The incredible declawing Dr Pol is incredibly incompetent and cruel

Dr Pol with axe
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Answer for me to the question: Chop the tops of his fingers off.

Dr Pol is an old-school American vet who not only believes declawing cats is fine but also believes he can do the operation in a careless and unsanitary way. It is compounding cruelty in carrying out an unnecessary operation with carelessness. We know he is careless with respect to following standard veterinary procedures because a second complaint has been filed against him by a fellow veterinarian, Eden Myers DVM.

The second complaint to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has occurred while Dr Pol is serving probation for the first complaint (as I understand it). He was fined and ordered to complete further education the first time around.

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What is incredible is that Eden Myer’s complaint concerns Dr Pol’s performance on his National Geographic television show called “The Incredible Dr Pol”. He is incredibly bad by the sound of it.

Dr Eden says:

β€œI checked the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) standards and saw that the practices I watched in the show were not acceptable. Our clients and potential clients can watch this and it’s representing substandard care. It does the public a disservice,”

Dr Pol declawing a cat

Dr Pol declawing a cat. No gloves. Is the place and equipment sterile?

On that reality television show he is seen to be performing surgery on a dog hit by a car. The intention, I presume, in televising this is partly to promote the veterinary profession but he achieved the exact opposite. He brought the profession into disrepute with numerous errors according to Dr Eden. The list is too long to go over on this page but he does have a cavalier approach to hygiene and on all accounts lacks sensitivity and awareness of the welfare of his patients.

For instance, the second complaint states he failed to wear sterile surgical attire and failed to use sterile draping in the operating room. Under guidelines, Dr Pol should have worn a gown, cap and mask and he should have used sterile instruments in a sterile field.

These are basic requirements surely? Under the complaint, Dr Pol’s work fell short in many other areas too.

In the earlier complaint numerous breaches of procedure were cited including a failure to read an ultrasound correctly and failures to manage his practice adequately, for example: a failure to ensure that his staff kept adequate documentation of telephone calls, treatment records etc..

I don’t want to go over all the complaints here. You can read about the second compliant on this website.

Marcia a visitor who has watched the television show and has knowledge says:

“He rarely uses a drape around a surgical site, for example (and I’m not talking about field work, just the in-hospital stuff). I’ve only occasionally noticed him pulling on a pair of gloves, either sterile surgical or exam gloves, which means he can easily pass a disease from one animal to another. His answer to antiseptic technique is very old school barnyard — stitch it up and flood it with antibiotic powder or spray. In a recent episode, I watched him take a culture from a cow eye and transfer it to a sterile plate of what looked like blood agar. All well and good, except the plate was exposed to the air for quite a long time and probably contaminated. The list of poor techniques just grows and grows. He keeps his show because he’s an egotist and buffoon and that makes good television. But he’s not a particularly good vet.”

Dr Pol is being investigated and there is a Facebook petition to drop him from the National Geographic show or drop the show entirely.

My interest in Dr Pol is his declawing of cats. He is said to be an old-school vet. Declawing should be a thing of the past. It is a cruel operation carried out cruelly by this vet. Declawing belongs to the history books. It should be stopped as soon as possible.

The attitude of all veterinarians who do it is old-fashioned. It is an attitude which says that cats are “only cats”, barely one up from the toaster in the kitchen.

The behaviour of Dr Pol supports this insensitive approach to animals. He is not fit to be vet because vets must at least have an empathy towards animal welfare. That must underpin all they do but it doesn’t, does it?

Declawing itself when done at the behest of the cat owner for her convenience is automatically in breach of the standards and guidelines of veterinary work in the USA. This appears to be overlooked in the complaint because declawing is mainstream legalised cat cruelty on a grand scale.

Dr Pol’s public humiliation is actually a failure in itself because all vets who declaw – and nearly all of them do – should be humiliated in exactly the same way.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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93 Responses

  1. M E king says:

    Just to remind everyone this deplorable psycho of a veterinarian is still on TV with what appears to be a new season in 2017.

  2. Sherry Goolsby says:

    Oh, I KNOW there is. Maybe we should bombard veterinary schools and help them STOP THIS BRUTAL PRACTICE!!!! I’M known in my area for being an animal advocate. I’m also known as a bulldog because I don’t give up. I will also educate friends about the practice of declawing and the results. It will open many eyes!

  3. Sherry Goolsby says:

    I’ve noticed my share of things on Pol’s show that had me QUESTION Wth was he doing? After accidently running up on this blog, I will NEVER watch the show again. My intent is to let my FB friends aware of this and WHY, along with me checking out the de-clawing pages. It’s horrible. Pol needs to RETIRE or UPDATE his practices, SAYING NO to declawing!!!!!

