Tonight on The Incredible Dr. Pol there are lots of heartwarming happy endings for sick animals — and one special reveal for Charles Pol, Dr. Pol and Diane’s son.
Fans also get to see lots of urgent cases attended to by both Dr. Brenda and Dr. Emily, who gave us an exclusive interview about what happens below.
The episode, titled Pop! Goes the Beagle, opens with Lucy the beagle who appears to have a neck injury.
“They scream first and have pain later on,” says Dr. Pol of the vocal breed. Lucy is suspected of having a leash injury after a telling x-ray. Pain pills and time are her remedies.
Meanwhile, Dr. Brenda tends to a six-week-old calf named Patience with a broken leg. She makes a splint on the fly.
And then it’s…Alpaca time! The episode sees Dr. Pol visits Minnie, who collapsed when she went to be sheared. Her lethargic demeanor and diminished weight have Dr. Pol thinking it may be a parasite. Dr. Pol checks the feces. “Bingo,” he says as the slide reveals worms. He calls Jessica the owner to give her the good news.
The next day sees Dr. Brenda racing to a cow struggling in labor. Dice needs the calf puller and Dr. Brenda saves the baby!
Up next is Dumbo the piglet, and Dr. Emily investigates the swollen ear. Apparently, piglets get super aggressive and bite each other’s ears. This fair pig needs a beauty intervention as Dr. Emily lances the hematoma. Just like a dog, the ear must be cut open to clean it out. “Just juice and jelly,” says Dr. Emily. “I Iove helping out the kids and hopefully they can get some money at the fair.”
Segue to Charles and Dr. Pol as Charles says he needs some time off. A mysterious glance is exchanged between the two.
A blood trail has brought Cindy the 10-year-old black lab to visit Dr. Emily. The owners are scared as Cindy is producing blood on both ends.
Dr. Emily explains all the various things that can cause bloody diarrhea. An x-ray will determine if there is a foreign body causing a tear in the intestines. The x-ray reveals Cindy is bloated. Dr. Emily finds a bacteria overgrowth and treats Cindy’s upset gut with antibiotics.
Back to Julie’s calf Patience. Dr. Brenda’s splint worked. Happy ending there for all concerned.
At the main vet office, the Michigan springtime has netted a waiting room full of babies.
Emma the pup is up first. Time for vaccinations as Dr. Pol explains why they are so important.
Precious the rescue kitty is up next for Dr. Emily. Her lethargy is concerning. Dr. Emily notes her thinness and yellow color in her mucous membranes, indicating the cat is fighting a serious illness. Feline leukemia (a virus) is the first thing Dr. Emily needs to rule out.
The red blood cells are ruptured leading Dr. Emily to deliver the news. Steroids and antibiotics will mitigate the pain but not cure the disease. Precious will always be contagious.
As we wind down, we see Cindy the lab is on the mend.
Then, mama Diane furthers the “where is Charles” moment. Looks like Charles has big news coming that Dr. Pol shared with us a few weeks ago at the Television Critics Association!
A Belgian horse owned by an Amish family is in dire straits. A raw injury creating a tissue overgrowth on the horse’s leg joint is really worrying Dr. Pol.
He says: “This proud flesh is not simple tissue, it is very tough…I burn all that extra tissue off and, finally, the skin will cover it.”
A happy ending closes out the episode. Charles has a special announcement. Beth Oakes and Charles announce they are dating after knowing each other since childhood. Dr. Pol and Diane had a suspicion!
We spoke to Dr. Emily about this jam-packed episode where lots of happy endings are interspersed with caveats about preventative care for young animals:
Monsters and Critics: Dr. Emily! How long have you worked for Dr. Pol in his offices? Where did you go to school?
Dr. Emily: I have worked at Dr. Pol’s for four years now. I went to school at The University of Georgia, then did an internship at UGA for field services, then worked at a mixed animal practice in South Carolina for two and a half years before coming to Michigan.
M&C: You seem to be pulling more office duty manning the fort for smaller patients coming in. Is this assuming Dr. Pol doesn’t want you pulling calves when you are in your last trimester?
Dr. Emily: For some reason, this third pregnancy was a lot harder on me and I was much more limited in what my body would let me do without hurting or causing cramps. So, yes, I stayed in the office more.
M&C: Let’s talk about Precious the cat, her Feline Leukemia. You gave her owner a “guarded” prognosis. What happens to a cat when this virus attacks and since there is no cure, is it difficult to keep the cat for long or is it a more humane thing to euthanize and protect other cats from infection?
Dr. Emily: Cats with FeLV can live an almost normal life, however, if they get a secondary illness, they get much sicker and can even die from a simple illness. They are contagious to other cats, so we recommend keeping them, if you’re going to, in the house ONLY, and away from other cats. Cats are not terribly social animals so most are okay with this.
M&C: Following up on that, this episode had a strong preventative medicine theme running through it. Any good advice or timeline for those who rescue or purchase a new puppy or kitten? When and what do they need to get for their new family member?
Dr. Emily: We recommend getting kittens tested for FIV and FeLV, treated for fleas, ear mites, and internal parasites before introducing them to family members. They should also be vaccinated if they are healthy enough. Puppies need to be treated for fleas and internal parasites before being introduced and need to be vaccinated if found healthy enough.
M&C: Have new animals come in for exams and been so unruly and dangerous you have to go to any extreme measure to ensure they do not bite you? What is that protocol and how often have you had to deal with that?
Dr. Emily: Yes, we have had very vicious animals come in. Some, we try to work slowly with and they are okay, but some, it’s not worth the hospital bill and we sedate them right away. This is not very often.
M&C: Cindy the lab was a scary beginning story with a happy ending. Anytime blood is coming from either orifice it must really be frightening to the pet owners. Did you have a hunch immediately the lab got into some bad food and how long does it take to right a dog who has ingested bad food causing gut distress?
Dr. Emily: Dietary indiscretion is very common in dogs as dogs don’t have discretion in what they eat. They can get sick anywhere from minutes to hours after eating.
M&C: Who knew piglets were such aggressive little jerks with each other! Dumbo the piglet had a really bad ear, how long does it take for an ear to swell like that from either flapping or another animal biting? Is it an instantaneous thing or take weeks? Also, you say it was full of “juice and jelly” which is pretty descriptive. Does it just ooze out or do you have to compress the ear to hasten the drainage? How can dog owners keep their floppy ear breeds from this gnarly swelling?
Dr. Emily: Ear wounds like this are from a broken blood vessel in the pinna, so you could imagine it’s pretty quick. The best way to prevent it in dogs is to stay up on your dog’s ears and address any flea or allergy problem early and appropriately (not home remedies).
M&C: Biggest animal healing success story you were involved with was…
Dr. Emily: I had a dachshund whose neck was basically de-gloved by another dog. The skin was completely torn open around the entire neck, major blood vessels were exposed and some were torn in half. I spent a couple of hours piecing him back together and he had to come back several times, but now you can’t even tell he had a wound there.
The Incredible Dr. Pol airs Saturdays at 9/8c on Nat Geo WILD.