th, 26th, or even the 30th. So, keep your eye on the calendar: otherwise, you might miss it! Last year, it was on the 30th, but this year, it will be on the 29th of April. Here’s a quick look at the dates for 2022–2026:
Why Is It Important?
Veterinarians play a crucial role in the well-being of animals. They also aid in environmental protection and food security/safety. From the outside, it might look like vets have a narrow range of duties, but the truth is, their scope of responsibilities and capabilities is quite large. And this is true not only on a local but international level.
On top of taking care of dogs, cats, and other four-legged friends, vets do a phenomenal job of researching and diagnosing various diseases, helping with animal reproduction, breeding, and developing new vaccinations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they put in extra effort to make sure animals received much-needed attention.
The World Veterinary Day Theme for 2023: Diversity and Equality
Each year, World Veterinary Day has a theme. In 2022, the focus was on strengthening the resilience of veterinarians from across the world. This year, it’s all about bringing safety, diversity, and inclusiveness into this highly demanding profession. Health for Animals and the World Veterinary Association are making it their mission to turn equality into the new norm for vets.
By promoting inclusivity and diversity, these organizations are hoping to remove the barriers that many animal doctors are still facing. In 2023, the WVA is introducing new policies that promote and celebrate veterinarians and their core values. Also, there’s a WVD Award that comes with a $5,000 check. It can be used to further spread awareness, support the community, and award exemplary vets.
The History Behind the WVD
The WVA created World Veterinary Day in the year 2000, and it’s been celebrated ever since. However, there’s more to this story. Back in 1761, the French founded the Royal Veterinary School (RVS) in Lyon, France. This school had a vital job: to teach young students about common livestock diseases and how to treat them. More than 100 years later (in 1863, to be exact), Edinburgh held the world’s first Vet Congress.
Specialists from all over Europe visited this conference to share knowledge, learn something new, and meet fellow veterinarians. Today, we know it as the World Veterinary Congress. In the 19th century, many of the veterinary standards that all vet associations follow weren’t invented yet. But, thanks to the WVC, they were soon spread across Europe and the States.
The World Veterinary Association
The WVA was founded in 1959 (in Madrid, Spain), at one of the World Veterinary Congress conferences. Its mission is to serve as a global institution that represents every single animal on the planet. More specifically, its focus is on the health and welfare of livestock and domestic pets. The association also works on improving the environment and conditions for these animals.
To achieve its goals, the association has partnered up with the likes of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH, ex-OIE). It has an international reach and represents 80+ veterinary centers spread across the world.
How Can You Help on This Day?
What Does the Veterinary Symbol Mean?
If you’ve ever had to wait in the exam room or the doctor’s office for someone to tend to your pet, you’ve probably noticed the veterinary symbol once or twice. It’s a long staff with a snake twisted around it. So, what does it stand for? This symbol dates to Ancient Greece, but it was changed a bit to represent modern vets. The staff is called the caduceus, and it used to belong to Hermes, an Olympian deity.
As for the snake, it represents Asclepius, the Greek God of medicine. Snakes are a great symbol of pharmacology. The only way to cure their bite is to create an antiserum from a snake’s venom.
How to Keep Pets Healthy and Safe: Veterinary Tips
Let’s start with an obvious tip: make regular veterinary visits. By monitoring your pet closely, veterinarians will be able to find and treat potential diseases/conditions more effectively. With that, ask the vet to share the right diet for your dog or cat. Different breeds have different needs for food, water, training, and mental stimulation.
Vaccinations, deworming, and anti-tick treatments should also be a part of your routine. Grooming comes next. We’re talking about brushing the coat and bathing it, along with cleaning the dog’s teeth, trimming its nails, and cleaning its ears. This takes time, but the more you do it, the easier it will become and the more comfortable your pet will be.
What Else Can You Do?
Obesity is one of the biggest problems for domestic animals, especially cats. To keep a pet in shape, you’ll have to do two things. First, feed it a balanced, premium-quality diet that includes all the necessary vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins. Next, see that it gets enough daily training/exercises. Again, talk to a veterinarian. They’ll help you figure out the ideal weight for your pet.
Besides, animal doctors know exactly how much activity each breed requires per day and how much food it should eat. Spaying or neutering is another common procedure. However, before you go ahead with it, consult with several veterinarians. Sometimes, sterilizing an animal can lead to undesired consequences, although it is considered a safe surgery.
World Veterinary Day is more than just a celebration. It’s a chance for us, fellow pet owners, to show our appreciation for their work. If you want to help the cause, you can donate (no matter how big or small), help local veterinary communities, and host events. But sometimes, even a simple “thank you” will be enough.
It’s important to remember that veterinarians do so much more than prescribe medication for our kitties and pups. They also treat farm animals, respond to emergencies, and develop treatments. Yes, the world has a great need for veterinarians. So, mark World Veterinary Day on the calendar, and make sure to express love and support on your next veterinary visit!
Featured Image Credit: Viktor Gladkov, Shutterstock