Make rural house calls with vet Jan Pol

2012-03-05 00:00

A SICK horse on the verge of death, a German shepherd with no appetite, and a pig with an abscess are just some of the cases that house-call-making veterinarian Dr Jan Pol, an expert in large farm animals and pets, has to tackle in the new NatGeo Wild series, The Incredible Dr Pol, which airs on DStv channel 261, at 7 pm on Wednesdays from March 7.

Pol, who travels across rural America to care for family pets and livestock, hopes that all the people he meets and his clients see him as a practical and honest veterinarian who will do the best for their animals.

Asked what made him decide to become a vet and if he ever regretted that decision, he said: “I was the youngest of six children on a dairy farm in the Netherlands. When I was 12 years old, the local vet picked me up to help deliver piglets at my brother’s farm, who had bought gilts that were too small to deliver. I thought that was fun and the rest is history!

“And no, I have never regretted that decision. As my wife, Diane, says: ‘Work comes first!’.”

Looking back on his career, however, he admits he’s had some interesting cases to deal with. “The strangest case I’ve had was this lady who had a six-foot boa [constrictor] and bought a rat to feed to the snake. She fell asleep and when she woke up, the rat had eaten all the meat off the back bone of the snake,” Pol said.

As for the smallest creature he’s ever treated — it’s a toss-up between a three ounce rat that he had to castrate, and a pet mouse with fleas.

Asked how he had come to star in a NatGeo television series, Pol said it was all thanks to his son, Charles, who lives in Los Angeles, California, and wants to get into making movies.

“He and his friends came two years ago and made a four-minute DVD (out of 27 hours of taping),” the vet said.

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