  4. M E King says:

    The show is attempting to portray a country doctor. Reminiscent of the All Creatures Great And Small genre. In this case it’s just a brutal old man who’s time has came and went. If he is incapable of change he should have his license revoked. His malpractice is on TV for the whole world to see. Where is the State Veterinary Board and why would anyone even have to file a complaint. They are well aware of the show.

  5. Wes Duckett says:

    I have an icon on my Flickr photostream, “Save a paw — don’t declaw.”

  6. MaryKate says:

    I have to post on this because I just have to say Declawing a cat is the decision of the owner. I have never declawed my cats, but that is my decision as I am responsible for my cat. It’s ridicules to me when people overlook the fact that many things are the decision of the owner who is responsible for that pet.
    Also citing Dr. Eden is ridicules this lady actually sent a letter to the Michigan Vet Board advising them how to do their jobs, what penalties to enforce and she isn’t even actively practicing. That’s like me getting a law degree and telling a judge how to rule on a case.

    • I agree it is down to the owner to decide about declawing. The trouble is they are often mislead by the vet into believing it is not as bad as it is and many cat owners are ignorant of the consequences of the operation and what it is. The vets should educate people and put them off doing it but many don’t.

      • MaryKate says:

        I don’t agree that most people don’t know the consequences or that it is leaving their cat defenseless if they get out. I think most people are intelligent enough to know that. They just don’t usually care. That’s why I never declawed mine for many reasons.
        I also think that if the Veterinary board approves the practice than that is what really matters, the issue needs to be taken up with them not singling out each vet who does it. The Veterinary boards allowing the practice is the problem.

    • Denise Bligh says:

      It is torture for the cat to be declawed. I will not allow you to torture your cat. A lot of us are working on getting laws past and educating people. Anybody who would think to declaw a cat shouldn’t have one. Try walking a week with gravel in your shoes–imagine that feeling for life.

      • Michael Broad says:

        Thank you Denise for fighting declawing, a most heinous and disgusting practice. How the hell veterinarians can do it is beyond my comprehension…oh wait a minute..they do it for money.

  7. Kitty says:

    I also wish to thankyou for publishing this information. I have only seen him mention DeClawing once on his show, and that’s when I stopped watching. I have also been advising my friends & family that he participated in this abhorrent practice.

    The other thing I have been doing is posting the message about Dr Pol on pages like Jackson Galaxy’s page.

    The sooner we can have this abolished as cruel, the better.
    I hope that a continuous flood of negative feedback will eventually result in action.

    We have to keep in mind that he has been a vet for a very long time, and that if we had not seen him book that poor cat in for DeClawing in the first season, none of us would know he does it.
    It’s not just blood money for Dr Pol, but it shows Nat Geo using mutilation as a way to gain more viewers. It’s a bit of a shame because Nat Geo has been a respected provider of information throughout the world. I say it’s tragic.

    Keep spreading the word people, and don’t give up.
    Any cat saved from this cruelty is a win IMHO

    Cheers,
    Kitty
    Australia

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting Kitty. We like to do our bit to expose cat abuses and callousness towards the cat. We want to improve cat welfare even in a small way.

      I agree that Dr Pol’s problem is partly due to the fact he is old-school and that he has not upgraded his attitude towards his work.

      • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

        I agree with Kitty, keep on spreading the word. PoC is a wonderful web site brave enough to expose the truth about declawing and the vets who still do it.
        Dr Pol may be old school but he has no right to deny the evidence that declawing ruins cats lives!
        PoC saves thousands of claws.

  8. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    This picture is doing the rounds on facebook

    • We’ll have to start a caption contest! Pol is certainly Midden Man of the Month πŸ˜‰

      • Karen says:

        This man needs his license REVOKED! And his digits removed!

        • Yes, the axe he is using should be grabbed and used for the purpose you describe πŸ˜‰

        • MaryKate says:

          As opposed to just having the whole practice stopped all together with all vets, that is just silly that your slamming one vet for something many vets do. If you have such an issue with it you should actually do something to change the way all vets do it instead of focusing on one, such as having the law changed. Lobby to have declawing added to animal cruelty if you feel so strongly.

          • I like to focus on individual vets and the whole problem simultaneously. We need to name and shame. That is what I believe.

            • MaryKate says:

              Well I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. I just think that owners need to be held more accountable and a practice that is as deforming as declawing should be stopped altogether. I am really not aware of what purpose it serves other than to cater to the owner at expense of the cat. Ironically all the cat owners I have known who kept their cat till the cats final days never declawed their cat.

