Q: I enjoy watching the vet shows on Animal Planet. I noticed that when the doctors on "The Vet Life" and "Hanging with the Hendersons" operate on animals they wear masks, but Dr. Jeff on "Rocky Mountain Vet" does not. Why?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

You aren't the only one who'd like to know.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) barked pretty loudly at Dr. Jeff Young in a letter they sent to his bosses at Animal Planet, criticizing him for "performing surgery in an unhygienic manner."

The letter mentions the lack of a mask as well as a surgical gown, but also things like his habit of passing clipboards and other unsterile items across the "surgical site."

In case the gist wasn't clear, the letter then goes on to quote one of the AVMA's members: "Fast food restaurants require stricter sanitary guidelines than Dr. Jeff."

However, getting a tongue-lashing from a national industry association isn't exactly off-brand for Dr. Jeff. His bio on AnimalPlanet.com sums it up: "Dr. Jeff lives and dies by his own code, as rules sometimes are meant to be broken." In case the ponytail and tattoos didn't tell you, Dr. Jeff is a bad-boy vet.

But is he the worst boy? It looks like he's not.

For one, he's not the only TV vet to receive this kind of criticism. National Geographic's titular "The Incredible Dr. Pol" has gotten similar pushback from the larger veterinary community.

But it seems that even some regular (that is, not TV star) vets take this relaxed approach to suiting up for surgery.

"Veterinarians do use personal protection, but their level of use is less than recommended and is quite variable," says an article by Dr. Navneet Dhand, a veterinary professor at the University of Sydney in Australia. "Such bad habits have continued for decades."


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