At Your Service

Oncology Service
Providing Families More Quality Time with their Companion Pets

Who We Are
The Harrington Oncology Program at the Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine provides state-of-the-art diagnostic, medical, radiation therapy and surgical techniques. Led by board-certified specialists in medical and radiation oncology, it is supported by a team of residents, dedicated technicians and staff.

Foster Hospital believes in a team approach to care and our oncologists work closely with a highly skilled surgery service with expertise in surgical oncology, as well as with the pathology, diagnostic imaging, interventional radiology and pain management services. Our collaboration allows us to offer treatment options that are customized based on the tumor type, the spread of the cancer, and the overall health of the pet. This could involve a single treatment modality or a combination of different therapies. In some cases, in accordance with the client’s wishes, a more conservative strategy may focus on palliative care. Through all of this we provide you and your client with detail on the type of cancer, treatment options, and expected outcomes, keeping quality of life as a top priority. The oncology service takes pride in ensuring that all of the client’s questions are answered and that the veterinarians, technicians and pet owners work as a team.

As an academic veterinary medical center, we are training the veterinarians of the future, and are also actively engaged in research into the causes, biology and treatment of cancer. As a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium, and through independent studies and collaboration with other veterinary and biomedical institutions, the oncology service is able to offer investigational therapies, in addition to conventional treatment. In addition, we participate in the Tufts Human Animal Cancer Collaborative with the Medical School at Tufts University, where treating cancer in companion animals helps inform how we treat humans.

Technology and Services Available
The Harrington Oncology Program is recognized nationally in the field, boasting some of the most advanced technology available in veterinary medical establishments. With medical staff and technicians well-versed and experienced in chemotherapy administration, radiation therapy and anesthesia, specific features of our service include:

  • Intravenous, intralesional an intracavitary chemotherapy administration, including long continuous-rate infusions
  • Melanoma vaccine administration
  • Siemens Primus linear accelerator with 6MV photon and 6-21 MeV electron capabilities and a 56-leaf collimator that allows for intensity modulated radiation therapy
  • Three-dimensional computerized radiation therapy planning
  • Strontium plesiotherapy
  • Various biospy techniques, including manual incision, punch, needle-core biopsies as well as image-guided (ultrasound or computed tomography) and open surgical procedures
  • Interventional radiologic procedures, such as chemoembolization and intra-arterial chemotherapy administration
  • Access to investigational clinical protocols

Referring a Patient
The Harrington Oncology Program typically sees new patients who have a confirmed cancer diagnosis. This often allows us to provide clients with a full array of staging and treatment options during the initial visit. We understand, however, that circumstances arise in which an oncology consult is valuable before a diagnosis is made. You should feel free to call us about these cases to facilitate a referral. We welcome the opportunity to even provide you with a telephone consult (free of charge) regarding general information on cancer management or to discuss a possible referral.

In situations when pet owners are uncertain whether they wish to pursue treatment for their pets with a cancer diagnosis, we encourage referrals to address their questions regarding anticipated course of the disease, treatment options and palliative care. You may contact Kelly Reed, our clinical liaison, at 508-887-4682, and she will facilitate all care for pets you refer.

Meet the Team

Radiation Oncology Faculty

Michele Keyerleber, DVM, DACVR, a board-certified veterinary radiation oncologist and faculty member, is a 2008 graduate of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She later completed a small animal internship at The Ohio State University, before returning to Cornell for a residency in radiation oncology. Dr. Keyerleber joined the faculty of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in 2011. Her research interests include radiation therapy planning for neoplasia in dogs and cats, brain tumors, and palliative radiation therapy. Dr. Keyerleber also has a strong interest in pain and side effect management for radiation therapy patients.

Elizabeth McNiel, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVR is board-certified in radiation and medical oncology. She is a 1992 graduate of Texas A&M University and completed a small animal rotating internship at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston. Dr. McNiel completed a medical oncology residency program followed by a combined radiation oncology residency and PhD program at Colorado State University. Prior to coming to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in 2012, she served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota and Michigan State University. An active researcher, Dr. McNiel studies the molecular biology of canine and feline tumors in her laboratory at the Molecular Oncology Research Institute at the Tufts Medical Center. Her goal is to translate basic discoveries in the laboratory into clinical advances for animals through clinical trials.

