College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Associate Professor Diane McClure, DVM, PhD, DACLAM, recently consulted on an episode of the long-running “Grey’s Anatomy” TV show on ABC.

Dr. McClure, an associate professor of laboratory animal medicine at Western University of Health Sciences, was a technical consultant for an episode scheduled to air on Dec. 5, 2013, where Dr. Meredith Grey, played by actress Ellen Pompeo, practices transplanting a 3-D printed blood vessel — seeded with human DNA cells — into a sheep.

Pompeo’s character was using the sheep to research the procedure and determine if the implant would graft into a new host, making the procedure a viable option for humans. To make the scene look authentic, a veterinarian, played by actor Henry G. Saunders, was included during the surgery.

According to McClure, the special effects team from the show did a great job with the simulated sheep. It breathes, and has tubes, blood, and real wool.

McClure helped set up the replicated sheep for surgery, making it look authentic. She worked with the actors to get the procedure right, explaining technicalities including how to hold a knife for the necropsy, how to use the monitor, how to administer anesthetic, and how to shear the sheep. She also worked with the technical team on development of the script.

“I definitely contributed to the authenticity of the scene and got things moving along, and they were genuinely listening to what I had to say,” McClure said. “I was really pleased with that. It was exciting.”

McClure said it is important that veterinarians be represented in the kind of research demonstrated on the show, and that it be conveyed that veterinarians are the best health-care providers for animals.

In addition to veterinary skill, geography played a big part in McClure landing the TV gig. A “Grey’s Anatomy” team member called her former colleague, Dr. Pamela Eisele, a sheep expert at UC Davis, who referred the show to McClure because she was closer to the studio where “Grey’s” films.

“My role was being a technical advisor,” McClure said. “I did not get paid anything. My compensation was to have a veterinarian in the scene. I wanted it to be known that the surgeons don’t get to do these things unless a veterinarian is there.”

McClure said this was her first consulting job for TV or film. The 10-hour day was well worth it. “I felt the set related to what I have done for 20 years,” she said.