Brian Lowney: Azores native brings his experience to Dartmouth animal hospital

When Dr. Nuno Carreiro was in the sixth grade, he wrote an essay revealing that someday he was going to become a veterinarian. He never lost sight of that goal and has enjoyed a rewarding journey that has taken him to many places, including Anchor Animal Hospital in North Dartmouth, where he recently joined the veterinary staff.

Carreiro, age 35, is a native of Lagoa, Sao Miguel, Azores, and immigrated with his family to Fall River in 1989. He concentrated in caring for small animals at Bristol County Agricultural School in Dighton, and after graduating in 1996, pursued studies at UMass Amherst, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in small animal science, with a graduate school focus on immunology.

After completing veterinary studies at Colorado State University in 2007, he worked at a small animal practice on the Virginia coast before joining the Anchor staff last fall.

“The experience I gained at that practice was invaluable,” he recalls, adding that he developed a love for animals, both large and small, by helping at his grandfather’s farm in the Azores, where he says many neighbors owned chickens, pigs and other farm animals and most families owned a dog.

While in Virginia, the veterinarian was part of a team who provided medical care for the famed herd of Chincoteague ponies that roam Assateague Island. The shaggy wild horses have adapted to the environment over time and thrive on a diet of dune and marsh grasses and drink fresh water in ponds.

“That was quite the experience,” Carreiro recalls, adding that the veterinary team traveled to the island at least three times a year to provide routine equine care and also whenever summoned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Dept., which maintains the herd, to treat a sick or injured pony.

While Carreiro, like his colleagues at Anchor, is a general practitioner, his research interests are in dentistry, surgery, oncology and chemotherapy. He treats both cats and dogs.

Carreiro recently treated Licorice, a 15-month-old Cao Fila de Sao Miguel, a breed developed in the Azores, which is known for its herding and guarding abilities.

Initially, Licorice was brought to an emergency veterinary hospital, but when it was determined that the dog’s injuries were too severe for fracture repair and amputation was suggested, the canine was transferred to Anchor, where Carreiro amputated the dog’s left forelimb.

“He’s done great,” the surgeon reveals. “The day after the surgery, he was walking around comfortably. Veterinarians like to say that dogs are born with a spare tire. They can walk on three legs and do extremely well.”

Carreiro says he is waiting for the incision to heal and the staples to be removed before the handsome good-natured dog can be returned to Dartmouth Animal Control, which has custody of the animal.

“He’s got a great demeanor,” Carreiro observes. “What saved him was his personality.”

The veterinarian emphasizes that although most specimens of the Azorean breed are protective guardians and can be reserved, especially around strangers, Licorice is gentle and likes people.

“I don’t think that there will be any problem in adopting him,” he notes.

Carreiro says he is happy to be back working in the area. Being bilingual, he is able to assist Portuguese-speaking clients in their native language and write post-surgical care plans in both languages.

“I look forward to establishing myself in the area and serving the SouthCoast,” he says, adding that he and his wife Mariaan, a native of South Africa, have settled in Fall River with their two border collie-mixes and a one-eyed male cat that the couple adopted while living in Virginia.

“I had a very warm welcome here,” Carreiro says of his new position. “This is a family-oriented practice. We are a team.”

Brian J. Lowney has been writing about pets for more than 20 years. His column also appears in The Standard-Times and at Lowney is the author of “Unconditional Love: Pet Tales to Warm the Heart.”

This article originally appeared in SouthCoast Today on Jan 12, 2014 – see original article here