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Whether someone is a cat person, a dog person, a rabbit person or even a horse person, there’s one certain thing that all animal lovers can agree on, and that is the fantastic work that is carried out by veterinarians in care of animals.

The History of World Veterinary Day

Back in 1863, the beginnings of the World Veterinary Congress were established by Professor John Gamgee from the Veterinary College of Edinburgh. By 1959, the World Veterinary Association was established with the mission of focusing on animal health and welfare.

World Veterinary Day was created in 2000 by the World Veterinary Association to highlight and promote the lifesaving work performed by veterinarians around the globe. The day takes place each year on the last Saturday in the month of April.

Each year, a different theme is chosen which helps pet owners to remember the importance of various aspects of animal care, and how vets can help, for example ensuring your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.

World Veterinary Day Timeline


First veterinary school is started

Founded in Lyon, France, the world’s first veterinary school begins training veterinarians.[1]


World Veterinary Congress begins 

A group of veterinarians from Europe are brought together by Professor John Gamgee of the Veterinary College of Edinburgh.[2]


World Veterinary Association is started 

Moving from just an annual gathering to a full-fledged organization, the association is established to focus on animal health and welfare.[3]


World Veterinary Day is established 

Established by the World Veterinary Association, this day is meant to celebrate those in the veterinary profession, including doctors and paraprofessionals.[4]


The World Veterinary Award is created 

The goal of this award is to recognize the best contribution to the veterinary field. The first award was given to the Kenya Veterinary Association.[5]

How to Celebrate World Veterinary Day

Observe and celebrate World Veterinary Day by participating in various activities. Start with some of these ideas:

Show Appreciation to a Veterinarian

On this special day, why not raise a paw, hoof or claw to say thank you to the local veterinarians and their staff? Send a thank you card or an email thanking them. Or, even better, post a positive review about their veterinary office on Yelp, Google or another review site.

Remember, veterinarians are those who help protect and safeguard those who cannot speak for themselves, so be sure to remember how much they mean to the life of a pet!

Schedule a Veterinary Appointment for a Pet

For those pet owners who have procrastinated or forgotten recently to get regular checkups for their pets, this is the perfect time! Call a local vet, or hop onto their website, to book an appointment to get that dog, cat, or other pet into the clinic for a time to make sure they are healthy and happy.

Donate to an Animal Charity

One great way to show appreciation for a veterinarian is to make a donation to their favorite animal charity in their name. Check into donating to a local pet rescue center, shelter or even guide dog training center.

For ideas on charities to donate to, consider some of these:

  • ASPCA. One of the most well known animal welfare charities, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hosts adoption centers, shelters, relocation services, and rehabilitation centers.
  • Animal Welfare Institute. Dedicated to reducing the suffering of animals that is caused by humans and saving the lives of thousands of animals.
  • Best Friends Animal Society. A leader in the movement toward no-kill, the goal is to protect animals from being killed in shelters, and their sanctuaries are dedicated not only to cats and dogs but a large variety of other animals as well.

Participate in a World Veterinary Day Event

Those who have their own pets can join in on various events that are created and put on by a local veterinary clinic. Many vets and their offices will hold events to encourage participation and awareness for World Veterinary Day, so check online to see what’s available in the area.

Enjoy a Pet

Celebrate with a pet on Veterinary Day by buying them a treat or a new toy to show them how much they mean to you as you appreciate the work veterinarians do to keep pets healthy. Of course, veterinarians will love to know that pets are being specially cared for on this important day, so be sure that the treats they get are healthy for their bodies and for their teeth!

World Veterinary Day FAQs

When is World Veterinary Day celebrated?

World Veterinary Day is held each year on the last Saturday in April.[1]

What is World Veterinary Day?

World Veterinary Day is a day that is set aside to honor the people in the profession of veterinarians.[2]

Is there a National Veterinary Day?

Actually, instead of this day being just national, it is celebrated all over the planet as World Veterinary Day.[3]

How to celebrate World Veterinary Day?

Observing this day can be done by thanking a veterinarian, attending a seminar or making a donation.[4]

Why is World Veterinary Day celebrated?

This day is celebrated to honor and show appreciation to people in the veterinary profession.[5]

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