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Why the Bureau of Health Care Services v. Dr. Pol is so important

Dr. Jan Pol was found guilty of not meeting required minimum standards of veterinary care, but his conviction 
and penalty were reversed

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Dr. Pol, practicing veterinarian in rural Michigan, the star of the National Geographic TV series The Incredible Dr. Pol, is the subject of recent scrutiny.
Photo courtesy National Geographic Channel

 Any time you have an aggrieved owner in your practice, you face the potential for a veterinary board investigation and immediate risk to your veterinary license. Veterinary boards represent the greatest threat to your right to practice your profession, which is why it’s vitally important that you do everything in your power to ensure that your state regulator conducts its proceedings to the highest standards of justice.

The veterinary profession has many reasons to thank the Michigan Court of Appeals; it has been more than one year since this court made its judgement in Bureau of Health Care Services v Jan H Pol DVM, and the value and importance of its anticipated decision to practicing veterinarians has not diminished.

The easiest and most effective way to describe standards of veterinary board administrative actions is as a list of rights that vest with the accused veterinarian. Most state veterinary regulators in the U.S., Canada, and across the world appear to have great difficulty in managing the disciplinary process while still giving full recognition to the many rights of the accused veterinarian. In fact, some boards appear to ignore the rights of veterinarians altogether. The court took great pains to set out how Dr. Pol’s due process rights were violated and how the Michigan regulator failed to live up to its obligations.

Veterinary licensing boards are charged with setting and regulating standards of veterinary practice. It is the function of the courts, in turn, to oversee the standards of veterinary discipline applied by these regulatory boards and to provide guidance to veterinary boards in carrying out this function.

To recap the scenario

Dr. Jan Pol is a practicing veterinarian in rural Michigan and the star of the National Geographic TV series The Incredible Dr. Pol. Following a complaint of substandard veterinary practice regarding Dr. Pol’s surgery and treatment of a Boston terrier named Mr. Pigglesworth, the Michigan state veterinary regulator and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (DLRA) found Dr. Pol guilty of not meeting required minimum standards of veterinary care and censured him. Dr. Pol then took this finding on appeal to the court, which then reversed his conviction 
and penalty.

The first criticism that the court had of the DLRA was that Dr. Pol was held to be negligent and incompetent, even though he successfully saved Mr. Pigglesworth’s life and the patient made a full recovery. Naturally, the fact a patient makes a full recovery is not proof that the treating veterinarian met the minimum standards of care. As we all know, there are many patients that have made a full recovery despite the treatment that was provided! The court made the interesting point that, while it recognizes that the definition of incompetence in the legislation does not require proof of actual injury, the court fails to see how the successful outcome in a particular case can be ignored when the allegations of negligence and incompetence are based upon that single case alone.

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This is a major failing with all veterinary boards: Most cases in which a veterinarian is accused of negligence and incompetence relate only to one single case. As we are all aware, no veterinarian can ever hope to cure every patient, and owner-filed complaints, by their very nature, pertain only to those cases in which the outcome was adverse. It would be far better for veterinary regulators to frame their allegations in terms of “failure to meet required standards in a particular case” rather than as “incompetence” and “negligence.” The latter terms might be appropriate only where there was evidence of a pattern stretching over many cases.

The primary cause for the DLRA’s failure on appeal was that it had relied on two vaguely worded provisions in the Michigan Public Health Code, together with expert evidence, on which to base the prosecution and conviction. These provisions generally refer to the “violation of general duty, consisting of negligence or failure to exercise due care, including negligent delegation to or supervision of employees or other individuals, whether or not injury results, or any conduct, practice, or condition 
that impairs, or may impair, the ability to safely and skilfully engage in the practice of the health profession.” Incompetence is defined in the code as “a departure from, or failure to conform to, minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing practice for a health profession, whether or not actual injury to an individual occurs.” The DLRA then called various expert witnesses who testified that, in their opinion, Dr. Pol’s standards of care failed to meet the standards set out in these provisions.

