Mark Freiberg ’73 opened his presentation with some catchy factoids. Last year over one million knee surgeries were performed on dogs in the USA. The worldwide market for canine knee surgeries exceeded $ 1 billion dollars.
Mark reported, that dogs are victims of a form of arthritis that is damaging to their knees and their knee tendons. The traditional treatment involves breaking the bones to realign the knee, and the recovery is multiple months of restricted activity. Mark shared a bit of his motivations that drew him to pursue his degree in veterinary medicine. After being a regional pioneer of emergency hospitals for pets, Mark was an owner member of a pet hospital chain that reached 70 locations before it was purchased. Today Mark spends his time at the Kirkland Animal Hospital where he specializes in a less invasive surgical technique for canine knees.
Mark is among the pioneers of a canine knee surgery that avoids the breaking of bones, and the dogs typical spend three days in the pet hospital before they are able to leave walking on their own. Not only do the dogs recover more rapidly from this new technique, but there are substantial fewer post-operative problems.
Sitting in the crowd to offer an independent veterinary view was Casey Sowell ’01 who is in a veterinary practice in north Seattle. Others of note in the crowd were graduates – Tad Richards ’03 and Shane Richards ’07 — who also spent their high school years in Longview (as did Mark).
Here is a bit of background on Mark: Mark Freiberg, DVM Dr. Mark Freiberg graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Zoology. He attended Washington State University and added a degree in Animal Science and graduated from Washington State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1977. After briefly practicing he founded the hospital now known as Veterinary Specialty Center in Lynnwood, WA. Today, the specialty center is the largest private veterinary hospital in the state of Washington in terms of veterinarians employed.
Mark then founded Animal Emergency Service of Kirkland, WA. In 1992, he became the owner of Rose Hill Animal Hospital. In 1996, he merged his two practices to become a founder of Pet’s Choice, Inc. By the late 1990’s Pet’s Choice had grown to 65 hospitals. Following the merger of Pet’s Choice, Inc with Veterinary Centers of American (VCA), Mark remained as medical director of VCA Rose Hill Animal Hospital (13006 NE 85th Street in Kirkland). He attained board certification from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2001.