Dr. Amber Itle
Washington State Veterinarian
Photo courtesy of Ed
and Sonya Benhardt
Holly is also in charge of making sure all the reindeer health requirements are met before flying around the world. While planning for Santa’s stops in the United States, she checked InterstateLivestock.com to see what each State requires. All the reindeer that cross state lines must meet Washington State import requirements, including a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) issued by an accredited veterinarian and a permit number to move between states for toy delivery. A CVI is a special animal health document that certifies that the animals listed “are not showing signs of infectious, contagious and/or communicable diseases” and have met all the required vaccinations and testing requirements. Santa’s reindeer tested negative for tuberculosis, brucellosis, and meningeal worms and have maintained “free” status in the CWD Herd Certification Program. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph all received clearance to fly into Washington state.
Washington State Veterinarian Dr. Amber Itle met with Holly to review his CVI paperwork and Santa’s biosecurity plans. Biosecurity plans are used to mitigate risk and limit exposure of Santa’s reindeer to disease by implementing key practices. This is extremely important since reindeer are susceptible to foot and mouth disease, an economically devastating and most contagious disease of cloven hooved animals. Biosecurity practices help to protect the reindeer for disease and allow for business continuity at the North Pole. If Santa’s reindeer get sick, they will not be able to deliver toys, which would have a huge economic and emotional impact on children and parents alike! Furthermore, Santa doesn’t want to be responsible for delivering an animal disease along with toys when he traverses the world.
Santa’s Top 10 Biosecurity Plan Tips
- No visitors to the North Pole.
- Keep a closed reindeer herd.
- Perform annual laboratory testing for diseases of concern.
- Establish a relationship with a veterinarian to oversee herd health and vaccinations.
- Bring your own reindeer grain, hay, and water for the journey.
- When traveling, never land on the ground; rooftops are cleaner.
- Avoid direct contact with wildlife, domestic animals, and humans.
- Clean & disinfect your sleigh and boots between rooftops, states, countries and when returning to the North Pole.
- Isolate all reindeer returning from toy delivery for 30 days.
- Designate elves to care for reindeer who have traveled.
Make sure to track Santa and the reindeer’s flight path on December 24 using NORAD’s Santa Tracker. Remember, if you are moving animals across state lines this holiday season to check interstatelivestock.com to meet the interstate animal movement requirements.
Have a safe and happy holiday season from our end of the barn to yours.