The court found there is no actual legal requirement in Michigan that determines a veterinarian must carry out surgery in a sterile environment, wear surgical gloves, a gown, a mask, and a cap during surgery, provide intravenous therapy, use specific types of anesthesia, or provide specific forms of postoperative treatment or nursing. Therefore, the court found that there is no basis in law on which to establish a violation when these are not followed. What the DLRA did, in effect, was fabricate the case against Dr. Pol out of thin air, based on two vague, general provisions and the opinions of carefully selected witnesses. When you think about it, it’s a standard of justice no higher than what the witches of Salem received during their trials.

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It is clear that, for the prosecution of a veterinarian to have any validity, the alleged violation must be clearly and specifically proscribed in legislation, widely accepted by the profession, and freely available for any veterinarian to read before committing the alleged violation, so that the veterinarian is under no illusion that this action or omission would constitute a violation.

Beyond trial allegations

Another common due process rights violation of a veterinarian occurs when the trial goes beyond the allegations levelled against the veterinarian. In Dr. Pol’s case, the DLRA determined that Dr. Pol had violated sections of the code not mentioned in the allegations against him and had introduced evidence against him that went beyond the allegations. The court was clear that the law does not allow a person to be found guilty of violations that were not contained in the charges made against them. One of our universal basic rights, contained in the right to due process, is to be provided with full details of the case against us, so that we are given adequate opportunity to fully prepare our defense to allegations made against us. To introduce new allegations, or to question witnesses beyond the scope of the allegations or to find the veterinarian guilty of allegations with which he had not been charged, are common failings by veterinary regulatory authorities.

At Dr. Pol’s trial, the court considered whether his admissions to three allegations had established a breach of duty, negligence, or incompetence in terms of the code. The court was clear on making the distinction between a “common standard procedure” and incompetence/negligence, and that failure to carry out the former can never automatically equate with the latter. In short, even if the majority of the profession believed it is a required minimum standard of veterinary practice to administer intravenous fluids following a car accident, the fact this is not written in law means that an individual veterinarian who does not do so in a particular case cannot be criticized for having failed to do so.

A fundamental basis for Dr. Pol’s defense had been that the owner had placed a financial limit on the treatment of $300, failing which the dog would have been euthanized. The DLRA had argued that cost is an irrelevant factor in relation to the provision of minimum standards of care. The court rejected this argument, stating that wherever an owner places a cost restraint on treatment, particularly where euthanasia is the alternative, cost must play a role in the veterinarian’s decision-making process. The court noted that this represented a stark difference between veterinary medicine and human medicine. This is an interesting decision, as it runs contrary to the approach used by most veterinary boards around the world. Many veterinarians have been disciplined for failing to provide care to minimum standards, even when the owner would have been unable to afford to pay for these standards.

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The court concluded there was no reasonable basis on which Dr. Pol could have been found guilty; further, it couldn’t say that the guilty finding was supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence on the whole record or that the evidence submitted established a clear standard of care that Dr. Pol had violated. Therefore, the court was obliged to set aside the conviction and penalty.

Obviously, it’s important that practicing veterinarians are familiar with the regulations that govern the practice of veterinary medicine in their jurisdiction. But it is even more important, when faced with defending a filed complaint, that veterinarians don’t take the situation at face value and simply accept the board’s process.

The real value of the Pol decision is to illustrate that the standard of justice with veterinary boards can be particularly poor, that the disciplinary process is complicated and fraught, and that veterinarians are unlikely to be accorded the standard of justice to which they are entitled. There are many frivolous, vexatious, or groundless complaints filed against veterinarians each year, yet these are taken seriously by veterinary regulators. You may easily find your license under threat even though you don’t believe that the allegations against you are substantial or fair, and it is important for you to fight hard to protect your right to practice veterinary medicine. In fact, it behooves the entire veterinary profession to be ever vigilant and vocal when boards do not carry out their function properly. After all, you never know when it will be your turn next.

Dr. David Carser graduated as a veterinarian in 1982 and obtained his law degree and Certificate in Medicine and Law in 2000. He co-founded the Veterinary Defence Association in 1992 and the Chicago-based Veterinary Defence Association (America) in 2009. Contributors’ opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Veterinary Practice News.

