Animal Planet and Nat Geo line up rival veterinary reality series

Animal ER premieres September 10 (photo courtesy of Business Wire).

On September 10, Nat Geo WILD will debut its latest reality series about veterinarians, Animal ER, which takes place at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists (GCVS), a Houston clinic. And soon, Animal Planet will air Life at Vet U, a show that follows fourth-year veterinary students at the University of Pennsylvania.

The rival shows provide the latest evidence that veterinarians have become the latest stars of reality TV. Last year, it was Cornell’s veterinary college that was all the rage, thanks to the series Vet School on Nat Geo WILD, which followed students over the course of one academic year.

Nat Geo WILD refers to its new series as “the Mayo Clinic” for animals, because GCVS has more than 200 vets treating 50,000 animals a year, according to a press release. GCVS specializes in hard-to-treat cases, which are handled by specialists ranging from oncologists to sports medicine practitioners. The debut episode will feature Nia, a Bengal tiger undergoing surgery; Spirit, a cockatiel with a breathing problem; and more.

“GCVS has the most fascinating and dramatic range of cases in the country, with everything from exotics and zoo animals to family pets crashing through their doors 24/7,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager of Nat Geo WILD, in the release. “It will be like nothing else on TV,” he promised.

Animal Planet has yet to announce an air date for its show, Life at Vet U, but if the trailer is any indication, it promises to be equally dramatic. The series sets out to portray both the stress and rewards of trying to complete a rigorous veterinary education.

"Vet students driven by a mission to heal and protect animals take everything they've learned and put it to the test in this series," said Rich Ross, group president of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel, in an announcement about the series last year.

- here’s the press release from Nat Geo WILD

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