Tomorrow is World Veterinary Day.

On this day the New Zealand Veterinary Association is celebrating New Zealand’s wonderful veterinary profession.

There are 2914 practicing veterinarians in New Zealand. Together they care for the estimated 1.5 million fish, 1.1 million cats, more than 700,000 dogs and over half a million birds kept as pets in this country. They support farmers by treating more than 27.37 million sheep, 3.61 million beef cattle and 6.47 million dairy cattle, and 0.85 million deer. Every tuatara in the zoo or in the wild, every kereru with a broken wing – every creature no matter how great or small – will be looked after by a veterinarian if you call.

From the Southern White Rhino at Auckland Zoo to the agouti at Nelson’s Natureland all the way to the rare flightless takahē, now restricted to the tussock grasslands of the Murchison Mountains of Fiordland – veterinarians are on hand to treat and care for New Zealand’s animals, whether they’re born here, migrant, survivor or refugee.

Veterinarians around the country will be working today despite the fact that it’s the weekend.  Being a veterinarian often means long hours and long days. Almost all veterinary clinics in New Zealand offer an after-hours service. Many veterinarians take their work home, whether it’s lying in bed considering difficult cases, or literally bringing a furry, fluffy, scaly or feathered patient home for observation.

Tomorrow, on World Veterinary Day we are encouraging New Zealanders to consider their veterinarians and the role they play in treating and protecting our animals and how far reaching this guardianship is.

Veterinarians don’t just treat pets, or the animals at your local zoo, or the wildlife hanging out on your front porch – they also work in biosecurity protecting our precious country’s borders and supporting animal and farmer welfare.

Veterinarians are involved in every facet of biosecurity in New Zealand from auditing deer, fish, and chicken farm processing, providing export certification, all the while ensuring animal welfare practices are followed.

Right now veterinarians are working on the front-line of the Mycoplasma bovis response – they are providing advice and support to farmers and advocacy for the profession and New Zealand’s bovine population. Veterinarians are involved in tracing, testing, laboratory analysis, investigations and examination of the epidemiology of the incursion.

We work on-site at processing facilities, with Ministry for Primary Industries veterinarians conducting ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections, monitoring compliance, and reviewing post-mortem processes, and certifying products for export.

We advocate for animals in everything that we do – from providing guidance to pet owners to active involvement in animal welfare regulations. It was veterinarians who pushed for an end to cosmetic tail docking, veterinarians who supported better treatment of bobby calves and veterinarians who have advocated for the ethical purchasing of companion animals.

Veterinarians are also working with New Zealand’s young people to support them in caring for their pets and in showing manaaki to animals in the wild, on farms, or in their homes.

It’s a role veterinarians feel honoured to have. It’s a hard job, that’s sometimes thankless – but veterinarians feel privileged to be able to serve New Zealanders, their pets, and this country’s animals.

On World Veterinary Day we say thank you to all veterinarians, all clients, and all who support this great profession.

Source: The New Zealand Veterinary Association