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Quinlan: Thank a vet

By Marvin Quinlan for Tri-State Livestock News

This past May 31, 2021, we celebrated Memorial Day, during which we recognized and honored Vets (Veterans, that is) who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.

On July 4, we demonstrate our patriotism, in part, again by honoring veterans on this 245th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Then, as we do every November 11, we celebrate Veteran’s Day, in honor of all veterans. We should, in fact, honor those veterans aand their families every day of the year.

But today, I am thinking of honoring and thanking a different kind of “vet.”



That would be our veterinarians.

I figured there must be a day of the year when we recognize both large and small animal veterinarians, that are clearly the “front line workers” for those of us in agriculture’s livestock production business, or who “own” some sort of pet.



A simple search on my “smarter than I am” cell phone shows we have all kinds of days/weeks/months dedicated to some cause of product these days. For instance, there is International Chocolate Day (Sept. 13), two bacon days, (Sept. 14 or Dec. 30) two meatball days (March 9 or Aug. 23) and National Cheeseburger Day (Aug. 13)!

My rudimentary research shows, in 2021, there are more than 175 “pet holidays” (days, weeks, months) including “Hug Your Dog Day (April 11).

Back to Veterinarians! Currently, there are two such days honoring veterinarians. The last Saturday in April of each year is World Veterinarian Day while every June 18 is designated Veterinary Appreciation Day.

Beginning in 2000, the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA), in partnership with the World Veterinary Association (WVA) honors the 1.8 million veterinarians who practice worldwide. On April 24, 2021, they celebrated “the role of veterinary medicine in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the “contributions of veterinary teams everywhere in protecting the health of animas, people, and the environment.”

2019’s theme was, appropriately, “the value of vaccination.”

Recently, the AVMA and WVA partnered with Health for Animals and jointly issued this 2021 proclamation: “the continuing Covid-19 pandemic changed life as we know it, and significantly affected the global human and animal populations” and got “through this challenging time, veterinary medicine meaningfully and rapidly evolved, demonstrating veterinarian ability to cope, adjust and adapt, and continue in their role as leaders of both animal health and welfare and public health”

The June 18 Veterinary Appreciation Day began in 2015 by Trupanion, one of the largest pet medical insurers in the United States and Canada.

Internationally, whether we livestock producers raise beef or dairy cattle, sheep or goats, horses, hogs or poultry, or have a pet, many where introduced to the veterinarian life by the late British vet and surgeon James Alfred Wight. Never heard of him? That’s because he wrote under the pen name of James Herriot, such books as “All Creatures Great and Small” and seven other books, selling more than 60 million copies. Some have been made into movies or TV series.

Now there are many more such options, The Incredible Dr. Pol, Rock Star Vets, and Hartland Docs – DVM.

Most of us area also familiar with writer and humorist Dr. Baxter Black DVM.

Here in Montana, three late vets have greatly influenced me personally: Dr. Jack Catlon, DVM, Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Montana State; Dr. William J. Tietz, DVM, PhD, president of Montana State University, and “Doc” John D. (JD) Melcher, Forsyth, MT, veterinarian, who also served as alderman, mayor, MT state representative, and senator before being elected as the first and only veterinarian to serve in the US Congress and US Senate. Melcher is, in fact, both a Veteran and a Veterinarian (not a vegetarian as one big city newspaper desrcribed him). He served in and was wounded in World War II, before becoming a veterinarian and starting Forsyth’s Yellowstone Valley Vet Clinic.

Locally, our ranch has been ably served by at least 8 other large/small annual veterinarians over the years. Each of these outstanding individuals, in addition to operating a 24/7, 365 day a year for-profit veterinary business, found time to engage in and serve their community, in various capacities, for years.

So, the next time you see your (or a) vet(erinarian) or one of their team members, tke a moment and THANK THEM for a job well done!

Marvin Quinlan

Forsyth, Montana

 


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