Our Hospitals in the News

Walter Haigh School Career Fair

In June of 2011, Doctor Christopher Martin and his staff participated in the Career Fair held at Walter Haigh School in Salem, New Hampshire. For this enlightening event, eighty five fourth and fifth grade students evaluated numerous professions to help determine what course they might want to take on their road of life. Main Street Animal Hospital explained the veterinary field with pride, and supplied plenty of visual stimuli to encourage the students to ask questions.

Many of the children approached the booth prepared with questions and material to record the answers. The staff provided the eager listeners with a lot of information as well as some fun give away items to help them remember the time they shared together. Perhaps the biggest draw to the booth was the radiograph viewer, ready and running with interesting images of broken limbs, bladder stones and even puppies. The children were pumped and kept the staff busy answering questions about animal care with a special focus on flea and tick preventive.  

Doctor Martin and the staff at Main Street Animal Hospital are proud to have played a part in enlightening students on the veterinary field and helping to open their eyes to the many career opportunities available. We are grateful to Amy Patenaude, Guidance Counselor, for inviting us to partake in this event. We hope to see some of the students working alongside us in the future!


Wignall Heroines and Angels Strike Again…

Dracut, MA. Saturday, June 18, 2011

What could have been a regular old day at Wignall Animal Hospital– and at any wedding scheduled for Saturday, June 18, 2011– turned out to be nothing but that !  A Camp Wignall boarder, Guinness,  a 2 year old Old English Bulldog, was sad to miss his dad’s wedding that day, but Guinness had no idea what was in store for him other than being a little home sick.  Thanks to quick action by Wignall Staff, Guiness’s life was saved Saturday!  When Wignall Animal Hospital Brusher-Bather, Holly, took Guinness from his camp kennel run to be groomed Saturday, she attentively noticed that he didn’t seem well and  immediately brought him to be evaluated by our  Senior Veterinary Technician, Erin. Assisted by Veterinary Technicians, Sarah and Michelle, they immediately went into action under the supervision of Dr. Pikulik, with emergency first aid.  Dr. Pikulik examined him and saw signs of severe respiratory distress.  Guinness’s breed is prone to respiratory issues and initial assessment was that the stress of being away from home may have triggered Guinness’s respiratory episode.  After administering oxygen, intravenous fluids and medication– and a lot of TLC– it was decided that Guinness needed 24 hour emergency care and was referred to a 24 hour emergency hospital. His dad was contacted-with only 2 hours and counting until  his “I do’s”-and  he agreed for Guinness to go to the 24 hour facility. Receptionist, Ann, used the phone to its maximum potential, persevering to get a referral completed for Guinness, making multiple phone calls and persisting until she was able to arrange the emergency referral.  While Guinness’s dad was at the alter, Michelle and Sarah transported Guinness to the 24 hour hospital, calming him, driving carefully-but expeditiously-and safely delivered him there. We hear from Guinness’s dad that he is doing just fine (dad AND patient!) , is home–and, yes, his dad DID get married as planned!  Very nice work all and special Kudos to Ann, Erin, Dr. Pikulik and Holly; and Extra Special Kudos to Michelle and Sarah for providing emergency transport-all are Guinness’s Wignall Angels.

Special Thank You to Nancy Gibbs

The Doctors truly bond with their clients at Weston Veterinary Clinic.  Recently one of Dr. Neil Storey’s clients, Nancy Gibbs, passed away.  As a thank you for taking exceptional care of her dog, “Nell”, Ms. Gibbs named the Weston Veterinary Clinic as a beneficiary in her Will.

Thanks to Nancy’s generous gift, the clinic was able to purchase some new monitoring equipment as well as start a fund for subsidized care for clients that may not be able to afford care for their pets.

“Nell” is still a patient at Weston Veterinary Clinic and we hope to continue to see her for many years to come.

Wignall Animal Hospital Donates Oxygen Masks For Rescued Pets

Wignall Animal Hospital proudly donated 8 animal oxygen masks to the Dracut Fire Department recently. The masks received local press approximately 2 years ago when Main Street Animal Hospital, Salem, New Hampshire, donated masks to the Salem Fire Department as their Santa Sunday project that year. At the time, the masks were not highly used locally, however Wignall Animal Hospital Practice Manager, Patricia Mancini, recently learned from Deputy Chief Mike Ralls, (also a Wignall client and seen at the hospital for fire inspections and hospital staff emergency training), that Dracut Fire Department was a regular user of the masks. When hospital owner, David McGrath, DVM, learned that Dracut’s fire fighters would welcome more masks, the hospital jumped in and offered to purchase more for the department. The hospital donated 2 large dog masks, 2 medium dog masks, 2 large cat masks (also useable for small dogs) and 2 medium cat masks. The hope was that pets rescued from fires in the Wignall Community would never go without this valuable fire rescue aid.

