Reflections from Samana
Dr. Arthur Freedman
I travel to the Dominican Republic every June, as some of you know, volunteering with Project Samana, a nonprofit organization for animals much like Doctors Without Borders. During our week on the Samana Peninsula, we (veterinarians, vet students, technicians, and assistants) provide free medical and surgical care to as many animals in need as we can. (“In need” describes a large part of the animal population there.) This year’s trip was my fourteenth, and, I’m happy to say, was a successful one. The group consisted of 24 members, many from MA, and some from CA, GA, CO, and VA. Our small-animal team (about half the group) performed 160 surgeries in 4 days, and the large-animal team traveled many miles from farm to farm to castrate and care for 40 horses and mules—the DR’s mainstay work animals. The animals we weren’t able to treat will wait until November, when another group goes down.
What made the trip really special this time was our stay at a newly renovated, grand old hotel, where we were treated much like royalty. The food and accommodations were wonderful. The staff really appreciated why we were there and went out of their way to make our after-hours pleasant. We were happy we all chipped in a little more this year for the relaxing end-of-day experience.
I feel very fortunate to be a part of this group and its mission to educate the underprivileged about animal care. It positively reinforces my decision to become a veterinarian and reminds me of how advantaged I am to have so many resources at home that aren’t available everywhere. If you are able to donate, I hope you might consider this cause. www.projectsamana.com
National Pet Dental Health Month
Dr. Arthur Freedman
Since February is National Pet Dental Health Month, we want to make certain our clients know why it is so important to take care of their pets’ teeth. Proper dental care is just as important for our pets as it is for us, yet it is often not considered an integral part of their health care.
Periodontal disease is a very common health condition in cats and dogs and can occur as early as 3 years of age. It is an infection of the gums which can be very painful as well as progress to gum and tooth loss, and if it becomes more advanced, the infection can lead to serious problems of the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Periodontal disease begins with an accumulation of a soft bacterial film on the teeth called plaque. Plaque calcifies, becoming tartar, which leads to more serious periodontal disease. At the onset of periodontal disease, a routine dental cleaning can often restore a pet’s oral health. As the disease advances, though, more involved dental procedures are often necessary to help save the affected gums and teeth. A periodic check of your pet’s mouth by our veterinary team, along with early and consistent home dental care, will help prevent periodontal disease or minimize its progression.
Home dental care includes daily brushing, and in some cases, special diets, chew treats, and water additives. Even with this protocol, a professional cleaning may be necessary every so often. Some pets just seem to have a tendency toward tartar build up.
If your pet has bad breath or trouble eating, we encourage you to schedule a courtesy oral exam, and we’ll let you know if a dental cleaning would be beneficial.
More specific references on your pets dental Health visit: American Veterinary Dental College
Arthur Freedman, DVM, practice owner
Dr. Arthur Freedman, affectionately known as Dr. F., has owned and operated Hawthorne Animal Health Care for 29 years. He grew up in Marblehead and attended Kansas State University and then Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, earning his DVM. He returned east to begin his career at Lager Animal Hospital in Salem, purchasing and relocating that practice when Dr. Lager retired in 1986. His practice evolved as he developed an interest in alternative medicine, studying with Dr. Richard Pitcairn, the renowned veterinary homeopath, and completing advanced coursework in the field. Dr. F. is a member of many professional organizations and has been acknowledged by peers for his volunteer service, dedication, and spirit of giving back. He and his wife, Ellen, live in Swampscott with their dogs, Quinn and Sara.
Mia’s Acupuncture Success Story
Dr. Kim Rotner
Mia, a nine-year-old yellow lab, was not able to get up from the floor like she used to. Her owner realized that Mia spent the majority of the day lying in her bed. She spoke to Dr. Rotner, who explained that Mia likely had an age-related condition similar to human arthritis called degenerative joint disease. Controlling inflammation and pain in affected points is key to successful management of this condition.
A physical exam revealed swollen knee joints and a decreased range of motion in both hips. X-rays and bloodwork confirmed the diagnosis and revealed elevated liver values suggesting a problem with liver function. After discussing treatment options, including conventional medicines and alternative therapies, Mia’s owner decided to pursue acupuncture as a first step. Acupuncture was a great treatment option for Mia due to its lack of side effects, especially important given her liver condition.
Mia started weekly, half-hour long treatments with Dr. Rotner. After two sessions, Mia began to rise more easily, and after one-month she began walking longer on her walks. She continued to improve over the next six weeks and remains more mobile and enjoys her daily outings. Now that her condition has improved, she will have acupuncture once a month to maintain these good results. Visit our Services page to learn more about veterinary acupuncture or call us at 978.741.2300 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rotner.
Dr. Kim Rotner, a key part of our practice for 20 years, is a native of New York who attended Trinity College and the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, earning her DVM. She went on to study veterinary acupuncture and became certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) — at the time, one of the few practitioners in the state to be so certified. In addition to her affiliation with IVAS, Dr. R. is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Veterinary Acupuncture, and the Veterinary Association of the North Shore. She lives on the North Shore with her husband, Phil, her sons, Sam and Ben, and their dog, Jib.
We were heartbroken to learn of the recent death of Joel Woolfson, a brilliant veterinarian and close friend, who spent many hours here when pets needed special surgery. Joel had a huge heart, ever apparent when he was with animals—especially Annie, his beloved rescue dog and soul mate. Joel and Annie were deeply connected—it was hard to tell who rescued whom—and when Annie died a couple of years ago, Joel never fully recovered from her loss. We will hold onto the memory of this unassuming, remarkable man, who may never have understood how meaningful his life was on earth. He was a gift to us all, beyond words.
Volunteering Update from Dr. Rotner
This July Dr. Rotner and her son volunteered their time at Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. It was an experience they will never forget and were very glad to be a part of. For more information or to get involved yourself, please visit: campsunshine.org.
Thanks from Dr. F.
Dr. Freedman thanks all who donated generously to the Pan-Mass Challenge this year on his behalf. We raised $4000 for cancer research!
Your checks and contributions to the cash bucket are very much appreciated.
A Reminder About Heat Stroke
Did you know that in just 10 minutes the inside of your car heats up to 104 on an 85 degree day?
As temperatures climb, remember to leave windows open and park in the shade when you
have to leave your pet in the car.
The American Veterinary Medical Association offers helpful guidelines in this article:
Be Alert For Ticks
Photo by Scott Bauer. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Scenes From Samana
This year was Dr. Freedman’s 13th trip with Project Samana to the Dominican Republic.
This annual volunteer mission offers veterinary care to underprivileged residents.