        • Carol says:

          You should be fired from your profession and have your tongue and your fingers removed.

  9. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    I love to see the comments coming in thick and fast on articles like this! Lots of anti declaw group members coming along to good old PoC πŸ˜‰

    • Leah says:

      Me too! He has all these bloody disciples all Kow Towing to him ‘Oh the Incredible Dr Pol he’s amazing!’ Yuk! Makes me want to throw up!
      Your group is growing as well Ruth love to see the new people flowing in every day and those people are catching onto PoC as well which is awesome!

      • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

        Yes 444 members now of the ‘International Coalition Against Declawing’ and 375 in Tina’s ‘Ending Declawing’ one I help admin. I always post links to PoC declaw articles on those groups and very pleased when they come and comment.

        • You do very well Ruth. We chip away at the monster that is declawing.

          • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

            Yes for around 6 years now we have been united in the cause and although it sometimes seems hopeless declawing will ever end we truly have made progress and brought many more people into the battle.

            • Persistence is a powerful quality.

            • Leah says:

              I discovered this Monster through you Ruth and although its been hard at times and I’ve had a bumpy ride I wouldn’t change any of it. I’m glad I know about it because although I’m only one small pebble on the beach I can still do something albeit it only a bit I know that its better than nothing.

              • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

                Leah you are one of the stalwart ‘UK troops’ You haven’t fallen by the wayside like quite a few have and the Paw Project do appreciate all of us who are actively helping them x

        • Staci says:

          If I could declaw my dogs, I would. Nothing wrong with declawing. It’s more wrong if one was to declaw and then allows animal outside. Now that is cruelty and inhumane.

          • Michael Broad says:

            I am afraid that you are forgetting one or two important things. Firstly, declawing is not what it purports to be. It is the removal of the end of the toe including a significant amount of bone. In addition, the operation is often done badly leaving shards of bone in the toe which cause lots of pain. There are other serious complications which not uncommonly occur.

            https://pictures-of-cats.org/complications-of-declawing.html

            Then there is the moral dimension. Do we, humans, have the right to mutilate our companion animals for our convenience? Have you asked yourself that question? Do we have the right to cause so much pain and distress in our companion animals just because it suits us? Any decent person, anywhere, would state confidently that it is not right to do this. It is immoral to do it. That must be clear but it is something you have omitted.

    • All decent people hate to see this kind legalised cat abuse.

  10. Susan says:

    Thank you so much for helping to expose this monstrous QUACK.

  11. Barbara says:

    Awful man, he’s a disgrace to his profession, he can’t even be bothered to do his disgusting work under decent conditions. I would like to shove his axe where the sun doesn’t shine and let him sit on the handle. If this is what’s on TV I’m glad I prefer to read a book.

  12. Leah says:

    My God I have so much to say about this piece of shit Dinosaur thinking he’s God when he’s nothing but an animal abuser! Nat Geo wild are partially to blame for upping his status, they ought to stop immediately!

    Suggestion. Why don’t we all post the link to this and everything else we have onto their page?

    If we inundate them surely they will have to take action? Mind you 2 fines and extra training didn’t do it….. Michael what do you think?

    If you look at that picture above you can see everything as clear as day repeating itself from that complaint! A normal (probably germ ridden) tea shirt, no gloves, just a rag covering the cat, no intubation by the looks of things and what next? he is so much of a bloody Dinosaur and been hyped up so much by Nat Geo Wild that his clients will believe anything even if he told then no pain relief was required!

    Why are people so like sheep at times!! My vets are great but they are human at the end of the day and I’ve questioned them quite often in the past!

    What gets me about this man more than anything is that he declaws and because of his bumped up image he will get away with it every time because he thinks he’s God and his followers have worsened the situation because they feel he can do no wrong!

    For me the whole thing is dangerous especially for animals in is care but more so for cats because they are easy blood money.

    Michael please give us permission to share this article on Nat Geo Wild. I wouldn’t do anything without your permission as I know nothing about the legalities but this ass hole has got right under my skin, the smug self serving Moron!

  13. kylee says:

    Thanks for again another thought provoking Article which must be addressed. From reading on Facebook about him on De- clawing groups I’m So sick that anyone would do such a thing. He shouldn’t be allowed to be on these Programs on T.v I’m actually Pleased I dont have SKYTV here in New Zealand, as I would just feel sick it used to make me cry alot watching them. I used to have SKYTV when Animal Planet and Animal Rescue etc, and was just so Sickened watching both Cats & Dogs Brutally Hurt. Sometimes I’m Pleased I live a long way, although I know Same Animal Cruelty happens in this Country as well. He should be made to Step down and this is just creating More harm out there I believe.