Anti Bull-E Gear

WellesleyWeston Online

Cheryl Fenton writer

Andrea Harding, co-creator of anti bull-e gear

Much like a class in school, the act of bullying runs its course. The initial taunts and teases might serve as an introduction, just a taste of what could potentially come throughout the school year. Then there’s the long, involved daily grind of lessons. Didn’t know you were a nerd, did you? Didn’t think you were fat, did you? Well, the bully is there to teach you these things. There might even be a little “homework” via Facebook or MySpace. At the end of the course is the final exam-one single incident that pushes the student into a make-or-break situation. Will they pass or give up?

In some cases, this “final test” of bullying pushes the victim to fail. A sad reality of today’s bullying is that it’s an aggressive phenomenon that goes beyond shoving others down the hall and passing notes about someone in class replete with funny drawings.

Recent studies have shown that over 30 percent of kids are bullied at one time or another. The past few years, things seem to have become worse, with several students in the news turning to suicide or extreme violence as a result of horrendous behavior towards them by fellow classmates.

Aware of the possibly fatal intensity in bullying, Andrea Harding, a long-time Wellesley resident and mother of two, decided to make an anti-bullying campaign a top priority, so she became a co-creator of anti bull-e gear, a clothing line with an anti-bullying message. “I got tired of children committing suicide at the hands of other children. There’s something totally unbalanced in the world about that,” says Harding. Together with her husband, NewsCenter 5 co-anchor Ed Harding, her sister Ilene Terrell, and Terrell’s partner Sheri Backerain, Harding created a line of clothing that spreads the anti-bullying message through clever slogans and a loveable Bull Terrier logo. “When Phoebe Prince took her own life, I decided it was time to help children find a voice. Most states have anti-bullying laws. If that doesn’t speak volumes to us as parents, I don’t know what does.” Massachusetts has several laws that address bullying, hazing, and even cyber-bullying.

“The outrage existed even before my wife and I started this process,” says Ed Harding. “The Phoebe Prince story just broke your heart. Every time I reported that story, I remember vividly just wanting to cry. Today, there are no lines. We live in a 24/7, 365 world. There are no stop signs. At least when I was little, [bullying] ended when you physically left the building. You were quiet for the evening. Today, you can be at home, talking online to anyone, anywhere in the world.”

With memories of the strong hand of bullying reaching into her own home years ago and victimizing her son Adam, now 24, Harding was frustrated with the lack of support for kids and parents.

“When I went online to understand it, everything I read was either combating it with more aggression or it was so dry,” she remembers. “These kids are raised in a world of sound bites. I didn’t feel there was anything out there that was in ‘kid speak’.”

The Terrell/Backerain household in Fredericksburg, Virginia had also seen its share of bullying, with both of their young sons going through some form of it as early as kindergarten. The women were happy to add anti bull-e gear into already packed schedules (Terrell is a podiatrist; Backerain is a veterinarian). They threw themselves whole-heartedly into assisting the Hardings in this new grassroots effort.

“The goal of our company is to create something that people will be willing to wear, especially the kids, that would fit their lifestyle and would constantly be a reminder,” says Terrell. “Children are born with a clean slate. [Bullying isn't] a genetic behavior. These are learned and imitated behaviors, so I’m convinced that some of what we see is from home and some is peer-related. We have to attack it on both fronts-parents and kids.”

“Since we started, we’ve become way more involved in the message,” she continues, excited about the future of this collaboration. “It’s almost like it’s grown and snowballed.”

Homer Brings it Home

“People don’t like to talk about bullying, so I wanted to find some way to put all this genesis into a character that would allow the conversation to open up,” says Harding.

Sample T-shirts from the anti bull-e gear clothing line

Nothing drives a point home quicker than irony-something that Harding realized in the initial stages of anti bull-e gear.

The idea was right in front her eyes; or rather, lying across her feet. As a Bull Terrier rescuer for over 20 years, Harding found inspiration right in her own home, where she had been involved with a “bully” named Homer for some time.