69 thoughts on “Why the Bureau of Health Care Services v. Dr. Pol is so important

  1. I would draw a slightly different message from the ruling. The case strikes me as less about due process and more about the fundamental concept of a standard of care. Effectively, it reinforces that no standard of care exists for most veterinary practice, and even when one does, it ceases to apply if an owner claims financial limitations preclude them from taking advantage of it. Other board cases also illustrate the general principle that virtually any medical practice delivered in good faith appears to be acceptable, particularly if the client also believes it to be effective or if it cannot be directly shown to have inured or killed a patient (e.g. http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2011/01/dr-gloria-dodd-a-case-study-in-the-failure-of-government-regulation-of-veterinary-medicine/).

    Science and scientific evidence are, from a legal perspective, irrelevant in determining what is reasonable medical practice and what is not. The courts will not take on the role of setting medical standards, nor should they since their expertise is legal, not medical. Unfortunately, the profession, and organizations such as the AVMA, also refuse to take a position on most standard-of-care questions, preferring to protect practitioner autonomy (and income) over the welfare of patients or the interests of owners. In this environment, it sometimes seems as if anything goes, medically speaking.

    Court are rightly concerned about fraud, deliberate cruelty, inappropriate use of controlled drugs, inappropriate treatment of clients and staff, and non-medical behavior. But no one in the legal or veterinary domain seems to believe that establishing science-based standards of care for medical behavior is important for protection of the public despite the monopoly on practice of veterinary medicine granted by the licensure system. Even cases which draw outrage from veterinarians and animal welfare advocates or which seem obvious and egregious are often acceptable from a narrow legal point of view.

    It is appropriate, of course, to protect the rights of the accused. But I suspect it more often the lack of meaningful action in response to putative malpractice results from, as you point out, the vague and meaningless nature of veterinary practice acts, and the absence of anything substantive that can be viewed as an enforceable standard of care. As a clinician, I suppose I should be grateful to have such autonomy and protection from challenges to my judgement and practices. However, I can’t help but be a little uncomfortable by the notion that science and evidence play negligible roles in determining acceptable and unacceptable medical practice and that the public is largely left to the mercy of the beliefs of individual veterinarians and the views of a legal system not designed to consider science as a critical element to protection of the public from inappropriate or ineffective medical practice. There is a reason such medical anarchism was largely replaced in the 20th century in human medicine, and for all the trouble intrusive government regulation can cause, cases like those of Dr. Pol and Dr. Gloria Dodd seem to suggest we may have strayed too far in the direction of caveat emptor.

    1. Brilliant response! And, as you state so eloquently, an extremely pathetic reflection on both our profession and the ramifications of a complete lack of any reasonable standard of care…
      Lack of death is NOT an appropriate measure of medical success…
      As someone who has practiced in both rural and semi-rural areas, the trope that we cannot provide quality medicine and adhere to an actual standard of care simply does not stand up to scrutiny (even though LEGALLY, we could spit into the incisions we make).
      As a specialist and a clinical bioethicist, I found this ruling to be violating on so many levels.
      Yes, we need to protect the rights of the accused, but just as importantly, we have a bioethical obligation to protect the rights of our patients to enjoy a circumstance in which the veterinary professionals entrusted with their lives do not recklessly put them directly into harm’s way.
      “There is a reason such medical anarchism was largely replaced in the 20th century in human medicine…” Well stated, Dr. McKenzie, well stated.

  2. A lot of people are jealous of this doctor if the patient makes a full recovery and lives life to the fullest don’t complain. There are a lot of doctors out there that will tell you in a heart beat that if you do not have just and just x amount of dollars then go look elsewhere. Dr. Pol would never do that. He would walk out of that door before he would ever harm a animal..

    1. There are also a lot of people who may seek to file a suit against a particular veterinarian who has a high profile in his community – certainly Dr. Pol is a high profile individual. State boards aside, each veterinarian establishes for himself or herself what standard of care they will hold themselves up to – on a personal level. There are those vets who will do anything for a dollar, and there are those who will provide whatever care they can without losing too much – because after all, it is a business. Most veterinarians end up giving away a lot of what they do for free – that ultimately becomes part of the reward veterinary practice. Kudos to the Court for making DRLA take a dose of their own medicine!

