Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
Lisa Freeman

Nutrition, Nutritional Modification of Disease, Human-Animal Interaction


Dr. Lisa Freeman heads the Nutrition Service at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. As one of a small but growing number of board-certified veterinary nutritionists, she teaches veterinary students, practitioners and pet owners about proper feeding for their animals, especially ones which are too sick to eat or who have chronic diseases such as heart or kidney disease, cancer, or obesity. She also performs research on nutritional effects on heart disease, heads the Cummings School's Accelerated Clinical Excellence (ACE) Program, the Residents' Enhanced Veterinary Education and Academic Learning (REVEAL) Program and serves as the faculty advisor for its Paws for People effort.

A native of Florida, Dr. Freeman earned a bachelor's from Tufts University, a DVM from the Cummings School, and a PhD in nutrition from the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy—earning her the rare distinction of holding a degree from each of Tufts University's three campuses. Her original intent was to become an equine veterinarian, but, through her studies, she became increasingly interested in nutrition and its role in preventing and treating disease. I can't imagine any area of medicine being more fun, she says.

Dr. Freeman teaches in all four years of the veterinary curriculum at the Cummings School. Only about one-third of veterinary schools have a board-certified nutritionist on their faculty, and Dr. Freeman's courses allow the school to offer its students more training in nutrition than most of its peer institutions.

Dr. Freeman lives near the Cummings School campus with three dogs, all of which are adopted from the Foster Hospital. One of her dogs works with Dr. Freeman to visit nursing home residents and participate in a reading program for children through Paws for People. She is a trustee of the Westborough (MA) Library. She has also run the Boston Marathon twice as part of the Tufts University President's Marathon Challenge.


  • PhD - Tufts University School of Nutrition - 1996
  • DVM with thesis - Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine - 1991
  • BS - Tufts University - 1986

Board Certification

  • American College of Veterinary Nutrition
  1. Yu MK, Freeman LM, Heinze CR, Linder DE, Parker VJ. Comparison of complication rates for nasoesophageal and nasogastric tubes in dogs. J Vet Emerg Crit Care 2013; 23: 300-304.
  2. Parker VJ, Freeman LM. Comparison of solutions to dissolve in vitro feeding tube clogs. J Vet Emerg Crit Care 2013; 23: 344-347.
  3. Freeman LM, Janecko N, Weese JS. Nutritional and microbial analysis of bully sticks and survey of opinions about pet treats. Can Vet J 2013; 54: 50-54.
  4. 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 2013;15:74-80
  5. Freeman LM, Rush JE, Oyama MA, MacDonald KA, Cunningham SM, Bulmer B, MacGregor JM, Laste NJ, Malakoff RL, Hall DJ, Trafny DJ. Development 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
  6. Cunningham SM, Rush JE, Freeman LM. Systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in dogs with congestive heart failure. J Vet Intern Med 2012; 26: 547-557
  7. Hutchinson D, Freeman LM, McCarthy R, Anastasio J, Shaw SP, Sutherland-Smith J. Seizures and severe nutrient deficiencies in a puppy fed a homemade diet. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2012; 241: 477-483
  8. Parker VJ, Freeman LM. Nutritional management of protein-losing nephropathy in dogs. Compendium 2012: E1-E5
  9. Hutchinson D, Sutherland-Smith J, Watson AJ, Freeman LM. Assessment of sarcopenia in old dogs: A pilot study. Am J Vet Res 2012; 73: 1794-1800
  10. Heinze CR, Gomez FC, Freeman LM. Assessment of commercial diets and home-prepared diet recipes recommended for dogs with cancer. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2012; 241: 1553-1460
  11. Linder DE, Freeman LM, Morris P, German AJ, Biourge V, Heinze CR, Alexander L. Theoretical evaluation of risk for nutritional deficiency with caloric restriction. Vet Quart 2012; iFirst: 1-7

General Research Interests

Clinical nutrition. Nutritional modulation of cardiac disease, critical care nutrition, obesity

Research Interests by Area

Training Grants
  • NIH Interdisciplinary Research Training for Veterinarians; Accelerated Clinical Excellence (ACE) program (Nestle Purina)
Spontaneous Animal Disease Models
  • Obesity, nutritional support of the cancer patient, and renal failure.

Research Interests by Organ System and Disease

Cardiovascular Diseases and Nutrition
  • Role of nutrition in etiology and treatment of CV diseases
  • Morphometrics in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Nutritional Basis of Diseases
  • Nutritional modulation of cardiac disease, critical care nutrition, obesity, feline cardiomyopathy as a model for human cardiomyopathies. Sarcopenia, genetic and nutritional factors for cardiac disease in dogs and cats, clinical nutrition, human-animal bond, critical care nutrition
Human Animal Interaction (HAI)
  • Animal assisted therapy. Human-animal bond.