“The irony is that those among us who own Bull Terriers call them ‘bullies.’ So I thought: That’s it! It’s living with me.” With that realization came the face of Homer, Ed and Andrea’s eight-year-old Bull Terrier. “Most Bull Terriers are between 55 to 60 pounds, and he’s almost 80. He’s a brute with a vicious bark, yet he has the gentlest heart and just wants to be loved.” Quite the opposite of what you would expect of a “bully.”

Coming to the Hardings’ home from a rescue center at the age of two, Homer had never been inside a house with a family. “He needed to learn social skills, so he really did embody all the elements of the issue,” she explains. They took an image of Homer’s handsome face to a graphic artist, and the anti bull-e gear logo was born.

Wearing the Message

“When you look at fashion, it captures the essence and dynamics of our culture. We’re using our fashion to make the statement that our culture needs to change. We need to return to civility,” says Harding. “I wanted to create an idea to keep bullying in the limelight until we, as a community, successfully put an end to it.”

Much as we hope bullying has a grim future, it seems anti bull-e has a great one in the works. Lounge pants, hoodies, shorts, and sweatshirts are being added to the collection, as well as new messages targeting different groups. There are two T-shirt designs currently in the line; a crosswords puzzle using words like “acceptance” and “tolerance” as solutions to “fat” and “tramp,” and the hallmark T-shirt of “Put Bull-e-ing Behind Us” with Homer’s face. A cyber-bullying shirt with the tagline “Date Machine Not Hate Machine” for a computer isn’t far behind, as well as shirts in Spanish and one with a rainbow design.

“Our mission is to help children and parents find a way to communicate in unison that bullying is not acceptable,” says Harding. “By wearing anti bull-e gear, you’re adding your voice to the message on a daily basis.”

Helping the Community

According to Harding, there are two key elements to making bullying a thing of the past. The first is that parents and teachers must be actively involved.  Second is educating everyone in the importance of respecting and tolerating each other. It’s to this end that anti bull-e gear is giving back five percent of all proceeds to Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, the world’s foremost program fighting this issue.

According to Dan Olweus, the program’s creator, known as a pioneer in bullying research, a person is bullied “when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.” Olweus goes into schools to train teachers, talk to kids, and teach both sets of people the language of bullying.

“It’s wonderful how they reach out to everyone in the school community and talk about what is and what isn’t bullying,” says Backerain, who was originally impressed by Olweus’ research-backed success. “They make the community aware and involved. They teach kids to stop and see the consequences of what they do-whether it’s what comes out of their mouths or driving a car and texting.”

The Future of anti bull-e

“It’s a very slow and steady build. But people like the designs and they love what we’re doing,” says Harding. Anti bull-e was the only apparel line exhibiting at the 7th Annual International Bullying Prevention Association conference this past November in Seattle. “People are encouraging us to keep going.”

Regardless of what others say, sometimes it’s best to just go with your own heart , and Harding, Terrell, and Backerain are doing just that.

“I don’t want to sit on the sidelines anymore,” admits Backerain. “I love my boys with all my heart and soul. I want to make a difference in the world they’re going to live in when they’re young men.”

“When the media hype turns its attention to some new issue and the bullying unfortunately fades into the background, that makes what we’re trying to accomplish so much more important,” says Harding. “This message will always stay front and center with us.”


DECEMBER 29, 2010, DRACUT, MA……..Wignall Animal Hospital proudly donated 8 animal oxygen masks to the Dracut Fire Department today.  The masks received local press approximately 2 years ago when Main Street Animal Hospital, Salem, New Hampshire, donated masks to the Salem Fire Department as their Santa Sunday project that year.  At the time, the masks were not highly used locally, however when Wignall Animal Hospital learned from Deputy Chief Mike Ralls (also a client of Wignall and seen at the hospital for fire inspections and hospital staff emergency training) that Dracut Fire Department were regular users of the masks, and would welcome more, the hospital jumped in and offered to purchase more for the department. The hospital donated 2 large dog masks, 2 medium dog masks, 2 large cat masks (also useable for small dogs) and 2 medium cat masks.

Project Helping Hands

Once again, Wignall Animal Hospital is a food drive drop off location for the 17th Annual Dracut House of Pizza Project Helping Hands Thanksgiving Food Drive for needy local families. Wignall Animal Hospital invites employees, clients and Dracut/Lowell residents to contribute non-perishable food items which will enable hundreds of local families to enjoy good, healthy meals.  In 2009, the food drive fed 1,230 families for the Thanksgiving holiday. The goal this year is to feed 1,500 families!  Food donations may be dropped off inside the hospital during normal business hours: M/W/F 8am-8pm; T/Th: 7am-6pm; Sat. 8am-4pm and Sun. 9am-3pm.

