The Incredible Dr. Pol (the job I wanted)

October 20, 2011 by · 27 Comments 

National Geographic is actually doing it; they are bringing back a modern day James Herriot! Here comes the premiere of The Incredible Dr. Pol, Saturday, October 29, at 9 and 10 pm ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD. (I wanted to be the Dr. Pol for Nat Geo but by the time I replied to an email about the search for a vet I was way too late)

From Nat Geo:

“An expert in large farm animals and pets, with a “you name it, and we’ll treat it” attitude, this house-call-making veterinarian has seen it all.  Dr. Pol works 14-hour days to help the diminishing population of family farmers survive by playing an integral role in keeping local farmers’ livestock healthy and in turn, their businesses profitable. He’ll travel across rural Michigan to care for every family pet and head of livestock in need of his expertise and kindness, treating numerous patients, including horses, pigs, cows, sheep, alpacas, goats, cats, dogs and even an occasional reindeer.

With such a busy practice, we are on call right alongside Dr. Pol as he treats a variety of cases, including two dogs with faces stuck full of porcupine quills, sick horses that may need to be put down and a pig with an abscess that needs to be drained.  We’ll also get a front-row seat as Dr. Pol examines a cow to check for pregnancy by reaching his arm into the rectum and feeling the ovaries.  For local farmers, while many of these animals are their livelihood, others are a part of their extended family. “

I remember this lifestyle – I started out my practice in a rural farm practice treating everything from the performance horse to the dairy cow to the show goat to the feeder pigs to the farm dog. It was a fun part of my veterinary career. I look forward to watching this show and having fond memories of what the veterinary life has to offer and then realizing how happy I am to be doing what I am now.

Check out this video – I remember palpating cows! When I was a student I had gone to California to the large dairy’s there and I had palpated 300 cows in one day!

The Incredible Dr. Pol: Vet and Wild

Premieres Saturday, October 29, at 9 p.m. ET/PT—Special Premiere Time

Dr. Pol receives an emergency call from a client who finds her horse down and fears he may not make it. Suffering from a spinal cord injury, he decides to give the horse a cortisone shot. Will he survive? Dr. Pol’s son, Charles decides to extend his visit to help his father with the work overload. His only request—to palpate a cow. But trouble creeps up when Dr. Pol and Charles perform an emergency futotomy, an intense procedure to extract two dead fetuses from a cow in hopes of saving the mother’s life.  And, the clinic celebrates its 30th anniversary with a special pig roast with old friends, former employees and longtime clients.


About Dr Daniel Beatty
An Infopreneur with a Veterinary Medicine degree.

  • Adam Mcroy

    This looks like it will be a great show. The Dr.
    looks very friendly. I am sure this show will come with some of the post edit “reality”
    overtones, however it looks to be a very positive show and should be great for
    the family. I already have my DVR set to record the first episode! I feel bad
    for Directv customers who may get a taste of the show only to lose National
    Geographic along with a lot of other FOX channels. I am so happy I have DISH
    Network for my HD TV provider/employer. They have a long term contract with
    FOX. I hope to be able to watch The Incredible Dr. Pol for as long as they are
    on TV. 

  • Njkille1964

    Watched the show tonight.  It’s pretty good and the Doc seems like a nice, high energy guy but is very rough with the animals. 

  • Great show.  Wish we had him in my rural community.  Every small town needs a Dr Pol.  He cares and knows what he is doing.  Didn’t think he was rough.  I’ve seen rough, that wan’t it.  Thanks for the program on Nat Geo.  It shows something of the trials we as farmers, breeders go through. 

  • Gina

    I agree that he seems rough with the animals. He kicked the Moder horse in the leg, later we find out the horse has ruptured blood vessels in his pelvis that caused his death, so kicking the horse in the leg didn’t seem very humane. Also he refers to the animals as stupid a lot. To me they just look scared. The “stupid” dogs with the porcupine quills. And “it’s not our fault this dog stupid”.
    Two episodes is all I’m giving this show. I won’t watch again sorry. I’d rather watch someone with some compassion for his patients. If this guy was my vet….let me guess, probably not accredited with any animal organizations either. 

  • JJ

    I love this is amazing and I would love to work with Dr. Pol and his staff. I’m a Veterinary Technician myself and I just love having a show that you can compare too. I hope that they make multiple seasons of this! Who says this guy has no compassion your full of it…

  • Maegan100

    This guy is my vet and he’s actually wonderful with the animals.  He is well respected in the community and his skills are in high demand.