    2. Amen!!! I completely agree with you! The complaints started when a vet filed a complaint against him and didn’t even live in Michigan. It was pure jealousy.

  3. Reading the Appeals Court decision, there is no indication that Mr. Pigglesworth’s owner was involved in the complaint. The complaint was made to DRLA by an out-of-state veterinarian whose knowledge of the case was obtained solely from watching Dr. Pol’s TV program. Seems like a bit of a witch hunt, but with a predetermined and biased attitude as though the DRLA had been looking for an excuse.

    https://law.justia.com/cases/michigan/court-of-appeals-unpublished/2016/327346.html

  4. How about all the vets griping read the disclaimers at the beginning of the show! If you don’t agree with his methods don’t use him as your vet. Thousands will disagree with you. Old school methods are often cheaper and just as effective as spending thousands on new equipment and other “required” crap.

    1. As a human physician I find it tragically comical that there are so many DVM’s sitting on their royal high a** pontificating about so called standards of care..which itself is a moving target. I have practiced long enough to know and see physicians performing vascular catheterizations in street clothes and wearing the same shoes without covers that they where at their home. No face masks, no hats, just a surgical gown and sterile gloves. After a time that evolved to full surgical attire with scrubs, hat, mask, gown, gloves , and mandated pre-procedure surgical scrub. Yet again, evolution occurred. Now, hat and masks are generally only used if there is to be a piece of technology implanted…
      And this is in a setting where physician and patient are susceptible to the same infectious organisms.
      If Dr.Pol violated some ivory towers standards, how about giving some peer reviewed references that prove your point. After all, are we not all to be practicing our respective specialities using best practices based on solid research?!?
      Better yet, how about providing a profession accepted, published standards of care for your specialty..

  5. What’s up with the campy night cap with Dr. Pol? They should go back to the way it was originally filmed. This new format is so hokey.

  6. I tuned in today at a point in the show where the brusk female vet was in the process of delivering two calves. The poor cow was on the floor foaming at the mouth and groaning with pain and distress. The vet,irritated, said, “Get on with it, you dumb cow!” The farmer was suffering a distress of his own, considering what his cow was going through. What is a woman with such insensitivity doing on a show such as this one.

    Dr. Pol himself, too often handles small, sick animals with a heavy hand. He is not a gentle person by nature, yet struts about with an air of self-importance.
    His son, Charles however, brings a most positive counter-balance to the crude mannerisms of his father.

    1. Oh Grow up! Or don’t watch the show.
      These animals are livestock. You can’t move them to OR to work on them.
      The care of the animals has to fit the use the animals are being put tool
      Farmers cannot afford to send their animals to speciality clinics. People
      with pie-in-the-sky dreams like yours will force the farmers to euthanize
      rather than spend the farm on saving them. Wake up and smell the coffee.

    2. I couldn’t agree with you MORE!
      I would NEVER allow old, Cold-hearted Dr. Pol – or the other Pol’s
      to touch my Animals. NEVER!!!

      I cringe as he apparently RUPTURED
      little Ear Drums, and seems to literally Enjoy
      hurting Animals with his Heavy-Hand, Doesn’t-Give a Damn Attitude
      &
      Tremendous Lack of kindness!!

      CANCEL HIS SHOW!!!

      HORRIBLE!!

      1. Are you for real??? You must be a city person. We have been in farming for 45 years and I would have given anything to have Dr. Pol as our vet. There aren’t that many large animal vets to come to you. There were times we had to wait long hours for a vet that sometimes never showed up. If you don’t like the show don’t watch. But for me his show gives a lot of information for when you’re on your own to do what needs to be done to help the animal. Apparently you have never had to work on a animal where time is the essence.

      2. I’m a big animal lover and wouldn’t hesitate to take my 2 fur babies to him. He has decades of experience. He spends more time with and treats animals better than most human doctors treat their patient’s these days! He and the other docs put their lives in danger when they treat livestock. I would like to see how gentle you haters would be in a confined space with a 2,000 lb cow bellowing in pain! They get kicked, pushed and bitten quite often. He also treats ALL animals, which most vets won’t do. And he’s good with kids and explaining how to care for the pets. I learn something every week watching his show. Two thumbs up!

