Atlantic Veterinary College clears Santa’s reindeer to fly

Dr. John VanLeeuwen, Interim Dean, Atlantic Veterinary College, provided a status update
| Atlantic Veterinary College
Santa's Reindeer
Santa's Reindeer

The Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) performed its annual examination of Santa’s reindeer and declared all nine of them healthy and ready for the Christmas Eve journey around the world.

“Each year, our team is honoured to be part of this tradition to do a pre-trip veterinary exam,” said Dr. John VanLeeuwen, AVC Interim Dean. “The flight on Christmas Eve is about 67 million kilometres long, so we have to do a thorough examination to ensure the reindeer are fit for such a long and important trek.”

On December 9th, AVC’s veterinarians and veterinary technicians in the Large Animal Service and Wildlife Service examined the reindeers’ hearts, lungs, and muscles and found they were all in great working order for their long flight path. They also assessed each reindeer for any signs of disease that could potentially impact their ability to fly, and luckily found none.

Notably, one reindeer had a distinctive red, shiny nose, a feature our veterinarians discovered last year. Dr. Brian Wagner, a professor specializing in bioluminescence, Department of Chemistry, UPEI Faculty of Science, and the biomedical engineering staff were on hand to ensure that the nose was functioning properly.

Once the exam was completed, the AVC team spent time properly grooming the reindeer and cleaning their antlers and hooves. Special attention was given to ensuring that the red nose was bright for the journey ahead.

“Because the reindeer will be flying to every country across the globe, we needed to make sure their vaccinations were up to date as well,” said Dr. VanLeeuwen, “especially since reindeer are susceptible to gingerbreaditis. Now they’re all clear to fly.”

Thanks to the team at the AVC and UPEI, the reindeer are fully prepared for their global mission, spreading holiday cheer by delivering presents on Christmas Eve.

Media Contact

Apryl Munro
External Engagement Officer
Atlantic Veterinary College

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