Please lend your helping hands to make this holiday season joyous for us all.


DRACUT, MA  9/2/10

Seven infant kittens, 3 males and 4 females, some striped, some fluffy grey and some black, were found at an abandoned home in Lowell, MA on Thursday, September 2nd.  When the home was under a bank-ordered clean out Thursday, the Lowell Animal Control Department was contacted to rescue the seven kittens.  Approximately 2-3 weeks old, the tiny kittens clung to dear life as Lowell Animal Control Officer, Rob Picard, rescued them and carefully transported them to Wignall Animal Hospital.  Dr. Kate Thomas examined and evaluated each kitten, assessing medical condition and any necessary medical treatment. While in overall good physical condition, all the kittens had fleas, appeared to have intestinal parasites and slight upper respiratory infections, all of which are easily treatable.  Thanks to Pets In Need Rescue, Dracut and Wignall Animal Hospital, who will provide medical care to the kittens, they will be nursed back to health and then placed into new “forever homes”.


DRACUT, MA 9/2/10

Five juvenile squirrels found in Lowell, MA Thursday, September 2nd, were curiously entangled with each other at the tails and covered with tree sap which adhered them to each other in an unusual pile.  They appeared to have struggled vehemently to get free of each other, because their tails were knotted together in actual knots and the tails were further attached to each other by the sticky glue of tree sap that must have been in their nest.  Their age is estimated at approximately two months, an age at which they would still be living in their “home” nest, however no adult squirrels were found at the rescue location when Lowell Animal Control Officer, Rob Picard, rescued them today.

Unable to untangle the squirrels at the scene, Officer Picard transported them to Wignall Animal Hospital for evaluation.  Veterinary Technician Supervisor, Bonnie  Begin, who has a special interest in wildlife, immediately jumped into action to free the squirrels.  Officer Picard, Ms. Begin and other veterinary staff-with over 30 years of experience between them– had never seen this happen to squirrels before.  Barely identifiable as individual animals, the squirrel tails were literally knotted and tied to each other like ropes and covered with the sap which cemented the tail hair and underlying tissue together.  The squirrels seemed to be exhausted by their apparent ordeal and allowed the Wignall Team to work on them without any resistance. The knots were so tightly wound that Ms. Begin and other veterinary team members had to work diligently for over 30 minutes to ease the tails free with some gentle shaving, massage, soap, water and alcohol to break the sticky seal of the tree sap.

Once freed, the squirrels were placed in warm clean bedding to begin recuperating and remained  huddled together for the next few hours.  Amidst all the detanglement activity, Wignall Patient Coordinator, Candas Kane, quickly began making phone calls to local wildlife rehabilitators to find a more suitable environment for the squirrels to be rehabilitated from their injuries.  Although minor injuries,  a wildlife sanctuary environment would be best to enable the young squirrels to make the proper developmental transition into adult life.  The squirrels safely left Wignall today en route to their new temporary rehab. home until they can be released into the wild.

Dracut-Lowell Area Veterinary Hospitals Rally

to Help Local Shelter Pets in Need

Wignall Animal Hospital and Lowell Veterinary Clinic joins national movement to donate lifesaving medicine to benefit area dogs and cats in need

DRACUT, MA AUGUST 1, 2010 - Pet shelters in MA are seeing an increase in the thousands of cats and dogs entering shelters each year due to the economic recession. In response, Wignall Animal Hospital and Lowell Veterinary Clinic have partnered with more than 2,000 veterinary clinics nationwide to provide heartworm and intestinal parasite medication to shelter and rescue dogs and cats.

The program, dubbed Give Interceptor® Give Back, provides Interceptor® (milbemycin oxime) Flavor Tabs® to participating veterinary hospitals which, in turn, make the donation to any local pet shelter or rescue group of the hospital’s choosing. Nationwide, the program will ultimately deliver 167,900 doses to dogs and cats in need.

Wignall Animal Hospital and Lowell Veterinary Clinic chose to support Northeast Animal Shelter, Salem, MA because of its commitment to help local animals. “We know the importance of heartworm and parasite prevention,” said Dr. David McGrath, at Wignall Animal Hospital. “Because of our involvement, today, more animals are healthy and more are ready for adoption.”

Through the program, Wignall Animal Hospital and Lowell Veterinary Clinic have pledged enough medicine for Northeast Animal Shelter to keep 279 dogs and cats protected from the most common and dangerous internal parasites.