      3. you sound bitter as well as ignorant. grow up. you obviously know zero re real situations compared to faked edited ones. i prefer blunt honest ppl who care over sappy stupid blubbering folk like yourself lol

      4. Callihan, I can agree with you but only to a point. If this were your dog or cat that were your close companion that you spent the majority of your time with and grieve deeply over when I’ll or in loss, ya well, bovine, be it for milk or meat are not pets. They are a tool, a commodity, providing income. If by your standards the vet was insensitive, your out of touch with reality. The rancher was likely upset he was about to loose dollars and cents if the cow died. If you want touchy-feely watch go watch a Hallmark channel. Oh and in case you’re not aware dairy cattle are a number on a spreadsheet not a pet with a cute name. The cow is milked, bred in turn for offspring for its replacement when production drops below minimum daily output. It’s taken off for slaughter to provide meat and hide. Think about the shoes you ware the leather seats in your car or the stakes you BBQ next game day. Wake up take your feelings off your sleeve. Oh stay away from dairy case and the meat counter next time you’re in the market. Cause I’m restively sure the the Milker at 4am had very little compassion wiping off the cowes teets before putting the milking machine on or in the slaughter house the worker didn’t caress and pet the animal prior to putting the Pithing gun to the cows head before pulling the trigger. So you want compassion turn off that one eyed idiot you sit and stair at for hours on end get up off your smug laurels go pet your dog and hug your family, go out into the world and look at life for what it really is. Learn from it, cause it’s not all bad and it’s certainly not all touchy-feely ether.

      5. Dr. Pol is not insensitive, he is no nonsense. There is a difference. He knows animals and has forgotten more than most other vets know. If he thinks there is a chance, he will tell you. He was raised on a farm, he understands farmers.
        I think it is a personality conflict thing…he can be abrupt, tell it like it is and
        some people can’t handle that. He knows his stuff, gets it done and he’s on to the next thing he has to get done. The ones who understands him accepts him, loves him, and wants no other vets. They think he’s the best. I would want him for my animals!

  7. I agree with the commentor before me-about the female vet who works in Pol’s practice-she shocked me with her insensitivity toward the poor pregnant cow. Thank goodness she isn’t a human physician. Dr. Pol is Dutch and has an old world approach to his treatment of animals. I think he loves his work and the critters he treats but doesn’t treat them as gentle as one would a human patient….

  8. He is Old School ..He does his best ..He dont Rob People ..Its Not always Pretty ..But in most Cases The Animals or Pets Survive ..And the only reason they Survive is because ..Dr Poll …H Has keep his Pricing down ..And because of that alot of Animals live that might have otherwise have been Euthanized..He saved a Dogs live for 300 bucks and was dragged thought the mud for it

  9. Dr Pol and his office sure seem wonderful to this 70 yr old who has lived with large animals and a not unlimited budget for 65 yrs. He offers the down to earth animal (not human) medical care which works for me! His wisdom iand experience are amazing. Well meaning less experienced vets have killed many animals of mine over the years. Bravo Dr Pol and affiliated vets. Wish you were closer to our home in TX! Thanks for doing what you do and being available 24/7.

  10. Dr. Pol seems to do a lot of limb amputations. Rarely have I seen him try to save an animal’s limb. In most cases he decides to amputate. He also seems to often opt to remove an eye rather than try to save it.

    This pattern was what I’ve observed after watching many episodes of Dr. Pol’s reality TV show.

    1. Then you really haven’t watched that many I have seen him time after time saving animals leg I have seen many a calf born dead that he has brought back many vets immediately euthanize dogs with parvo not so for these vets shame on those of you who are so quick to judge I think Dr. Pol is a good vet who most definitely cares about the animals

    2. not true. there are only a few ppl like you who enjoy lying n putting pol down…you are prob another vet or some other jealous or ignorant slob. get a life already! you are clueless!!

