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If you were to ask a few of the billions of pet owners around the globe who their hero is, the name of their veterinarian will likely come up more than you’d think. So many of us “pet parents” consider our dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles as a part of our family, and in the same way, we’re grateful to the doctors and nurses who take care of us, we admire and respect those who have dedicated their careers to caring for the not-so-traditional members of our families.

Because so many are grateful for those who are able to provide care to their pets, we celebrate International Veterinary Medicine Day each year on December 9. In the animal care and welfare community, December 9 is more than just a date – it's a celebration of the unwavering dedication of veterinary professionals, honoring everyone from veteran vets and vet techs to office receptionists and shelter volunteers.

Let's take a moment to paws and reflect on the invaluable contributions of veterinary professionals and dive into why it's important to celebrate them, how they contribute to more than just animal care, and how pet owners can join in on the celebration to express their gratitude to everyone who touches their pet’s life.

Honoring International Day of Veterinary Medicine.

Get to Know the Heroes We’re Celebrating

Over the past decade, the veterinary industry has experienced significant growth and evolution. Advancements in medical technology, increased awareness of the importance of pet health, and a growing emphasis on preventive care have contributed to the expansion of veterinary services and an influx of new professionals in the field.

With that being said, it’s important to remember that the celebrations for International Day of Veterinary Medicine don’t start and end with DVMs. This day of recognition extends to all veterinary professionals who make an impact on the lives of animals, big and small.

Let’s get to know some of the heroes we honor on International Day of Veterinary Medicine.

Doctors of Veterinary Medicine

At the heart of every veterinary practice are the compassionate and skilled individuals we know as veterinarians. Veterinarians undergo years of rigorous education and training to acquire the knowledge necessary to diagnose, treat, and prevent a wide range of conditions in diverse species.

Veterinarians have dedicated their professional careers to caring for animals, providing the care and treatment they need to live long and healthy lives while also ensuring comfort and dignity when it’s an animal's time to pass. Pet owners are likely most familiar with their veterinarian’s medical work inside the office, which typically includes performing routine check-ups, intricate surgeries, or offering critical emergency care, among other things. But beyond their clinical roles, veterinarians serve as important educators and advocates guiding pet owners on responsible pet care, nutrition, and preventive health measures.

Veterinary Technicians

The unsung heroes of the veterinary world, Veterinary technicians are animal nurses who provide compassionate care to our pets. These skilled professionals, often referred to as vet techs, bring a unique blend of hands-on experience and empathetic understanding to the forefront of animal healthcare. They have a knack for calming scared and nervous pets visiting their veterinarians, and keeping animal hospitals across the country running efficiently and effectively.

Acting as patient advocates, assisting with surgical procedures, running diagnostic tests, administering vaccinations, and more, veterinary technicians are the backbone of a successful veterinary practice, and their skills, knowledge, and mastery of animal care elevate the standard of care for our pets.

Veterinary Support Staff

In the bustling world of veterinary care, it's not just the veterinarians and technicians who contribute to the seamless operation of a clinic. The unsung heroes of the veterinary community are the dedicated office support staff. From receptionists and administrative assistants to customer service representatives, these individuals work tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to ensure both pet owners and medical staff have everything they need to provide every animal with optimal care.

They are the first friendly faces you encounter as you walk through the door, the voices on the other end of the phone, and the organizational wizards behind appointment scheduling. Beyond their administrative duties, they create a warm and welcoming environment, ensuring pet owners feel comfortable and informed. These individuals play a crucial role in facilitating effective communication between pet owners and the veterinary team, contributing to clients' and furry friends' overall positive experiences.

Honoring International Day of Veterinary Medicine.

Veterinary Professionals Do More Than Just Pet Care

Veterinary professionals play a multifaceted role in society, extending beyond the examination room. Their contributions are diverse and impactful, a few of which include:

  • Animal Health and Welfare: Veterinarians are the frontline defenders of animal health. They diagnose and treat illnesses, conduct surgeries, and provide preventive care to ensure the well-being of animals under their care.
  • Public Health: Veterinary professionals play a critical role in safeguarding public health. They monitor and control the spread of zoonotic diseases — illnesses that can be transmitted between animals and humans — ensuring the safety of both populations.
  • Food Safety: In the agricultural sector, veterinarians and vet techs contribute to food safety by inspecting and monitoring livestock, ensuring that the food we consume is free from contaminants and adheres to stringent quality standards. Their expertise in veterinary medicine for livestock is not just limited to fieldwork, though; there is a greater push for experienced veterinarians to occupy food safety leadership roles to help create and execute science-backed strategies for food regulations.
  • Research and Innovation: One of the most important facets of veterinary work outside of the office is in research and thought leadership. Veterinary professionals contribute to scientific research, driving innovation in the field and ensuring that their colleagues and the wider industry are always looking ahead at how medicine, care, and prevention can be improved. Their work aids in the development of new treatments, vaccines, and technologies that benefit both animal and human health.

4 Ways Pet Owners Can Celebrate & Show Their Gratitude

As pet owners, expressing gratitude to the veterinary professionals who care for our beloved animals is a meaningful gesture. Here are a few ways to show appreciation:

  1. Say Thank You: A simple "thank you" goes a long way. Take a moment during your next visit or interaction to express your gratitude for the care and dedication shown to your pet.
  2. Spread the Word: Share positive experiences with your veterinarian on social media or through reviews. Positive reviews and testimonials can boost a veterinary practice's reputation and attract new clients.
  3. Support Local Practices: Choosing local veterinary practices over larger corporate chains can contribute to the success of small businesses. Your loyalty helps sustain the community and ensures personalized care for your pets.
  4. Donate or Volunteer: Many veterinary clinics have programs or partnerships with animal shelters and rescue organizations. Consider donating to these causes or volunteering your time to support animals in need.

On this International Veterinary Medicine Day, let us come together to appreciate and celebrate the remarkable individuals who dedicate their lives to the well-being of animals everywhere. Their compassion, expertise, and unwavering commitment profoundly impact the lives of countless furry – and sometimes not-so-furry – friends and the communities they serve. To all veterinary professionals, thank you for your tireless efforts and the immeasurable difference you make every day.

If you have questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (310) 695-5399, or you can email us at [email protected]. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram.