At Your Service: Interdisciplinary Team

An Interdisciplinary Team Approach to Hepatobiliary Disease

At the Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals at the Cummings School Veterinary Medicine, we rely heavily on a talented team of veterinary specialists to help treat small animals with hepatobiliary disease.  Often times, diagnosing hepatobiliary disease is a complicated process given the liver’s wide-ranging role in digestion, intermediary metabolism and biotransformation. Additionally, the liver is sensitive to secondary injury from many systemic disorders as well.

The diagnosis of hepatobiliary disease often requires expert diagnostic imaging (ultrasound and scintigraphy) as well as histopathologic interpretation of hepatic biopsy material.

Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals is fortunate to have Dr. Dominque Penninck, one of the pioneers of hepatobiliary ultrasound, on staff. He is joined by pathologists, Dr. Sam Jennings, who trained with the world renowned veterinary hepatic pathologist Dr. John Cullen, and Dr. Arlen Rogers, whose research interests include animals models of hepatic cancer.

Both of our soft tissue surgeons, Dr. Ray Kudej and Dr. John Berg, have interests in  hepatobiliary and portovascular surgery.

Our cardiologist, Dr. John Rush, is also available to manage intrahepatic shunts with interventional radiology.  These individuals are complemented by a skilled group of board certified anesthesiologists who often help us with the complicated management of our critically ill patients with hepatobiliary disease.

Lastly, we have a team of nutritionists, including Dr. Lisa Freeman and Dr. Calin Heinze, who help us meet the dietary requirement of our patients.  Some nutrients that could be of concern often include sodium, copper and/or protein balance. In addition, many hepatobiliary patients have a need for the placement of enteral nutrition tubes and occasionally formulation of balanced homemade diets.

Cynthia RL Webster, DVM, DACVIM (Small Animal Internal Medicine)
Professor, Associate Chair
DACVIM (Internal Medicine)
Post-Doctorate, Tufts Medical School, Department Physiology 1991-1993
DVM – Cornell University – 1985
BS – Simmons College – 1978

Dominique Penninck, DVM, ACVR
PhD – University of Liege, Belgium
DVM – University of Liege, Belgium
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Radiology
Diplomate European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging

Sam Jennings, DVM, ACVP
Assistant Professor
DVM – Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
MSpVM – North Carolina State University
American College of Veterinary Pathologists (Anatomic Pathology)

Arlen Rogers, DVM, Ph D, ACVP

John Berg, DVM, ACVS
Soft Tissue Surgery
MS – Colorado State University
DVM – Colorado State University
Board certification: ACVS

Ray Kudej, DVM, ACVS
Associate Professor
Soft Tissue Surgery
Post-Doctorate – Harvard Medical School
PhD – Iowa State University
DVM – Iowa State University
Board certification: ACVS

Lisa Freeman
PhD – Tufts University School of Nutrition
DVM with thesis – Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine
BS – Tufts University
Board Certification:  American College of Veterinary Nutrition

Calin Heinze
Assistant Professor, Nutrition
MS – Nutritional Biology – University of California, Davis
VMD – University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
Board Certification: American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN)

Lluis Ferrer, DVM, DACVD, PhD
Professor, Dermatology
DVM – Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain, 1981
PhD – Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain, 1985
Board certification – ECVD, 1995

John Rush
Interventional Radiology (IH Shunts)
DVM – Ohio State University
MS – Ohio State University
Board Certification Cardiology (ACVIM) and (ACVECC)

Current Concepts

Veterinary magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a well-established and highly valued tool for the evaluation of neurologic disease in dogs and cats due to its unrivaled ability to distinguish normal and abnormal soft tissues (known as tissue contrast). However, this same exquisite sensitivity of MRI for detecting lesions in the brain and spinal cord can be of great benefit when evaluating other organ systems and diseases. Continue reading


Insulinoma, a small and malignant neuroendocrine tumor of dogs, has proven difficult to detect reliably with imaging tests. The literature suggests that ultrasound detects a primary pancreatic lesion in approximately 50% of cases and detects metastases in only 20% of cases.  CT has a reported success rate of detecting a primary lesion in 70% of cases, but is of limited value in the detection of metastases. Continue reading

At Your Service: Diagnostic Imaging

The Diagnostic Imaging Section within the Foster Hospital of Small Animals is comprised of a highly- experienced group of six board certified veterinary radiologists, five radiology residents-in-training and 11 technicians. Our team of diagnostic imaging specialists is the largest in the northeastern United States and is equipped with Kodak-Carestream CR radiography, digital fluoroscopy, Philips iU22 and HDI 5000 ultrasound machines, Enhanced Technologies nuclear medicine camera, Toshiba Aquillion 16 slice CT and Siemens 1.5T Symphony MRI scanner.

Tufts radiologists also offer an image consultation service to veterinarians (for more details please contact our section assistant, Carol O’Day, at 508-839-7941 or Continue reading