FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IS THERE A NEW DOCTOR IN THE NAT GEO WILD HOUSE? DR. K’S EXOTIC ANIMAL ER JOINS THE WILD FAMILY
New Series Follows the Diverse Challenges Veterinarian Dr. Susan Kelleher Faces at One of South Florida’s Busiest Avian and Exotic Animal Clinics,
Where Patients Range from Guinea Pigs to Primates
“Everything but dogs and cats. If it will fit through the door, I’ll treat it!” — Dr. K
Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER Premieres Saturday, October 4, at 10 PM ET/PT
on Nat Geo WILD
(Washington, D.C. – July 8, 2014) In Nat Geo WILD’s No. 1 series The Incredible Dr. Pol, viewers peer behind the recovery room curtain to see how veterinarian Jan Pol cares for farm animals and domestic pets in rural Michigan. Further north, they ride along in Dr. Michelle Oakley’s mobile medical clinic to see how she treats sick and injured animals across thousands of square miles of Canadian wilderness in Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet. Now, in the new series Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER, premiering Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, Nat Geo WILD presents its latest venture in documenting the bizarre, unpredictable and rare medical cases treated at the Broward Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital in South Florida.
Dr. Susan Kelleher, better known as “Dr. K,” owns and operates one of the busiest exotic animal care practices in Florida. “Everything but dogs and cats. If it will fit through the door, I’ll treat it!” is Dr. K’s motto.
With over 18 years of veterinary experience, she has seen it all — rabbits, reptiles, rodents, birds of all shapes and sizes, foxes, ferrets, fish, marsupials and even primates! In this new Nat Geo WILD series, we’ll see her treat a variety of unusual animals, from an egg-bound tortoise to a kinkajou with a breathing problem to an ambiguous bush baby that needs neutering … or spaying. No two days and no two cases are ever the same at the clinic, but one thing is certain: There’s always a whole lot of action coming through the doors!
Flanked by intern Dr. Lauren Thielen and associate Dr. Santiago Diaz, Dr. K and the team tackle the issues of having exotic pets as patients. The worldwide trade in exotic animals is a multibillion-dollar-a-year business with millions of wild animals kept in private possession. Dr. K and her team are committed to educating clients about the facts of the exotic animal trade, and the best way to keep their pets healthy. “I got into this business with the intent to help animals in need. By the time they get to me it is sometimes a matter of life or death, and not right or wrong. My main priority is to ensure animals stay healthy and get the proper care,” said Dr. K.
Animals enter the exotic pet trade from a variety of sources. Some are taken from their native habitat; some are from zoos or menageries; some are sold at auctions or in pet shops; others come from backyard breeders. Additionally, the Internet has dramatically increased the ease with which people can find and purchase wild animals for their private possession.
It’s a constant challenge to diagnose, treat and save these animals that are often in desperate condition when they arrive at the hospital. The surgical team at Dr. K’s office jumps into action when a bunny crashes in the recovery room, performing emergency CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in the hopes of reviving the fluffy pet. They race to the ER when a ferret needs surgery STAT. And they make the tough decisions when there is nothing more that can be done to treat or save a dying animal. The job can be emotionally draining and grueling but also rewarding for these animal loving docs.
Like most offices, “water cooler” talk is prevalent, but at this clinic the topic is less about the weather and more about which animal has the worst urine scent: fox, cougar, alligator, unneutered male ferret or skunk that hasn’t been de-scented? Each episode of Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER shines a light on the personalities and personal lives of this dedicated group of animal care providers. Through good times and bad, this tight-knit group supports each other, advising on medical cases and offering moments of comic relief when needed.
About Dr. K:
Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Susan Kelleher, D.V.M., received her bachelor’s degree with a dual chemistry/biology major from Alfred University in 1990 and later completed a veterinary degree at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating in 1995, she moved to Florida to focus on avian and exotic pet medicine. She spent her first three and a half years working in small animal practices before starting her own animal practice —Broward Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital. In the television series Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER Nat Geo WILD cameras follow the day-to-day challenges Dr. K faces at the clinic, documenting the exotic animals she treats and the unusual medical cases she resolves.
Premiere episodes include:
Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER, Bunny Nose Job
Premieres Saturday, October 4, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
One of the most interesting aspects of exotic animal care is the range of different species on the exam table, many of them small with intricate physiology. Today, Dr. K tackles a series of tricky surgeries including a bunny nose job with a precarious power tool entry. Dr. K must carefully calculate measurements to avoid boring a hole into the bunny’s mouth or brain. The doctor also sees a bird with a broken leg that requires a series of tiny pins to stabilize the bone. Birds are notoriously difficult to keep stable under anesthesia, making the surgery even more difficult. Finally, Dr. K removes an overgrown tooth from a prairie dog, and new doctor Lauren Thielen attempts her first rat neuter.
Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER, Bad Case of Rotten Eggs
Premieres Saturday, October 11, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER takes on a variety of exotic animal cases, including a hedgehog, a corn snake, and an egg bound sulcata tortoise with more than a dozen eggs stuck inside her. Dr. K must quickly perform an intricate surgery to remove more than a dozen eggs from the tortoise. An owner expects to hear the worst when she brings in her corn snake with some discolored scales. Finally, Dr. K has a galago as a patient for the first time! Also known as a bush baby, this one comes in for neutering, but other things become apparent once the surgery begins.
Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER, Into The Fox Hole
Premieres Saturday, October 18, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Exotic animals are different from dogs and cats in many ways including the fact that they often don’t show signs of sickness until they are in grave danger. Dr. K never knows what she’s going to get! She’ll treat Cece, a veiled chameleon who is clearly egg-bound. The only way the eggs are coming out is through surgical intervention. But a veiled chameleon is a very small patient, making the procedure difficult. Dr. K begins surgery, but quickly runs into trouble and asks Dr. Thielen to scrub in. The doctor also sees long-time patient Fletcher, a red lored Amazon, who has a mass in the sinus cavity. She takes Fletcher to surgery for an endoscopy, but quickly realizes that he is too weak to handle the anesthesia. Dr. K also treats a Fennec Fox that seems to have clogged anal glands. Finally, Dr. Thielen must deliver the bad news to the owner of two guinea pigs that they need to go on a diet.
Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER is produced by Spectrum Productions for Nat Geo WILD. Spectrum Productions executive producer is Guy Nickerson and show runner is Lisa Tanzer. For Nat Geo WILD, executive producer is Ashley Hoppin; senior vice president of development and production is Janet Han Vissering; and executive vice president and general manager is Geoff Daniels.
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NAT GEO WILD
For more than 30 years, National Geographic has been the leader in wildlife programming. The networks Nat Geo WILD and Nat Geo WILD HD, launched in 2010, offer intimate encounters with nature’s ferocious fighters and gentle creatures of land, sea and air that draw upon the cutting-edge work of the many explorers, filmmakers and scientists of the National Geographic Society. Part of the National Geographic Channels US, based in Washington, D.C., the networks are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. In 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) debuted, and 10 years later, Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation’s major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with Nat Geo WILD currently available in over 58 million U.S. homes. Globally, Nat Geo WILD is available in more than 144 million homes in 140 countries and 28 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeowild.com.