Longtime Bayside animal hospital plans move

Veterinarians Robert Foley (l.) and Michael Ferber will move their North Shore Animal Hospital from Northern Boulevard on Bayside to 215th Street and 42nd Avenue later this year. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Anna Gustafson

After more than six decades at its office on Northern Boulevard in Bayside, North Shore Animal Hospital is bidding adieu to the place that was once the only animal hospital for miles around.

North Shore Animal Hospital, which was founded in 1939 and moved into its current office at 212-14 Northern Blvd. in Bayside in the mid-1940s, will soon be packing up and moving to a new office at 215th Street and 42nd Avenue because the current landlord is selling the building, hospital doctors said.

“We’ll be able to offer many new services at this office,” said Michael Ferber, a veterinarian at the hospital whose grandfather, Flushing resident Robert Ferber, formed the business just before he went to serve as a veterinarian in World War II.

The practice, which began in the office next door to its current site, was once the only animal hospital in the area, and Ferber said some people would travel more than 100 miles to get to the site, which was one of the few places that treated small animals. Most vets in the late 1930s and early 1940s dealt with the more prevalent large farm animals like cows and horses.

“He was really a pioneer in veterinary medicine, his son expanded that practice and now his grandson is doing the same,” said Robert Foley, another veterinarian at North Shore Animal Hospital.

The new office, which is expected to open this spring, will include an underwater treadmill for animals, a service that will allow residents to see their pets on Web cams while they are away on vacation, and indoor exercise areas.

“My partner’s grandfather started this place when penicillin hadn’t even been invented, and now we can provide things like ultrasounds and underwater treadmills,” Foley said.

The underwater treadmill will allow animals to run while submerged in water, which Foley said is particularly helpful to help animals lose weight and for physical therapy after operations.

Robert Ferber grew up working in the stables in Flushing and graduated from the college of veterinary medicine at Cornell University in 1939, after which he opened the animal hospital. In 1942, he closed the hospital to serve in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps and reopened the hospital in 1946.

Robert Ferber’s brother, Leonard Ferber, joined the practice after he also served in World War II, and his son, Alan Ferber, joined the practice after graduating from Cornell in 1970. After Robert Ferber retired in the mid-1980s, Alan Ferber served as the hospital director until his retirement in 2004.

Michael Ferber, who started working in the hospital as a child, followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father and graduated from Cornell, after which he became a doctor at North Shore.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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