    • It highlights the careless attitude towards veterinary skills if a major television broadcaster can televise someone like Dr Pol to present to the world what it is like to be an American vet. He is a terrible advert for veterinary profession.

      • kylee says:

        Exactly Michael Its just so wrong and its really Sad that its been left so long without anyone noticing anything. It saddens me greatly.

  14. D Drury says:

    I forgot to answer the question! What would you like to do with the axe Dr. Pol? I would like to chop off kitty claws. How do you think I started my own practice? Claw blood money.

    • Perhaps the caption should have been: “I think declawing is like chopping wood” (the words of Dr Pol). Can anyone think of a better caption?

      • D Drury says:

        That is excellent! Perfect caption, LOL! Just in case, I did a Google search “I think declawing is like chopping wood Dr. Pol”. Just in case. Can you imagine if he really said that???

        My Cassandra Cat is an iReporter for CNN. I saw her profile at the very end of this search “declawing Dr. Pol”. I was so excited to see her page! I just submitted the Dr. Pol story today. http://ireport.cnn.com/people/CassandraCat?viewingAsOthers=true

      • Leah says:

        Thats Brilliant Michael! Pol has set himself up good and proper with that photo of himself as a wood cutter! Lol everything happens for a reason lets use t against him!

  15. Monica says:

    Horrible conditions plus any vet doing declawing or better mutilation of cats is a disgrace.

  16. France says:

    WHY IS HE STILL A VET? If all his practices and techniques are incorrect, why is he still a vet? They might have sent him to re-educate himself, but you know how older people are set in their ways. And it looks like he doesn’t care. His show should be cancelled, and people need to complain more. If a vet is of the mindset that ‘oh, it’s just a cat’, then he should not be a vet. Cats should have a right not to be mutilated. They are perfect just the way they are. Can’t handle that? Don’t get a cat. I’m sick and tired of people declawing large cats and domestic cats simply for their own selfish gain. Especially when there are alternatives.

    • I totally agree. He should not be a vet. He should have never have been a vet as far as I am concerned. The AVMA the governing body are toothless and without credibility. Being a vet is a job for life.

      Thanks for commenting France.

    • kylee says:

      I agree he shouldn’t even be a Vet. I Reckon there should be a Requirement that vets be tested on like with people that work with Children or disabilities that they get Police Checked. This is what happens in NZ. If your working even Volunteering with People with Special Needs or Children and even at Hospitals etc. You have to be Police Checked. I dont see why something like this could be done too. Especially people in places of Trust working with all Animals.

      • I believe there could and should be some sort of psychological test on the student veterinarian to ensure they have the correct personality. There is no point being a vet unless you love animals and have an empathy towards them.

        • kylee says:

          Agree totally. As you need to be a certain type of Person to work with Animals Just like someone working with Elderly or people with Special Needs/Disabilities. It should be part of the Training. As if you dont like or Love animals you shouldnt be a Vet.

  17. D Drury says:

    Wow, did that poor kitty ever wake up? Did that poor kitty have a lowered immune system with constant infections? Did that poor kitty have bone fragments left in her paws? Or is that cat going to have bone regrowth and arthritis? Dr. Pol, AND ALL VETS WHO DECLAW, give me your fingers, ALL TEN of them, hold still now, no need for meds, it is a “simple” procedure, slide them through my rusty, old, contanimated cigar cutter. You’ll be fine!

    • Yeh…let me help you. Bastard vets who declaw. I hate them. They are utterly unethical and whatever reasons they give for declawing are rubbish.

    • Katie says:

      Not all vets feel that way, nor declaw that way. YOU are the one with antiquated notions about declawing.

      My vet uses a narcotic pain patch as well as injectable pain medications, antibiotics (a third-generation cephalosporin) and nerve blocks prior to the procedure. He uses a scalpel to remove the nail at the joint – eliminating bone fragments or regrowth issues. Every cat is intubated, has an IV catheter and fluids, and is monitored by a dedicated anesthetist (and human-grade monitors) throughout the procedure and in recovery. The cats stay 3 days post surgery to ensure they are comfortable post-op and ready to go home.

      You are so high up on that horse of yours you haven’t bothered to come down to the real world to see how it’s actually done by GOOD vets.

