Focus On People

Dr. Lederman

From the Laurel Leader
August 05, 1982.

“Dr. Lederman cares for pets at home”

by Milton J. Smith Sr.

Dr. Thomas Lederman, whose at-home visits to his patients racks up thousands of miles annually, didn’t mind traveling to Washington D.C.

Dr. Tommy, a Laurel resident and veterinarian for six years, views his practice with good humor and a seriousness that is expressed this way:
“Treat animals like people, but never treat people like animals.”

Those comments are one reason why the Millbrook Lane vet will appear August 7 on Channel 9’s “Saturday Magazine.” As part of the “how to” segment, he will show viewers how to medicate their pets at home.

His course on pet care at Open University in Washington D.C. attracted the interest of the show’s producers, and the 31-year-old vet soon found himself in front of the television cameras.

He’s as easy going about the television show as his approach to life and career, “which doesn’t accrue me any cash benefits, but I have a lot of fun. ” Dr. Lederman

Annually, Dr. Lederman drives 35,000-40,000 miles on his rounds, and chose the Laurel-Columbia area for his mobile pet service because o fits central location in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. The availability of animal hospitals for emergency surgery, good connecting roads to his clients and a great place to live, are the reasons the Baltimore native listed.

Dr. Lederman bases his veterinarian practice on at-home check-ups which he says can be performed easily unless surgery is necessary. Then, he performs operations at area animal hospitals. “There is less trauma to an animal if it can be treated in familiar surroundings,” he explains.

Dr. Lederman has had instances of animals refusing to eat after being taken to the hospital. He says this is particularly true of cats. And, dogs, he admits, have bitten him. A recent case involved a dog which needed a Caesarian to deliver her pups.

His sensitivity toward animals was partially earned while an under­graduate student when he worked at the Baltimore County Humane Society.
He recalls bitterly the abuse unfeeling persons inflicted on all types of pets.
As a veterinarian, he encounters little inhumanness, “because the people who call me have affection for their pets.”

He quotes from a recent Reader’s Digest article which observed that pets make “people healthier and sometimes even longer-lived.”

“It is also a fact that home companions live longer when in a home that supplies them with love,” he points out. He cites an example of an elderly Columbia resident who has a 22-year-old dog.

In addition to his Humane Society work, Dr. Lederman was employed with the Metro Police Department and U.S. Secret Service and pre-screened dogs before acceptance for training with the agencies. He also provided treatment for the police dogs and observed that most were female German Shepherds, which are prone to arthritis of the hips more than other breeds.

As a true animal lover, he discounts the faddish animal psychologists and behavioralists, saying their advice is “not especially meaningful as people who know their animals can figure out their moods and abilities.” Dr. Lederman, who prefers to call his patients “compan­ion animals,” is assertive on the subject of feral animals.

“A wild animal doesn’t belong in the home. Although I’ll treat them if they are sick,
I wish people would not risk serious injuries from animals that belong in the wild.
And, it is not good for the animal.”

Dr. Lederman tells many anecdotes about his veterinary practice, such as “the man who changed his dog’s name to ‘Alcohol’ because it had been denatured.”

Another story he tells is the one of the talkative woman and her dog who she embraced protectively. After repeated attempts to hear the canine’s heartbeat with his stethoscope and unable to quiet its verbose owner, Dr. Lederman finally removed the instrument to listen to the woman. “The stethoscope is on my hand,” she blurted out. “Thank God,” said Dr. Lederman, “I thought the dog was dead.” Patient, owner and doctor made a complete recovery.


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