By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - A man had to have three toes amputated after being treated by a 78-year-old Colorado veterinarian with no license to practice medicine on humans, police said on Thursday.
The veterinarian, Francis Freemyer, who operates a small animal practice in Greeley, Colorado, was ticketed for "unauthorized practices," a misdemeanor, Greeley police said in a statement.
Police said they were investigating whether Freemyer may have treated other people illegally.
The investigation began when medical staff at the North Colorado Medical Center contacted police in June to report that an unidentified patient claimed to have been treated by the veterinarian.
"Ultimately, the patient required surgery to remove three toes due to a lack of proper medical care," the statement said.
Freemyer could not be reached for comment by Reuters, but told Denver television station KUSA that he had treated a woman's dog with a topical skin cancer ointment.
The woman later applied the leftover salve to a male neighbor who was complaining of a foot infection, according to the interview.
The man then came to Freemyer's animal clinic for a follow-up visit.
"He came and talked to me, I said, 'hell, I don't treat people, but you've already put it on there,'" Freemyer said, adding that all he did was put a wrap on the man's wound.
Greely Police Sergeant Susan West said Freemyer took payment from the man. "There was an exchange of money in his office for his services," she said.
A review of state board of veterinary medicine disciplinary records showed that a Francis Freemyer, who has practiced veterinary medicine in Colorado since 1959, has twice been admonished by regulators.
In one instance, he was fined $1,500 for signing off on an inspection report that said he had examined and vaccinated 13 greyhounds when he had only examined 12 of the animals.
In another disciplinary action, Freemyer was fined $250 for failing to keep records of the examination and treatment of a cat in violation of "generally accepted standards of veterinary practice."
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Dan Whitcomb and David Brunnstrom)