An Open Letter to the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine

I don't envy you as you meet this Thursday to address, among other agenda items, what to do about Dr. Pol.  

You must fulfill the "obligation to take disciplinary action against licensees who have adversely affected the public's health, safety, and welfare" (1) by upholding the established standards of your state (2).  

You have, in multiple episodes of the "Incredible Dr. Pol" show, inarguable violations of the Public Health Code by failure to meet established state standards.  These violations are committed by a licensee who is already on probation after having been found guilty of negligence and incompetence.  Said licensee has since publicly stated he feels "that his clinic made no mistakes in the case" and was misled at his hearing (3).

Said licensee has two associates, both also on probation after having been found guilty of negligence and incompetence while in his employ.  One was found guilty in the same complaint (4, 5) and one in a different case (6).  The second complaint also involved a case resulting in potentially avoidable death.  

But while you must prosecute failure to meet minimum standards, you must not persecute.  Dr. Pol is a caring, dedicated professional who has day and night answered the call to provide service to his clients and their animals for 41 years.  That commands respect and requires that his dignity be guarded and his reputation upheld throughout the proceedings against him.

But proceeding against this one veterinarian will not address the reason I started the petition (7) on, calling on National Geographic to cancel the show.  It will not prevent the portrayal of substandard care as acceptable. Nor will it prevent the provision of substandard care in the first place. To those ends, I ask you to consider enacting the following policies:

If on probation, a licensee 

-may not teach or host externs, students, preceptors, volunteers or anyone seeking instruction or demonstration of practice;
-may not speak, write, serve as an expert witness in court or appear in any media for public broadcast in the role of a licensed professional;
-must have the license immediately suspended if evidence of new or continuing violation is observed;
-must demonstrate not only attendance at continuing education but mastery of the material presented AND application in practice of what was mastered.
Additionally, a letter from the Board to National Geographic would ensure that the producers are aware the licensed professionals featured on the show are, in fact, not fully licensed in the state of Michigan, due to violations of the Michigan minimum practice standards.  

On behalf of the almost 1500 veterinarians, technicians, assistants and animal owners who signed the petition- and the hundreds of thousands of clients and animals we represent- I thank you for the attention you will give this matter when you meet tomorrow night.  We look forward to your response.


Eden Myers DVM


For the benefit of those wishing to consult the background material of this situation:

(1) Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine authority and constitution 

(2) MVMA Minimum Recommended Standards for Companion Animal Veterinary Practices

(3) "The Incredible Dr Pol" Asserts Innocence Despite Board Discipline

(4) Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine complaint and order against Dr Jan Pol  

(5) Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine complaint and order against Dr. Brenda Grettenberger

(6) Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine complaint and order against Dr. Eric Gaw

(7) National Geographic: Cancel the "Incredible Dr. Pol"

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Showing 12 reactions

commented 2015-02-28 01:13:34 -0500 · Flag
Dr. Myers, I would hope you are intelligent enough to realize that what you see on ant television show is edited and does not display many details of what has occurred.
Filing a complaint based on what you saw,on a TV show makes me question your abilities, based on this i would never let you treat any animals I own and would recommend others do the same.
commented 2015-01-28 00:07:35 -0500 · Flag
When you see a tv show, you don’t see everything that is happening. He could very well be providing pain relief and we just don’t see if. even if he’s no providing pain relief, it doesn’t make him a bad vet. Any vet I’ve been too, pain meds are optional after surgery, every time I’ve had an animal spay or neutered I’m asked if I want pain medication and antibiotics, they give the cost with the meds and the cost without.
commented 2014-12-06 12:18:22 -0500 · Flag
Multiple vets and veterinary organizations have both contacted Dr. Pol personally and contacted NatGeo to serve as unpaid technical advisors. Dr. Pol was ordered by the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine, a state regulatory body, to get education and pay a fine in one case that resulted in death. They are prosecuting another case against him now.

A solution to this problem is to hold Dr. Pol accountable for upholding the standards he agreed to when he sought and accepted the privilege of a license to practice medicine in the state of Michigan. Contrary to your belief, Dr. Pol’s license being revoked would not leave the state of Michigan without access to veterinary care.