  • Kittydoc29

    I am a veterinarian in a rural area and have practiced small animal medicine for 26 years. Tonight’s show featured a puppy who had been attacked by another dog. It was treated with a single shot of dexasone and put in a cage (with warmers, which, by the way, were NOT in the cage) to wait for “6 hours” to see if he would stabilize. Such a case in my clinic would have been treated for shock with warmed IV fluids/ IV antibiotics/IV pain medications/ and IV shock drugs. That would have all been done within 15 minutes of the dog being in my exam room. Also, no dogs having surgery are on monitoring equipment. None are on oxygen (with endotracheal tubes). An elderly dog received major surgery (a head and neck osteotomy) with no warmer under her during surgery, no endotracheal tube to give her gas, no monitoring equipment, and no sterile type surgical field. Another dog was treated with pepto bismol for eating raw deer meat. These dogs require hospitalization and IV fluids also if they are as ill as this dog was. I understand rural practice but I practice in a town of 1500 people in Missouri. The last episode showed 2 dogs thrown into the back of a truck while still anesthetized to ride home 45 minutes. A pet should NEVER be sent home without first recovering from anesthesia! Anesthetized pets cannot maintain their own body temperature while under anesthesia and can easily die of hypothermia.  I understand being “busy” as my husband and I have run our own practice for 26 years but I have never sent home a pet still under anesthesia.  The featured clinic has a sign out front touting “laser surgery” yet I saw no laser used even for the hip surgery. There is expensive blood machines sitting out yet no mention of blood tests being run. It is fine to be a “farm vet” but if you are treating pets, you are a pet veterinarian. You are held to the standards of a pet veterinarian. If I can practice quality medicine in a town of 1500 people than so can Dr. Pol.

  • I wonder how much is edited out for TV, in regards to the treatment being done. The monetary constraints of some of the clients may also be an issue, what you suggest is definitely ideal, but if the client only has a certain amount of funds it is better to do something to try and help than to do nothing. Ideally you give and suggest the best treatment and then cut back down to what the owner agrees to do.

    However I completely agree with your statement that a pet should never be sent home without recovering from anesthesia and if he is doing major surgeries he should be up to the standards of care, such as monitoring equipment and sterile surgical fields.

    Thanks for your comments

  • RNanimallover

    I’ve really enjoyed watching Dr Pol, but being a registered nurse I, too, can’t help, but notice the lack of sterile fields, the shocky puppy that didn’t even receive IV fluids and the possibly poisoned dog that was treated with Pepto-Bismal.  If the owners could only afford so much, I wish they would show that because I know that actually is a huge issue in veterinary medicine.  Ever since I saw the show with the mauled puppy, I can’t help but wonder if it was treated properly, would it have lived.  I will watch a few more shows probably, but if I keep seeing things like the last episode, it won’t be many.  PS I also noticed the injured horse that he kicked…not very compassionate if you ask me.

  • Kittydoc29

    Hi Dr Dan,
      I see that you are a veterinarian. I agree that things are edited but it is obvious that anesthetized animals are not tubed and put on gas, they are not kept warm during surgeries (the hip dog was lying directly on the stainless steel table), they are not given IV fluids in cases where they would get a pet out of shock. My cost for an IV line, bag of IV fluids and catheter is roughly $6. Even a person of limited funds could pay cost of materials if needed to stabilize their pet.  I work in a farming community; I know all about having to make decisions based on ability to pay. The puppy was staying for surgery so the owners had to be willing to at least pay for that. The stabilization could have been done “basically” with fluids and antibiotics as well as flushing the wounds with a liter of fluids. A heating pad can be picked up at a WalMart for $10 to be put under towels for warmth.  Last night Dr. Pol’s associate diagnosed a mammary tumor herself with a needle biopsy. She got the poor owner all worked up and crying by telling her it was a tumor (in a dog barely older than a puppy) when it was actually inflammation. I’m sorry but that is not acceptable. I can send in a needle biopsy to a university (including mailing fees) for $25; that is what I do. Sometimes even a board certified histologist can’t even diagnose a tumor without a mass removal so how can Dr. Pol’s associate? 
       I agree that certain things make for great TV. However, as  veterinarians we know what is acceptable veterinary care and what is not. The pubic should know that also.

  • I agree with you, especially in the area I live and practice, the accepted standard of care is how you describe. However 15 years ago when I worked in a farm animal practice in a farming community the standard of care was almost exactly how Dr. Pol practices. Not everything was placed on gas anesthesia and we did not have a heating pad on the table for fear of burns (which I have seen from a $10 heating pad from Walmart). As for the mammary tumor what can I say I agree with you; however we charge considerably more than $25 to send in a sample. 

    Its easy to arm chair quarterback here and I agree that the current standard of care is higher than what is displayed on this program and there have been other shows that have displayed that standard. I’ll watch a few more.

