Specialty Spotlight: Ophthalmology Service

This entry is article 1 of 3 in the January 2014 issue

From routine eye exams to corneal grafting, laceration repair and cataract removal, the Ophthalmology specialists at Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals are available around the clock to see patients. Led by board-certified veterinarians, the Ophthalmology team provides expert medical and surgical advice for eye diseases and injuries in small animals, exotic pets, and large animals while treating the animal as a whole.

“Being in an academic institution with so many board-certified specialists and specialized equipment, we have ready access to treat your animal holistically,” faculty member Christopher Pirie, DVM, DACVO, explains. “We are constantly in communication with other departments, like Oncology for tumors within and behind the globe. If your animal needs a CT or an MRI, we have a board-certified radiologist on site who will review the case and consulting with us to help create a care plan. We have a board-certified neurologist if your animal’s case is brain-related. We have a deep bench of veterinary specialists who work together to deliver the best care possible to our patients.”

Our expert teams put every care into your animal’s well-being and comfort as they heal. For example, one of the biggest concerns in equine surgery is getting a horse to stand back up after surgery is completed. Our ophthalmologists routinely perform standing operations (i.e. enucleation) on horses to help negate that risk.

In addition to an experienced team of specialists and our commitment to your animal’s health, the equipment we use adds to our ability to successfully treat eye diseases and injuries. We make use of the very latest in cutting-edge technologies to diagnose and care for your animal’s eyes, including digital imaging, fluorescein angiography, and low- and high-resolution ultrasounds. Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals is one of few referral hospitals in New England equipped with a diode laser, which is used to deal with intraocular tumors through a minimally invasive approach, as well as with partial retina detachments. Also, Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals is the only referral hospital in the region equipped with an optical coherence tomography (OCT) system. Comparable to an ultrasound, an OCT system uses light instead of sound waves to obtain detailed images from within an animal’s retina, substantially enhancing our veterinarians’ research and diagnostic capabilities.

Our team leverages highly-skilled veterinary ophthalmologists, sophisticated equipment and multi-disciplined team approach to medicine offer extraordinary, compassionate care to our patients.

To make an appointment, please contact us at 508-839-5395.

Christopher Pirie, DVM, DACVO
Dr. Pirie attended the Ontario Veterinary College at University of Guelph, undertook an ocular pathology fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, and completed his three-year residency program in ophthalmology at The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts. Dr. Pirie was drawn to veterinary ophthalmology by a desire to help those who cannot help themselves and a fascination in the uniqueness and complexity that is the eye. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and his research interests include diagnostic imaging, optics, and vision research. . In addition to treating eye problems for animals large and small at Tufts, Dr. Pirie teaches ophthalmology for first and third and fourth-year students. Dr. Pirie lives with his wife, who is also a veterinarian at Tufts VETS, and their two dogs and two cats.

Stefano Pizzirani, DVM, PhD, DECVS, DACVO
A veterinarian board-certified in both ophthalmology and surgery, Dr. Pizzirani’s research interests include ocular immunology and surgical treatments for corneal diseases. Dr. Pizzirani teaches ophthalmology to third-year students and mentors fourth-year students, interns, and residents in clinical rotations at Tufts Cummings School. One of four veterinarians in his family, he became particularly interested in ophthalmology during his education at Pisa University, going on to complete a PhD at Messina University. He lives with his wife, who is also a veterinary ophthalmologist, their son, two cats, and a terrier.

Anthony F. Alario, DVM
Born and raised in central New Jersey, Anthony Alario, DVM, completed animal science degrees at Rutgers University and Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, where he also completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery. Fascinated by the intricate optics, physiology and anatomy of the eye, Dr. Alario will complete his residency in comparative Ophthalmology this summer. He resides in North Grafton with two dogs and four cats.

Kara Gornik, DVM
A graduate of West Virginia University and the University of Georgia’s veterinary school, Kara Gornik, DVM, spent two years at Michigan State University as a rotating intern and as an ophthalmology research associate before beginning her residency at Tufts in the Ophthalmology service two years ago. She is especially interested in retinal diseases and vision problems that are inherited. Dr. Gornik lives in Worcester with her dog Rascal and cat Nacho.

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