Medical Oncology Faculty

Lisa Barber, DVM, DACVIM, is a 1992 graduate of Ohio State University. She completed a small animal internship and residency in veterinary oncology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine where she subsequently served as a staff oncologist prior to joining the faculty at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She specializes in treating dogs and cats with a variety of cancers, and consults on large animals as well as exotic animals. Her research interests include epidemiologic studies to identify risk factors for various cancers as well as investigation of novel treatments for cancer.

Kristine Burgess, DVM, DACVIM, is a board-certified veterinary oncologist at the Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. After receiving her undergraduate degree from UMass, and completing a masters degree from work at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Kristine went on to earn her DVM from the Cummings School in 1997. She subsequently completed her residency training at the University of Wisconsin. She collaborates with several other institutions to run clinical trials for new and advanced cancer treatments for dogs and cats, which may lead to better treatment options for both pets and humans.

Oncology Residents

Kelly Kezer, DVM, a first-year medical oncology resident, received her veterinary degree from Massey University in New Zealand. After graduation, she completed a small animal rotating internship at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa, Florida, a high-volume practice, where she solidified her interest in oncology. Dr. Kezer enjoys all aspects of veterinary oncology, but has particular interest in novel therapies and international veterinary medicine.

Felicia Lew, DVM, a second-year medical oncology resident, is originally from Seattle, Washington. A 2012 graduate of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, she completed a small animal rotating internship at a private specialty hospital in San Diego, California. Dr. Lew has an interest in basic science research, specifically in cancer biology and carcinogenesis.

Bobbi McQuown, DVM, a third year oncology resident, is originally from the Midwest. Prior to veterinary school, she spent 5 years in the Army as a communications officer. In 2011, she graduated from the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, subsequently completing a small animal rotating internship at VCA VREC/Shoreline in Connecticut. Her ongoing research includes assessment of palliative radiation therapy and anal sac tumors, IGF-1 levels in dogs with lymphoma, and the use of Palladia in dogs with heart base tumors.

Oncology Technicians
Amy Bengtson
Tiffany DeNitti
Jenn Ford
Pam Shaw

Clinical Trials Coordinator
Diane Welsh

Oncology Liaison
Kelly Reed

At Your Service: Ophthalmology

The Ophthalmology Service at the Foster Hospital for Small Animals is home to two faculty board-certified ophthalmologists, two ophthalmology residents, an ophthalmology technician and a primary liaison, all dedicated to providing medical and surgical management related to injuries and diseases of the eye. We recognize that, in most cases, as a primary care veterinarian you can identify and treat most routine eye problems. In some cases, however, you may want to seek the advice of a specialist. We view our relationship with referring veterinarians as a partnership and welcome referrals for patients who clearly need the care provided by an ophthalmic specialist, as well as those for whom you may just be looking for advice or a second opinion. Through our evaluation process, we will maintain an open line of communication with you and, if appropriate, the pet owner, whereby we provide clear and complete explanations of the diagnostic testing results, treatment options and the cost so that you and your client can make the most informed decisions.

The Foster Hospital for Small Animals Opthalmology Service offers among the most advanced and comprehensive diagnostic and treatment practices in New England for small and large animals. The majority of our cases are canines and felines, and we also treat horses and exotics. We provide both scheduled and emergency services for animals with vision or eye problems. From routine eye exams to specialized surgery, including laceration repair to corneal grafting to cataract removal, we provide a full range of diagnostic and surgical services. Our ophthalmology team works closely with its peers in anesthesia, pain management and other specialty areas, providing a full continuum of coordinated care for your client.

