Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
John E. Rush

Nutritional Management of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiology, Critical Care


As a veterinary cardiologist, Dr. John Rush has a special interest in drug and dietary therapies for the treatment of heart disease in small animals. He also performs many catheter-based procedures (interventional radiology), including the placement of pacemakers, coils and stents. In addition to his clinical duties, Dr. Rush teaches cardiology to second and third-year students and mentors fourth-year students in the Foster Hospital for Small Animals. He is also the associate chair for the Department of Clinical Sciences, the Cummings School's largest department.

Growing up near Cleveland, Dr. Rush had a natural affinity for science and spent a great deal of time at the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center. I collected insects, and if I had not become a veterinarian I might have been an entomologist, he says. He attended The Ohio State University for his undergraduate and veterinary degrees, then furthered his training in New York and Wisconsin. Drawn to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine by a love of teaching, he joined the faculty here more than 20 years ago.

He likes the mix of teaching, clinical research, and caring for dogs and cats with heart disease, as well as the motivated and gifted students of the Cummings School. He has served as the primary mentor for two dozen veterinary residents in emergency and critical care and cardiology and has published on topics ranging from heart failure and respiratory distress to quality-of-life issues for pets.

Off-campus, Dr. Rush is very involved with both the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Emergency and Critical Care, and he is a diplomate of both societies. He has three dogs and counts home improvement as his favorite pastime.


  • DVM - Ohio State University - 1984
  • MS - Ohio State University - 1984

Board Certification

  • Cardiology (ACVIM)
  • Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC)
  1. Tse TC, Rush JE, Cunningham SM, Bulmer BJ, Freeman LM, Rozanski EA. Evaluation of a Training Course in Focused Echocardiography for Non-Cardiology House Officers. J Vet Emerg Crit Care. (In Press)    
  2. Oyama MA, Boswood A,  Connolly DJ, Ettinger SJ, Fox PR, Gordon SG, Rush JE, Sisson DD, Stepien RL, Wess G, Zannad F. Clinical Use of NT-proBNP Assay in Dogs and Cats with Heart Disease. J Am Vet Med Assoc  (In Press).
  3. Freeman LM, Rush JE, Meurs KM, Bulmer BJ, Cunningham SM. Body size and metabolic differences in Maine Coon cats with and without hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. J Fel Med Surg 2012 (In press).
  4. Fletcher DJ, Boller M, Brainard BM, Haskins SC, Hopper K, McMichael MA, Rozanski EA, Rush JE, Smarick SD. RECOVER evidence and knowledge gap analysis on veterinary CPR - Part 7: Clinical guidelines. J Vet Emer Crit Care. 2012; 22:S102-131.
  5. Rozanski EA, Rush JE, Buckley GJ, Fletcher DJ, Boller M, and the RECOVER Advanced Life Support Domain Worksheet Authors. RECOVER evidence and knowledge gap analysis on veterinary CPR - Part 4: Advanced Life Support. J Vet Emerg Crit Care. 2012; 22:S44-S64.
  6. Cunningham SM, Rush JE, Freeman LM. Systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in dogs with congestive heart failure. J Vet Internal Med 2012; 26:547-557.
  7. Reynolds CA, Brown DC, Rush JE, Fox PR, Nguyenba TP, Lehmkuhl LB, Gordon SG, Kellihan HB, Stepien RL, Lefbom BK, Meier CK, Oyama M. Prediction of first onset of congestive heart failure in dogs with degenerative mitral valve disease: the PREDICT cohort study. J Vet Cardiol 2012; 14:193-202.
  8. Singletary GE, Rush JE, Fox PR, Stepien  RL, Oyama MA. Effect of NT-pro-BNP Assay on Accuracy and Confidence of General Practitioners in Diagnosing Heart Failure or Respiratory Disease in Cats with Respiratory Signs. J Vet Int Med 2012; 26:542-546.
  9. Buckley GJ, Rozanski EA, Rush JE. Randomized, blinded comparison of epinephrine and vasopressin for treatment of naturally occurring cardiopulmonary arrest in dogs. J Vet Int Med 2011;25:1334-1340.
  10. Freeman LM, Rush JE, Oyama MA, MacDonald KA, Cunningham SM, Bulmer B, MacGregor JM, Laste NJ, Malakoff RL, Hall DJ, Trafny DJ.  Develpment and evaluation of a questionnaire for assessing health-related quality of life in cats with cardiac disease.  J Am Vet Med Assoc 2012; 240:1188-1193.
  11. MacGregor JM,  Rush JE,  Laste NJ, Malakoff RL, Cunningham SM, Aronow N,  Hall DJ, Williams J,  Price LL. Use of pimobendan in 170 cats (2006-2010). J Vet Cardiol 2011;13: 251-260.
  12. Fox PR, Rush JE, Reynolds CA et al. Multicenter evaluation of plasma N-terminal probrain natriuretic peptide (NT-pro BNP) as a screening test for asymptomatic (occult) cardiomyopathy in cats. J Vet Int Med 2011;25:1010-1016.
  13. Kenney EM, Rozanski EA, Rush JE, deLaforcade-Buress AM, Berg RJ, Silverstein DC, Montealegre CD, Jutkowitz LA, Adamantos S, Ovbey DH, Boysen SR, Shaw SP. Association between outcome and organ system dysfunction in dogs with sepsis: 114 cases (2003-2007). J Am Vet Med Assoc 2010; 236:83-87.
  14. Oyama MA, Rush JE, Rozanski EA et al. Assessment of serum N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide concentration for differentiation of congestive heart failure from respiratory tract disease as the cause of respiratory signs in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2009; 235:1319-1325
  15. Fox PR, Oyama MA, Reynolds C, Rush JE, deFrancesco T, Keene BW et al. Utility of plasma n-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) to distinguish between congestive heart failure and non-cardiac causes of acute dyspnea in cats. J Vet Cardiol 2009; 11:S51-S61

General Research Interests

  • Cardiovascular drug development for dogs and cats
  • ECG interpretation
  • Nutritional management of congestive heart failure
  • Veterinary critical care monitoring

Research Interests by Area

Spontaneous Animal Disease Models
  • Hyertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy in Boxer dogs, dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs, degenerative mitral valve disease in small dogs.

Research Interests by Organ System and Disease

Cardiovascular Diseases and Nutrition
  • Etiology of canine acquired valvular diseases and surgical interventions; genetic testing in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Quality or quantity of life in dogs with cardiovascular disease
  • Tissue plasminogen activator in cats with ATE; NT-BNP in dogs with DCM, CVD and shortness of breath
  • Morphometrics in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Interventional radiography, genetic and nutritional factors for heart valve disease in dogs and cats, congestive heart failure, thromboelastography
Nutritional Basis of Diseases
  • Nutritional management of congestive heart failure, new drugs for cardiovascular medicine, cardiac biomarkers.

Major Specialized Equipment

  • Echocardiography
  • Cardiac catheterization laboratory