‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’: Which Animal Does He Watch His Back With the Most?

As a large animal veterinarian, Dr. Jan Pol of The Incredible Dr. Pol has to deal with some extra ornery, big creatures.

Dr. Jan Pol of 'The Incredible Dr. Pol'
Dr. Jan Pol of ‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’ | KOEN VAN WEEL/AFP via Getty Images

Find out which ones give the doc the most trouble.

It’s not horses, though Dr. Pol says they can be difficult

Horses can be temperamental and powerful, requiring extra care when checking them.

“Horses are an inherently dangerous animal,” Dr. Pol’s son, Charles said on the program in 2012. “Generally, I’m a little bit skittish around them, I don’t work with them as often as my dad has. I don’t have the history and the years of experience.

The doctor sometimes has to use a twitch on particularly nervous horses.

“A twitch is basically a rope that you put on the nose of the horse. It really doesn’t hurt them,” Dr. Pol said on an episode of his program in 2017. “It creates a release of endorphins, that makes the horse feel better. I don’t know who’s the first guy that found out to control a horse that way, but he should get a Nobel prize for peace!”

The one animal the doctor says he can’t seem to understand

Dr. Pol is gifted in knowing his way around animals. Even the most difficult-to-treat creatures, he knows how to calm them or gain their trust in order to assess their situation and help them.

In his 2015 book, Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet, Dr. Pol talks about learning to “read” animals. If an animal doctor doesn’t develop more patience and skill in knowing what an animal is trying to tell them, it could result in injury.

“When a cow gets angry,” he writes, “she will swish her tail really fast; that’s her way of telling you, Just go away and leave me alone. Horses will talk with their ears and their body posture. . .Just like large animals, small animals will make their intentions known if you look for the signals.”

“Except for cats; cats keep their own secrets. But I’ve found that as long as you can maintain eye contact with most animals, they will rarely try to bite you or charge you – except for Chihuahuas. I don’t know why, but I’ve just never been successful in understanding a Chihuahua.”

And the one animal Dr. Pol suggests you not turn your back on?

Well, there are two animals. One is the pretty obvious Angus cow, since that’s the breed mentioned in the title of his book. The other? Funnily enough, it’s what Dr. Pol calls your run-of-the-mill “nice cow.”

“Angus cows . . . are the dickens,” he writes in his book. “They’re mean. One thing I know for sure: You should never turn your back on an Angus cow.”

“But there also is the other type of cow, the friendly cow that comes right up to you and practically demands you scratch her head. Those nice cows are the ones you have to be extra careful about . . . I was giving pills to a cow one morning and she tried to butt me; as she swung her head, I was trying to hold it, and then she suddenly turned the other way and I started slipping.”

“That was it. I could feel the triceps in my left arm ripping. My arm was hanging there, completely useless. I couldn’t pick it up. It took it about a month to heal.”

Read more: ‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’: What Is the Net Worth of Dr. Pol’s Son, Charles?