  11. Dr. Pol is heavy handed at times, but i’d much rather go to him than the vet who told me re my dog, “give her two aspirin, put her in the basement and call me in the morning. We found a country doc who opened his office and treated her with great care that night. You can’t expect sterile conditions in a barn an farmers don’t have the time or money to go to clinic with a sick horse, cow or pig. One vet’s off told me it would be $15,000 for castration on two puppies – because they were not nine months ols… Out to the country again for $75.00. I watched DrEmily perform a cesarian on a cow standing up in a barn – very professional considering where she was working. I hope Dr. Pol and his clinic is around for many years to come.

  12. I really miss his shows. He loves animals and so do I. He may have his differences but they work. Good luck to you Dr. Pol. N. Gorenc

  13. Imagine having your eye taken out with just sedation and not being under anesthesia…. imagine having your femoral head removed with just sedation and not being under anesthesia. There’s probably a lot of post-op complications you don’t see since he does not perform surgeries in a sterile manner (infection, high failure rates). It is cruel to do this to these poor pets. His clients don’t know any better.

    1. you cant bring a cow or a horse to the vet’s office. Dr Pol is a real veterinarian with skills. He is not a text book vet . That kind of vet cant read an animal all they do is go through the policy and procedures they think it might be. This kind of vet costs people $$$$$ because it is test after test. Dr Pol might use old ways etc, but I would rather have that then someone who just wants to charge you.

      Also before anyone judges Dr Pol they should think about how he helps animals. That is what a vet is. Some times you dont have an ideal place or situation, sometimes you our in the field and have to do what you have to do.

    2. They remove cataracts from human eyes without anesthesia. They do brain surgery on humans without anesthesia! I had bones in my foot sawed in half and pinned with just sedation to the foot! General anesthesia is very risky for many animals. It’s also much more expensive and most pet owners don’t have the money for it. Farmers raise livestock to MAKE money. He follows up treatment with antibiotics so infection rates are probably much lower than you think. Not possible to have a sterile room when performing surgery on a horse in a field!

  14. After 28 years as a vegetarian I began to watch Dr. Pol’s tv show two years ago. I have to thank him for showing me the terrible and abusive lives most animals suffer, especially farm animals. I am now a vegan, and much happier for it. Dr. Pol strikes me as being rough with the animals, not especially concerned about their pain, and willing to stick his filthy hands into all sorts of wounds and injuries.

    1. You might be a vet for 28 years but it seems you dont have the practice that he does and you should not compare.

      As far as him being rough and not concerned I dont seen that at all. I have have a registered kennel for over 50 years (a hobby not a business)
      I see that he cares but he is practical and does what he has to do.
      The filthy hands is not true either you dont see all of the show, If he is at a farm and has his glove on and his hand in a cow what to you think he does, gets in his car and drive off with cow poop I have seen him hose his boots and his hands off. He does what he has to do.

      1. just can’t help myself here…take another look at the spelling of the text you cited and then rethink your response…I’ll give you a hint…vegetarian does not equal veterinarian…

  15. I live in Ohio & wish Dr. Pol was closer to home. I enjoyed watching his shows & never saw him abuse any animal. He does
    snakes & tiny animals. I hope he gets back on tv because all
    of the workers (Emily & Brenda)plus new helpers did alot to
    help in the office & Charles did alot with the big farm animals. Try to get a vet 24/7 is unthinkable. Emily & Brenda
    were on call alot too.Vets in Ohio aren’t cheap.Be thankful that you have a vet that REALLY cares.

  16. I have been wondering why I couldn’t find Dr.Pol. So sad he is not on tv anymore. I realize Dr. Pol must be in his late 70’s and even he wears out. I, too, have learned a lot watching the show. My husband says I should have been a vet, a little late now since I’m 83.