Interceptor Flavor Tabs prevents heartworm disease, which can be deadly to dogs and cats, but also controls roundworms, hookworms and whipworms in dogs and roundworms and hookworms in cats. Through the end of 2010, every qualifying purchase automatically generates a donation, making it easy for pet owners to treat their own pet while helping pets in need in the surrounding community.


Dogs and cats should be tested for heartworm prior to use. In a small percentage of treated dogs, digestive and neurologic side effects may occur. In cats, safety studies up to 10 times the label dose did not detect any adverse drug reactions. For full production information, go to http://www.interceptorpet.com/ or call 1-800-332-2761.

Main Street Animal Hospital on Animal Planet

Watch Main Street Animal Hospital (located in Salem, NH), on Animal Planet (Dogs 101) Saturday December 12, 2009 @ 9pm. This exciting episode will contain everything you need to know about puppies; from their basic biology to selecting the right puppy for your lifestyle, and how to prepare your household for your new puppy’s arrival.

Main Street’s Chief of Staff, Veterinarian Dr. Christopher Martin, and the staff will be featured along with one of their clients Sharon Wagner.  The show documents the pregnancy through birth of puppies born to her 6 year old Labrador Retriever named Wigeon “Pudgy”. Dr. Martin has been caring for Wigeon at Main Street Animal Hospital since she was a puppy of 8 weeks old. This 1 hour episode will give highlights of the birth, first visit to the veterinarian, puppy classes and the eventual adoption to a new family. It prepares the new family with tips on basic care and gets them ready to receive their new puppy!

For more information, click on the link below

Dogs 101: Puppies Airs Dec. 12

  • Picking a Puppy/Adoption
  • Training
  • First Four Weeks
  • From Puppy to Adult

Weston Veterinary Clinic Annual Charity Motorcycle Ride a Big Success!

On Sunday, August 9, 2009, the Weston Veterinary Clinic sponsored its 2nd annual motorcycle ride to raise money for the Neponset Valley Humane Society. Approximately 20 motorcycles and two “hot rods” driven by veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and friends left the Weston Clinic for a 1 1/2 hour country road trip. The riders were greeted on their return to the Clinic by 50 human and assorted canine supporters, all of whom enjoyed a catered barbecue and raffle. Wagging tails were plentiful!

The event raised nearly $3,000, all of which was donated to the Neponset Valley Humane Society of Norwood, MA.

This all-volunteer organization works tirelessly to find homes for dogs and cats, to establish a medical fund for animals in need, and to expand their trap, neuter and release program for feral cats.

Organizers of the event included Holly O’Halloran, Shauna LeBlanc, Practice Manager Andrea Harding, and Dr. Joel Woolfson. Dr. David McGrath, owner of the Weston Veterinary Clinic, was the major sponsor of the event.

This year’s Road Captains included Bruce Leung, CVT, of VESCONE, Mike Robinson, DVM, from the Medway Animal Hospital, Wendy Emerson, DVM, from the Putnam Veterinary Clinic in Topsfield, Joel Woolfson, DVM, DACVS, and Allen Sisson, DVM, DACVIM, from The Angell Animal Medical Center.  The motorcycles were escorted by Drs. David Knapp, Suzy Starr and Allen Sisson in their 4-wheel hot rods.

Once again, the staff of the Weston Veterinary Clinic “went the distance” to help animals in need.

(MVMA Magazine)

Debarking: The Unkindest Cut



Dog Lovers Divided On Debarking Bill.  Join The Conversation: Conversation Nation

BOSTON (WBZ) – What do you think about dog debarking?

Should be veterinarians be allowed to debark dogs?

It was up for debate Tuesday on Beacon Hill.

A bill has been filed to ban devocalization of dogs in Massachusetts unless it’s a medical necessity.

Debarking is a procedure which snips or removes a dog’s vocal chords to make the bark softer.

Read: Dog Debarking Concerns

There are animal lovers on both sides of the debate.

Those against debarking say it’s cruel and can lead to complications for the dog.

Those who support it claim it can sometimes save a dog’s life.

Debarking can lead to serious medical problems for the dogs.

Some have trouble swallowing and the potential growth of scar tissue after the surgery can cause respiratory distress.

Those who support debarking say there are cases in which dogs are beaten or killed by neighbors or strangers because of their bark. They claim the procedure is a last resort to keep the pets safe.

The Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association says it deplores devocalizing for convenience.

But it does not support a ban on the procedure altogether because they say it should be available to prevent a pet from losing its life or home.

What do you think?

Join the conversation in our Conversation Nation blog.

More information on the bill and devocalization:

(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)