Professor of equine surgery honored for career achievements

Jeannie Freeman, Dr. David Freeman, and Dr. Anje Bauck

By Sarah Carey

Dr. David Freeman, the Martha and Arthur Appleton Endowed Professor in Equine Studies at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, has been honored by a national group for his career achievements in veterinary surgery.

Freeman received the American College of Veterinary Surgeons’ Founders’ Award for Career Achievement, given to recognize board-certified veterinary surgeons who have made significant contributions to the development of surgical techniques and methodology, and in disseminating knowledge to colleagues, residents and students. He was presented with the award during the group’s annual surgery summit meeting, held October 12-15 in Portland, Oregon.

Dr. Anje Bauck, a clinical assistant professor of large animal surgery at UF, co-nominated Freeman for the award, along with Dr. Ali Morton, a professor of large animal surgery and medical director of the UF large animal hospital.

“Dr. Freeman is a brilliant scientist, a world-class surgeon and a phenomenal teacher. He has dedicated his life to the advancement of scientific knowledge and techniques of large animal surgery, especially in the field of colic surgery and gastrointestinal physiology,” Bauck said in a comment included in the ACVS program. “His experience is matched only by his ingenuity and creativity when it comes to solving surgical problems.”

A board-certified equine surgeon, Freeman served for many years as chief of the college’s large animal surgery service, and also as interim department chair for the department of large animal clinical sciences. He also directs UF’s Island Whirl Equine Colic Research Laboratory.

His research interests include treatment of diseases that cause colic in horses. Freeman has developed methods and management strategies for colic surgery in the horse that have reduced complication rates and improved survival rates.

Freeman’s many career accolades include being honored in 2011 by the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil for his contributions to the development of equine surgery worldwide.

He was invited by the British Equine Veterinary Association to present the Sir Frederick Hobday Memorial Lecture in 2004 and was named Teacher of the Year in 2007 by the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Class of 2010. He received the Florida Veterinary Medical Association’s Clinical Investigator Award from UF in 2012.

Freeman graduated from the Veterinary College of Ireland, Dublin, in 1972 and then worked in private practice in Ireland for 10 months. He completed an equine internship at New Bolton Center of the University of Pennsylvania from 1974 to 1975, followed by a residency in large animal surgery there from 1975 to 1977. He was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985.

From 1981 to 1994, he worked as an equine surgeon at New Bolton Center, becoming board-certified in veterinary surgery in 1989. Prior to joining UF’s faculty in 2004, he served on the faculty at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, where he served for several years as head of equine medicine and surgery.