    1. Watching 12 days of Pol now and their promos say they’re coming back in January 2019 unless I’m missing the memo. I love Dr. Pol and wish he could be my vet. He’s straight forward, tells it like it is, doesn’t give false promises about prognosis. If you’ve never seen him wash or sterilize his hands and/or arms then you’ve missed it and when there’s a major emergency where time is imperative he doesn’t waste time donning gloves but he does disinfectant, they all do (vets). Besides when he started the techniques were different than today. We don’t see everything because, after all, it is an hour show with commercials and edited. We don’t see what happens when cameras aren’t there or what’s on the editing room floor. If you don’t like him, easy fix, don’t watch it. What I like most is he’s a teacher for anyone who pays attention. After watching him I asked my own equine vet if he would allow ridealongs simply to watch and learn. Any younger vet like the vet who filed the original complaint seems to me is irresponsible because she filed a complaint based solely on what she saw a popular, old school vet doing on a edited tv show, also seems more jealousy than concern. JMO of course.

  17. The vets where I live want the $ first or they’ll tell you to take your sick or injured pet home and hope for the best or let them die. I love Dr. Pol but I watch the show for entertainment not education. I’m sure even his practice wants their money to treat.

  18. Kudos to the Mich Court of Appeals. I gotta wonder if the vet who took it upon themselves to file this case is from CA, where common sense need not apply. Seriously, if this had been upheld, then the resulting options would’ve been 1)vets MUST absorb costs for an undefined std of care or 2)vets must refuse to treat animals that could cost them their license over that same undefined std (wondering if that is not already the case for many vets–would you endanger YOUR livelihood for 1 pet????) Don’t get me wrong, I love animals too! But trying to legally enforce an undefined std and trying to make that std slide towards treating animals like humans(?!!) Is just crazy, and a good way to actually lose vets.

  19. I would give anything to have a group of vets around me like this group. They are not afraid to be open and honest regarding any pet they work on.
    I have received a lot of helpful information from this show and have learned a lot regarding everything from a small animal to a large one.
    They are all willing to go the extra mile to help all of their patients.
    I agree that if you can’t handle it or don’t like what you’re seeing, quit watching or go back to your feel good shows.

  20. I hope most people condemning Dr. Pol for doing too many amputations and eye removals realize this show is heavily edited. Showing extreme cases and procedures makes for better tv. I have been watching the marathon shows over the past few days and there have been many cases where he, Dr. Emily and Dr. Brenda have all opted to do splints on animals with broken legs that couldn’t be surgically fixed – including a calf and a goat, among others – rather than remove the leg. Just an observation.

  21. Dr Jan Pol, je bent an Nederlander net als ik!!! Ik ben in Enshede geboren. Ik geniet van jou show!!!Ik ben in het voorjaar gestopt bij de practijk. Ik ben ondertussen ook al 50 jaar hier.Hey, ik mag het weer proberen om iedreen te zien. Vele van mijn vrienden hier in Van Buren, Findlay en omgeving hebben de zelfde liefde voor jullie allemaal! En wat er gebeurt met al dat gedonder met mensen die het niet eens met jou zijn, JALLOUSY!!! Jij en Diana zijn fantasties. Laat iedereen weten dat ze allemaal gelieft zijn.

    Gonny McCracken, 14037 Co.Rd. 109 Van Buren, Ohio.

    1. In case you don’t speak Dutch here is a translation:
      Dr Jan Pol, you are an Dutchman like me !!! I was born in Enshede. I enjoy your show !!! I stopped in the spring at the practice. I have been here for 50 years now. Hey, I can try again to see everyone. Many of my friends here in Van Buren, Findlay and the surrounding area have the same love for all of you! And what happens with all that bad with people who disagree with you, JALLOUSY !!! You and Diana are fantastic. Let everyone know that they are all happy.

  22. I think dr. Pol is a wonderful veterinarian. He’s compassionate and truly cares about animals and he’s realistic. Every vet I have ever went to just wanted to charge you a lot of money to get my pets well and give up too easily and want to put the animals down when it’s a tough situation. Dr.pol tries to save every animal he possibly can. All all they teach new vets in school is all this new technology that cost animal lovers an arm and leg to treat their pets. Large animal veterinarians are much more realistic than just these vets that treat cats and dogs. A veterinary schools should take a lesson from Dr. Pol.

  23. I see nothing but compassion and care by all who are dealing with all the animals on The Incredible Dr. Pol .
    Thank goodness for their can do attitude and always willing to educate.
    Definitely a fan and enjoying 12 Days of The Incredible Dr. Pol.