There are numerous other providers in his area- all of whom are able to meet the standards of care established by Dr. Pol’s own peer group.

Aseptic field operations, both emergency and routine, are done EVERY DAY on farms in Michigan. Farm animals are treated with kindness, skill and pain medication, in both emergency and routine situations , EVERY DAY on farms across Michigan,. The truly sad part is that Dr. Pol doesn’t even bother to adhere to aseptic technique or provide pain relief in the clinic with pets, much less on farms.
commented 2014-12-06 11:11:09 -0500 · Flag
Will pulling the show solve anything? No because there isn’t any other show in place that supports your view of care. Does this show do more good than bad? Yes, it gives city folk a chance to see a bit of country. Not everyone do does things by the book. Before we had “sterile” conditions most animals were treated where they were or somebody’s barn. Do you expect to create sterile conditions when an emergency surgery would save an animals life and you our out in the middle of nowhere? People know what care they want their animals to receive if they didn’t like how Dr. Pol treated their animals they don’t have to use his services. Budget care or substandard care as you put is sometimes all people can afford to save their fur baby. Did you contact Dr. Pol and offer to review more of the up to date practices with him that you say he is not using? We are always quick to start a witch hunt but never quick to truly help solve the problem. Getting Dr. Pol’s licence revoked will only leave the people of Michigan without vet care. He has been the vet of many people there for years and has quite a large client base. So stop your witch hunt and actually provide a resolution for the problem you so admittedly have with Dr. Pol that benefits everyone not just your self righteousness.
commented 2014-09-20 23:59:44 -0400 · Flag
Just how many “accidents” is Dr Brenda Grettenberger allowed to have that cause deaths in animals??? With the show being edited I’m terrified to know the true number of unjustified deaths her “accidents” have caused.
commented 2013-12-25 14:15:37 -0500 · Flag
Thank you
commented 2013-02-21 00:52:19 -0500 · Flag
NatGeo doesn’t show that. NatGeo shows him practicing care which does not meet the accepted, prevailing standard of care in his professional community. He has been sanctioned by the board of veterinary medicine for negligence and incompetence. Not so awesome.
commented 2013-02-19 14:59:36 -0500 · Flag
Give it a break..He is an awesome vet..
commented 2013-02-03 00:28:21 -0500 · Flag
I think Dr. Pol dose a fantastic job. He is thorough and he definitely knows what to do and how to treat animals.
If all that is lacking is paperwork then I think people are going on a witch hunt and using Dr. Pol as the witch.
When any doctor graduates medical school they need on the job training (internship) before they are allowed to practice alone. 30 plus years of Dr. Pol’s training allows him to diagnose and treat the animals from experience rather than tbousands of dollars in medical testing that these farmers don’t have to spend. I enjoy Dr. Pol’s show and have never seen him do any treatment that I thought was inappropriate, harmful, dangerous or unnecessary. He treats his patients and clients with respect and does his best to give great service inside a budget that they can afford.
It sounds like to me that there are a bunch of jealous people that wish tbey had a tv series and the knowledge and experience that Dr. Pol has.
I guarentee that any of his critics would be under the same microscope and fault would be found in their practice if they had their own veteranery show.
So enjoy the show or don’t watch it but get off your hi-horse and let a talented doctor and staff do a job and entertain us with their veteranary skills.
I have always heard people in glass houses should not throw rocks. Some of you won’t get the meaning of the previous sentence but it means if your in veteranary practice your not perfect and your going to make mistakes. And your going to outed for your mistakes. So don’t throw rocks at people because you just might get caught having the rocks thrown back at you and you will be in the spotlight for your failures.
So find a worth while cause where someone is really doing wrong and start your patitions on that.
@truebookaddict tweeted link to this page. 2012-10-24 22:20:06 -0400
An Open Letter to the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine
@leopardcur retweeted @JustavetFromSDN 2012-10-24 12:56:51 -0400
An Open Letter to the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine
commented 2012-10-24 12:54:28 -0400 · Flag
I thank you for speaking in behalf if our fur family who cannot speak for themselves.
Just vet data
Uphold the standards of veterinary medicine