Introduction The popularity of veterinary content in television programmes appears to be consistently high, as evidenced by the large number of such programmes on German language television. The quality of the veterinary content is of great importance to the practising veterinarian, as it shapes the expectations of animal owners. Materials and methods The veterinary content of documentaries and reality TV programmes on German-language television between 2007 and 2015 was compared with the content of commonly used German-language veterinary textbooks available at the time. For each of 23 veterinary cases selected from 17 television programmes the following ten points were analysed: "history and/or presenting complaint", "clinical examination", "further diagnostic measures", "diagnosis or elective measure", "differential diagnoses", "pathogenesis", "selection of therapeutic approach", "prognosis", "execution of therapy" and "general explanations". The analysis was based on comparison with the relevant textbook chapters. The following criteria were numerically assessed: contradictions of visual and spoken information, obvious differences from the required course of action, omissions and timeliness of the information. Results Of the ten points, four to nine (median six) were present per case, with "history and/or presenting complaint" and "diagnosis or elective measure" most frequently present, whereas "clinical examination", "differential diagnosis" and "general explanations" were least frequent. The median quality of the points was significantly higher in the 2012-2015 programmes than in the 2007-2011 programmes. Only one programme showed a clear divergence from the correct course of action. Conclusion Over the period investigated, the quality of the veterinary content approached that of the content of the textbooks, although essential aspects of veterinary clinical procedures (specifically the clinical examination of an animal) and information on differential diagnoses and general explanations were still absent from most programmes. The practising veterinarian is commonly faced with owners who have up-to-date but incomplete knowledge.