    1. When he castrates poor bulls without any anesthesia block, I have to turn it off!! Same with putting a ring in the bulls nose. There is newer equipment to do the job, as evidenced by dr Chris Brown’s way of doing it without animal torture. Farm animals are no less a creature than your pet dog. They deserve proper anesthesia. Instead of chasing animals all over, he could use a device to blow dart medicine. If you watch the farmers, I think they are shocked at how he treats the animals. They scream in pain. I think it is animal abuse and the board in Michigan should set some standards. They basically have no standards to treat animals. Dr pol is a type A personality. Seems immune to animal cries of pain, and just wants to get the job done and move on.

      1. What show are you watching? Dr. Pol gives anesthesia every time he castrates. Have you ever worked around cattle? I couldn’t imagine trying to castrate a big bull, horse, without anesthesia. If Dr Pol didn’t know what he was doing or was dangerous he wouldn’t have customers and wouldn’t have a show.

      2. There is no way you are an RN. I know way too many and you dont have the personality or attitude. If in fact you are one then tell me where so I may make sure none of my family ever steps foot in that death trap you call a set of legs.. I mean a workplace.

      3. Judy…You really need to get out of the city once in a while and go to an actual, working cattle ranch and witness the castration process.

  24. First of all, may I say, that I am a physician for humans… I discovered Dr. Pol recently and I am now a huge fan! I admire vets as they must know multiple species’ anatomies and systems. Dr. Pol isn’t all “Hollywood” as he wears his Wranglers and jumpsuits and the animals (unlike the Kardashians) are not aware of the camera, so they are not acting! This guy is a pro, has a great demeanor and is clearly talented! Dr. Pol, do what you do best and ignore the critics and the clueless board investigators.

  25. One of my favorite shows.He has a tremendous work ethic. But some of the tools he uses while on a farm visit look rusted. Get some new ones!

  26. This dude is putting on a show. Heavily edited to manipulate the sheep like any reality show. His real strength is a vast amount of animal medical knowledge, which is what drives the show. He is also very Kardashian in putting on a ad hoc poses for the camera. A more modern vet with wealthier clients and more modern equipment would be boring.

  27. Thanks to modern medicine most of you have blessed us in the gene pool. Dear god please do not procreate. You people are the reason for this country becoming what it has today. The reason why a hot cup of coffee has a warning label. You people make me sick. I can only hope that the next generation breeds you out of existence. Dr. Pol loves animals. He cares for his patients. Jump on someone else band wagon to go chase an ambulance or light a torch and try to burn someone for simply doing nothing more than something you yourself are incapable of doing or being.

  28. I think Dr. Pol is a great vet and a good person. I think it’s terrible that he was harassed with the legal system.
    I have 4 dogs and 2 horses. If I lived within driving distance, I would definitely go to Dr. Pol.

    I’m glad he won on appeal but it must have been very stressful for the nice family.
    I’m surprised that a nonparty to the case was allowed to bring this complaint.
    I understand from the article that the complaint was from an out of state vet who did not know the pet or the owner.
    That seems unfair to me.

    1. we live in Montréal and we do have good vets
      but if we where in Michigan Dr Pol would be our vet
      whish we soon see new seasons of the show

  29. I love Dr Pol and watch his show over and over. I learn a lot from his show. Would love to know all of them personally. Thanks Dr pol and work family

  30. Pls Dr.Pol I like to be like you not only like u but won’t to lean much about the veterinary and my talent is to take care of animals but I don’t know what to do for my wish to come true so pls try to give some advice and I am in west Africa which is in Ghana and I always watch ur show on nat geo wild on DStv

  31. I love Dr.Pol. I learn so much from him – he not only is an animal lover, he is an amazing teacher. I am so impressed by him that I have thought about making the long trip to Michigan just to meet this wonderful caring man!

  32. I’m not going to type 1000 words and give examples of our own dogs with other vets, but we’d go to Dr. Pol in a heartbeat if he wasn’t three hours away. As it is, we still drive our dogs to a vet who does a lot of farm animals as well and is an hour away because of the bond and trust we have. If any of you griping about his methods want to go to a chain-vet like VCA, go for it.

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