A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series has plenty of graphic footage of animals undergoing veterinary care, including scenes with blood and animals that are clearly uncomfortable. As viewers follow the daily challenges of life at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Canada, they witness the emotional process of vet students telling owners whether their beloved pet is better or not. Students are also questioned by resident veterinarians about appropriate treatments. Owners cry (and vet students look pretty upset themselves). While language isn't a problem, because of its graphic footage and emotional content, this show isn't a good fit for the youngest animal buffs.
What's the story?
PET MEDS combines the real-life veterinary drama of Emergency Vets and the emotional rush felt by medical students in ER. In each hour-long episode, approximately eight animal health cases are introduced and solved, and not all have happy endings. The series includes lots of real footage of animals being operated on, suffering from diseases, showing bodily injuries, needing broken limbs repaired, and so on. The show's "characters" are several veterinary students from the West College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada. Pet MDs follows the students as they rotate through several areas: small animals, large animals, birds, reptiles, and other exotics. Just a few sample cases: a rat with "bumps" on its skin that need to be removed and biopsied, a German shepherd who may have a deadly fungal disease, a cow in labor with a breech calf that needs to be turned and delivered via Caesarean section, a bird that can't stop vomiting, and a hearing service dog with blinding cataracts.
Is it any good?
Pet MDs is a great learning opportunity for young veterinarian wannabes, but parents should beware of the graphic footage and emotional discussions between veterinarians and owners, which make the series inappropriate for young kids or those sensitive to the sight of blood. Watching the students give exams and listening to their decision-making process is a twist that sets the show apart. The students are very honest in their feelings about talking to owners about their pet's health, participating in surgery for the first time, and even talking to the resident veterinarian about their diagnosis. Pet M.D. is a good choice for older kids interested in pursuing veterinary medicine; by watching, they'll get a real taste of its challenges and rewards.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the vet students' rigorous academic load compares to that of medical students'. Why do some people think being a vet is easier than being a human doctor? Parents can also talk about the emotions veterinarians have when caring for an ailing family pet. How do you think the vets cope with their feelings? How would you feel if you were in their position? Parents can help kids interested in working with animals research potential careers via the Internet or a trip to the library.