Specialized Services

All patients will receive a complete examination of their eyes and in many cases patients will require specialized diagnostic testing procedures. Our ophthalmology clinic is fully equipped with the most advanced diagnostic equipment, including:

  • Low and high resolution ultrasonography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Electroretinography (ERG)
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Slit lamp biomicroscopy
  • Gonioscopy
  • Ophthalmoscopy (direct and indirect)

Tufts is also proud to provide access to advanced diagnostic technologies that are not readily available in this region. These include:

  • Optical coherence temography (OCT), which is helpful in diagnosing corneal and retinal problems
  • Fluorescein angiography, which provides insight into the circulatory system of the eye through the use of a camera, allowing early detection of changes to the blood ocular barrier

As New England’s only veterinary school, we also have clinical research studies under way that offer your clients access to innovative treatments not available elsewhere.

Surgical Procedures

Tufts Ophthalmology Service offers a wide variety of surgical procedures, including but not limited to:

  • Numerous eyelid procedures, including laceration repair, correction of entropion/ectropion, eyelid mass removal
  • Replacement of prolapsed glands and scrolled cartilage involving the third eyelid
  • Conjunctival grafts
  • Corneal transplants and corneal laceration repair
  • Cryotherapy for removal of distichia
  • Cataract removal surgery – phacoemulsification
  • Diode laser therapy, allowing non-invasive treatment of cysts and/or intraocular masses
  • Glaucoma management
  • Cyclosporine implants for the control of equine recurrent uveitis

Referring to Tufts

Upon referral, our clinical liaison team will facilitate care, schedule appointments and serve as the contact point between Tufts clinical specialty departments, referring veterinarians and pet owners. Their commitment to keeping the lines of communication open ensure that you receive the highest standard of care for your patients. If you are in need of emergency services, the Ophthalmology Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To make a referral, you may contact the Ophthalmology Liaison at 508-887-4696 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. After regular business hours, you may call emergency services at 508-887-4623.

For large animals, please contact the Tufts Hospital for Large Animals at 508-839-7926 for care during any time of day.

Ophthalmology Team

Christopher Pirie, DVM, DACVO, a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist and faculty member, is a graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, where he pursued a veterinary degree. He later pursued an ocular pathology fellowship at the Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratory, University of Wisconsin. Dr. Pirie joined the faculty and ophthalmology staff following completion of his residency in ophthalmology at Tufts in 2009. His research interests include clinical optics and diagnostic imaging. He is focused on the development of more cost effective ophthalmic imaging devices, with the ultimate goal of increasing availability, improving upon early detection and treatment of a variety of ophthalmic conditions.

Stefano Pizzirani, DVM, PhD, DECVS, DACVO, a 2004 board-certified ophthalmologist and Tufts faculty member, is a 1979 graduate of Pisa University (Italy) and a 1999 PhD graduate from Messina University (Italy). Dr. Pizzirani spent 22 years in a specialty practice in his hometown of Florence before relocating to the United States and serving as clinical assistant professor at North Carolina State University. In 2004 he joined the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University as assistant professor. Dr. Pizzirani is also a board-certified, inactive-member of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons. His fields of interest include intra- and extra-ocular surgery and the pathophysiology of canine glaucoma.

Kara Gornik, DVM, a third year ophthalmology resident, is a 2010 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed her internship at Michigan State University. Following her rotating internship, Dr. Gornik spent a year pursuing research in vision and genetics at Michigan State University before starting her ophthalmology residency at Tufts in 2012.

Alex LoPinto, DVM, a first-year ophthalmology resident, is originally from New York, graduating from New York University in 2009 with a degree in Biology. He subsequently received his veterinary degree from Cornell University in 2013, where he performed a research project on methicillin resistant staphylococcal infections of the canine cornea. After graduation, he completed a small animal rotating medicine and surgery internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Dr. LoPinto enjoys all aspects of veterinary ophthalmology, but is particularly interested in corneal diseases, cataracts, and intra-ocular surgery.

Tracy Elmes-Young, a veterinary technician specialist, is a 1987 graduate of Mt Ida College and an integral member of the Small Animal Internal Medicine team. She came to Tufts in 1986 and worked for the department of small animal medicine as a technician and senior technician until 2011 when she joined the Ophthalmology department. She is a charter member of the Academy of Veterinary Internal Medicine and is currently the credentialing committee co-chairperson.