  • Kittydoc29

    I graduated veterinary school 26 years ago. The standard of care has changed in the last 15 years. It is up to the veterinarians who practice to raise their standard accordingly. Living in a farming community is no excuse to practice in the past. There are excellent texts, internet classes, and conferences to keep you current. Believe me; in a town of 1500 farming people I don’t have money for all the “bells and whistles” either. I traded a dentist out of a laser. I buy equipment off ebay. I keep basic texts like Five Minute Consults around and always own the updated version ($100).  I work at keeping current for the sake of my patients. They deserve to give the best I can offer them. I also have no problem referring someone on if it is a surgery I can’t do or a case that has me stumped. From the looks of Dr. Pol’s home it is obvious that he does charge people for his services. He has a laser (advertised on a huge sign outside of his office), anesthesia machines, and a set of blood machines that I would gnaw off my right arm to have. That shows that he knows he should practice at a higher level; he just doesn’t. I mean, come on, you have a $40,000 set of blood machines yet you repair a leg fracture on a 70 pound calf with a half rotten board off a wooden basket (and don’t even stabilize the joint above and below at that)…Really…..Dr. Kathy Huenefeld

  • LOL – I love it! I agree. If all our industry would feel the same way then yes it would raise the standard of care for all animals. But remember now in school what you were taught about cow/calf fractures? Just get the two bones into the same room and they will heal 🙂

  • Kittydoc29

    My husband splinted a lot of baby calf leg fractures over the years. Usually the leg was fractured because an owner didn’t know how to use a calf jack. My husband usually used PVC pipe cut lengthwise front and back because it would give a lot of support, heavy cast padding, and duct tape. If the fracture hadn’t become an open one you had a shot at healing.  I helped at a busy salebarn for 9 years so I really do understand the “Hail Mary” approach sometimes used with cattle as you had one shot at a problem and the cow was usually trying to kill you. My husband actually had to give up the cattle work and transition into horses because a cow at the salebarn got him down and ripped out his shoulder.  I just have a problem with that same approach being used towards the pets. I’m just wondering what cases actually do qualify for the “laser surgery”  advertised on the banner in front of Dr. Pol’s office? 

  • Deb

    You couldn’t be Dr pol. That’s actually his name. Lmfao

  • hannidotimbo

    I am a licensed vet tech with over 30 years of experience.  I have seen my share of both good and bad veterinarians.  Dr. Pol is a nice guy but I wouldn’t let him treat any of my animals.  I am just going to come right out and say it.  The man is a QUACK..
    He needs to retire!!!

  • Dr. D.R. Janecek


      I’ve been a large animal Vet for over 47yrs. in rural ND,. I agree with Dr. Pol’s way of practise.  Out here you do the best you can, with what you have to work with in a cost effective manner…………Dr. D.R. Janecek Linton ND

  • Anonymous

    Agreed.  If it walks like a duck…

    I’m an equine veterinarian with over 10 years’ experience, and if I pulled anything like this in my rural community, I’d be sued for malpractice in a heartbeat.  AAMOF, one of my colleagues who has a practice very much like Dr. Pol’s has repeatedly been brought in front of the Board of Registration because of client complaints.

    I’m appalled that this television show, a golden opportunity to introduce non-veterinarians to the many capabilities of modern veterinarians, portrays someone who practices the finest standard of veterinary medicine, ca. 1975.  His son is a television producer who also appears in the show, which likely accounts of the lack of a critical eye.

  • Kate

    I have a hard time believing that anyone would want their dog on a steel table with two vets chopping of *part of a bone* with nothing other than some surgery gloves…no gown, no mask, no hat.  These are not “new fangled” things.  I have worked in low cost general practices as well as referral level critical care/referral clinics.  No matter how nice and earthy this guy seems, he is seriously behind current veterinary practices.  He is even behind the small town general practices from 15 years ago, before I graduated from vet school.  And the video of “bareback” rectal palpation?  Nope…fingernails, zoonotic disease, and parasites.  No thanks.  And it is considered to be beneath the standard of care to do dental procedures without endotracheal tubes.  I wonder how many animals he has done this with that have aspirated.  My first year out in practice I worked at a clinic like this…surgery under sedation only, no pain meds (like chopping out the vocal cords…no pain meds during surgery, none afterwards).  When I saw things like this happen, I knew it was time to move on.
    If the university where Dr. Pol is an adjunct professor sees this show, I hope they reconsider his position with the school.  

  • Msw420

    I agree with you 100% . I am an RVT (25 yrs) and would never put an animal at risk by not using monitoring equipment that is modern,and standard of practice. 

  • Jack

    Looks like DR.Pol is lacking alot of standard of care,stuff that is just common sence. I dont think this guy is gonna last too long on TV from all the wrong and NOT doings we are seeing.

  • I seen on this episode that he had used starting fluid to put a cast on a calf with a broken leg , what was the reason for the starting fluid ?

  • jajaj

    Stupid people Dr.pol is a wonderful person

  • transformiceAJ


  • jajaj

    At least he saves “some animals” but at least he does not say “hey, idc let em’ die so be thankful! if you were him i’d bet YOU WOULD SLACK OFF :I

  • Pol friend

    Hello, i work in the Pol Vetrinary servivces, im just a helper, i dont have a full time job. I have watches him and he does everything right and everyones “hate websites and comments can stop. at least he saves animals and i agree with “jaja”

  • Stomp out pol haters

    Im guest and i cant do a “thumbs up” but i would if i could Judy! =^-^=