      • Hi Katie. I appreciate your comment but it fails to address (a) the immorality of declawing (b) the fact that the operation is a breach of the vet’s oath and (c) that many vets screw up and brutalise the cat in a botched operation. I think you have missed too much to make your comment worthwhile. Sorry.

        https://pictures-of-cats.org/epidemic-of-botched-cat-declaw-operations.html

      • Dee (Florida) says:

        Wow! Narcotic pain patch, antibiotics, nerve blocks, IV fluids, and a 3 day stay?
        All for an ELECTIVE, UNETHICAL surgery, not for the benefit of your cat, but for YOU!

      • anonymous says:

        Perhaps some of you should go to the local shelters and see just how many cats are there. In our town an origination called h.a.t.s has over 100 cats in cages trying to find them a home, some of them have been there for over 6 months . If a cat can stay with its owner and be declawed is that not better than being in a cage for months at a time or being euthanized? You people are shallow . What about all the peoplewho crop ears on dogs for showing, that is a ccosmetic surgery. There is something seriously wrong with you people. How about working on a way to control pur pet population, or finding homes for those animals that don’thave one .

      • Denise Bligh says:

        Defending declawing is just ignorant. The cat lives in pain. Eventually they will walk off balance long enough their spine will be misaligned causing additional health problems.

      • Anne Akers says:

        Katie, Even under the “best” circumstances declawing is unethical. It still leaves the cat mutilated. A good vet does not perform declaw surgery. A good vet would educate clients on how to share their homes with fully clawed cats, e.g how to purchase the right scratching post, nail trimming, proper interaction with the cat.

  18. Bruce in North Dakota says:

    So, is this fellow’s last name “Pot”?

    ( Pol Pot)

  19. AVIS HOLT says:

    If this so-called vet is promoting de-clawing cats then he should not be on TV or even be a vet!!! PERIOD!

    • Yes, of course. Thanks for saying that. Obviously National Geographic have a morality problem as well as this horrible vet.

      • AVIS HOLT says:

        Does National Geographic see these comments? If not, how can we get them to view them?

        • Nice question. They may have a “contact us” page on their website. You could use that and leave a link to this page. Also this page will be circulated around FB and on the internet generally so there is a decent chance that it will be read by Dr Pol and/or National Geographic.

          • AVIS HOLT says:

            Went to National Geographic site and left a message stating my feelings. Don’t know if they even bother reading all of them but at least I tried.

            • I love you for doing that. Taking action is important. If we all did something like you, change might happen.

              • AVIS HOLT says:

                For everyone’s information, all I did was go to National Geographic’s FB page and private messaged them. It’s the only way I could find to communicate. Hope everybody follows suit. πŸ˜€

  20. Tina says:

    It is now time for this tragic surgery to be made illegal! This man has now made this issue be in the public eye and we are and must continue to force people to see the harm being done. He needs to be stopped. Thank you Michael Broad writing a magnificent article!

  21. Dee (Florida) says:

    I’ve never seen this Bozo on television and hope I never do.
    To the wall of shame with you dirty, dirty, cruel man!

  22. Marcia Bhide says:

    Very interesting! I’ve been watching Dr. Pol through just one season and constantly wondered about his lack of sterile procedure. He rarely uses a drape around a surgical site, for example (and I’m not talking about field work, just the in-hospital stuff). I’ve only occasionally noticed him pulling on a pair of gloves, either sterile surgical or exam gloves, which means he can easily pass a disease from one animal to another. His answer to antiseptic technique is very old school barnyard — stitch it up and flood it with antibiotic powder or spray. In a recent episode, I watched him take a culture from a cow eye and transfer it to a sterile plate of what looked like blood agar. All well and good, except the plate was exposed to the air for quite a long time and probably contaminated. The list of poor techniques just grows and grows. He keeps his show because he’s an egotist and buffoon and that makes good television. But he’s not a particularly good vet.

  23. Bruce in North Dakota says:

    In my “flight of fancy” I trimmed this guy’s fingernails with my cigar trimmer.

    (I feel much better now)

  24. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    Thank you for writing this article Michael, the world needs to know the truth about this so called TV ‘star’
    Bad enough declawing cats, but with no anaesthetic monitoring and no surgical gloves he is very incompetent as well as cruel. Clients and fans who admire this man are being fooled by him and by the TV channel calling him incredible! I wouldn’t allow him within a hundred miles of our cats!
    Yes all declawing vets should be humiliated for keeping on abusing cats, they can’t pretend they don’t know they cause cats to suffer! They can’t pretend it keeps cats in their homes!
    They do it only for the money and that is DISGUSTING!

    • I will probably amend this article based on the comments. Dr Pol typifies what is wrong with the mainstream vets in America. Out-of-date. Out of step and outside the veterinary rules.

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