At Your Service: Soft Tissue Surgery Service

The Soft Tissue Surgery service at Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals

is home to three board-certified surgeons, four surgical residents, expert surgery technicians and a team of surgery liaisons, all committed to providing comprehensive and advanced surgery services to meet the needs of small animal patients. We welcome the opportunity to consult not only on patients who are known surgical candidates but also those who might be an appropriate candidate.  We’ll discuss the treatment options and the cost, and provide clinical advice to help your client make the most informed decisions. Our surgeons are also happy to speak with you over the phone if you are contemplating a referral and want to discuss the case first.

We maintain a state-of-the-art surgical suite and have access to advanced diagnostic imaging, board-certified anesthesiologists, advanced pain management expertise, critical care, internal medicine and oncology specialists. Tufts Foster Hospital also offers minimally invasive surgery (MIS) – thoracoscopy and laparoscopy – for a number of common procedures, which can reduce postoperative pain and the length of hospital stays as compared to traditional surgery methods. Procedures we regularly perform using MIS include ovariectomy (“lap spay”), liver biopsy, pericardectomy and prophylactic gastropexy.  As New England’s only veterinary school, we also have clinical research studies under way that offer your clients access to innovative therapies not available elsewhere.

Our team of six liaisons facilitates care and provides service to our referring veterinarians and our clients. These individuals schedule appointments, serve as the connection between Tufts’ clinical departments, field inquiries from small animal pet owners and referring veterinarians, essentially serving as the communications hub for the care of our patients.  Their commitment to keeping the lines of communication open ensure that your experience remains consistent with the high standards of care we deliver to our patients and pet owners.

We view our relationship with referring veterinarians as a partnership, and the soft tissue surgery service team welcomes the opportunity to work together with you to ensure a continuity of care that is of the highest quality for you, your patients and clients.

Soft Tissue Surgeons and Faculty

berg1John Berg, DVM, MS, a board-certified soft tissue surgeon and faculty member, is a 1981 graduate of Colorado State University who completed his internship at Cornell, returning to Colorado State for his residency. Following his surgery residency, Dr. Berg spent a year in private practice in the Boston area before joining the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in 1987. Dr. Berg is adept at all types of small animal soft tissue surgery and is especially drawn to the surgical treatment of cancer, which is also the focus of his research.  Dr. Berg is an honorary member of the Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology and ACVS Founding Fellow in surgical oncology.

Kudej,-RRaymond K. Kudej, PhD, DVM, DACVS, a board-certified small animal surgeon and faculty member, is a graduate of Iowa State University, where he pursued a veterinary degree, PhD and surgical residency. He later pursued postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kudej (pronounced KOO-gee) joined the faculty and surgery staff at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in 2000, where his special surgical interests include nasal, reconstructive, thoracic and gastrointestinal surgery. Dr. Kudej is also a cardiovascular researcher with special interests in ischemia tolerance and associated metabolic mechanisms.

mccarthy1Dr. Robert McCarthy, DVM, DACVS, a board-certified surgeon and faculty member, specializes in both orthopedic and soft tissue surgery. A 1983 graduate and member of Tufts veterinarian medicine program’s first graduating class, he also served on the faculty of Louisiana State University and earned a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. Dr. McCarthy returned to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University as a faculty member in 1993. Although he works primarily with small companion animals, he also performs surgery on exotic, wildlife and zoo animals. He has a special interest in minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy, arthroscopy) of all types.

To make a referral, you may contact the Surgery Liaison Team at 508-887-4794 or via e-mail at liaisons@tufts.edu.

At Your Service

The clinical cardiology service at Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals is a full-service team comprised of two board-certified cardiologists, two cardiology residents, and one full-time cardiology technician, dedicated to providing advanced diagnostics and treatment options and excellence in patient care. We are happy to evaluate animals with suspected or known cardiac disease, including animals with a cardiac murmur, gallop or arrhythmia; cough or shortness of breath; animals with collapse or fainting; animals that might need a pacemaker; and those with known congenital disease that might benefit from a catheter-based intervention or surgery. Advanced diagnostic capabilities include availability of transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography, C-arm fluoroscopy for interventional procedures, computed tomography and MRI, Holter and event monitoring, and in-house telemetry (continuous ECG) monitoring.    Continue reading