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Raymond K. Kudej - PhD, DVM, DACVS

Raymond K. Kudej
Clinical Soft Tissue Surgery, Ischemia Tolerance
Soft Tissue Surgery

Dr. Raymond Kudej is a board-certified small animal surgeon and instructor at the Cummings School, with special interests in nasal, reconstructive, thoracic and gastrointestinal surgery.

As a child growing up on a farm in north central Iowa, Dr. Kudej (pronounced KOO-gee) was always around animals and developed an interest in veterinary medicine at a very young age. He pursued a veterinary degree, PhD and surgical residency at Iowa State University before undertaking post-doctoral studies at Harvard Medical School, where he met his wife. He was an assistant professor at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA, prior to coming to Tufts in 2000.

In addition to his clinical and teaching duties, Dr. Kudej is also a cardiovascular researcher with special interests in ischemia tolerance and associated metabolic mechanisms. Prior to becoming an American Heart Association fellow in 2001, he was honored with the prestigious association's Young (1998) and New Investigator (1999) Awards. He was given the Tufts Pfizer Research Award by the Cummings School in 2005, and was the school's invited speaker at the V'07 Graduation and V'08 White Coat Ceremonies.

Dr. Kudej teaches small animal surgery to second and third year students and helps to oversee their experience in the spay lab. He also serves as a facilitator for the Problem Based Learning course and directs the Standardized Client Interview program, which teaches client communication and history-taking skills, and directs the surgery residency program at the Cummings School. What I like most about teaching is interacting with the students. They are all very impressive individuals, he says. I enjoy teaching in the clinics the most, where the students are kind of putting everything together and getting a chance to perform. I enjoy meeting the clients and watching the students develop their skills and confidence.

One of Dr. Kudej's most memorable cases was a four-year-old golden retriever who was having difficulty breathing because of a large benign tumor in his voice box. After the surgery needed to remove the tumor, Dr. Kudej says,What I remember the most was that he was eating the next day, and the little dance and tail wag he did when the owner came to visit.

Dr. Kudej lives with his wife, Amy (a biomedical engineer and scientist at Genzyme) and their two young girls (Ellie and Emma) in nearby Westborough, MA. The family has a pet dachshund named Borghese. Dr. Kudej enjoys studying American history, restoring his 1886 Victorian home and is a member of the Westborough Historical Society. He also loves spending time with his family and friends, playing with his daughters and helping them to grow.


  • Post-Doctorate - Harvard Medical School - 1994-1996
  • PhD - Iowa State University - 1994
  • DVM - Iowa State University - 1987

Board Certification

  • American College of Veterinary Surgeons
  1. Babici, D., Kudej, R.K., McNulty, T., Zhang, J., Oydanich, M., Berkman, T., Nishimura, K., Bishop, S.P., Vatner, D.E., Vatner, S.F. 2020. Mechanisms of increased vascular stiffness down the aortic tree in aging, premenopausal female monkeys. American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology.
  2. Zhao, Z., Kudej, R.K., Wen, H., Fefelova, N., Yan, L., Vatner, D.E., Vatner, S.F., Xie, L.-H. 2018. Antioxidant defense and protection against cardiac arrhythmias: Lessons from a mammalian hibernator (the woodchuck). FASEB Journal.
  3. Mariano, A.D., Penninck, D.G., Sutherland-Smith, J., Kudej, R.K. 2018. Ultrasonographic evaluation of the canine urinary bladder following cystotomy for treatment of urolithiasis. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  4. Lynch, A.M., O'Toole, T.E., Rush, J.E., Rondeau, D., O'Neill, K., Kudej, R.K. 2015. Acute tracheal compression in a large breed dog due to a dorsal tracheal membrane abscess. Journal of veterinary emergency and critical care (San Antonio, Tex. : 2001).
  5. Yan, L., Kudej, R.K., Vatner, D.E., Vatner, S.F. 2015. Myocardial ischemic protection in natural mammalian hibernation. Basic Research in Cardiology.
  6. Li, H., Liu, T., Chen, W., Jain, M.R., Vatner, D.E., Vatner, S.F., Kudej, R.K., Yan, L. 2013. Proteomic mechanisms of cardioprotection during Mammalian hibernation in woodchucks, Marmota Monax. Journal of Proteome Research.
  7. Bravo, C., Kudej, R.K., Yuan, C., Yoon, S., Ge, H., Park, J.Y., Tian, B., Stanley, W.C., Vatner, S.F., Vatner, D.E., Yan, L. 2013. Metabolomic analysis of two different models of delayed preconditioning. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology.
  8. Kudej, R.K., Blaze, C. 2013. Pectus Excavatum. Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery.
  9. Kudej, R.K., Fasano, M., Zhao, X., Lopaschuk, G.D., Fischer, S.K., Vatner, D.E., Vatner, S.F., Lewandowski, E.D. 2011. Second window of preconditioning normalizes palmitate use for oxidation and improves function during low-flow ischaemia. Cardiovascular Research.
  10. Zacher, L.A., Berg, J., Shaw, S.P., Kudej, R.K. 2010. Association between outcome and changes in plasma lactate concentration during presurgical treatment in dogs with gastric dilatation-volvulus: 64 cases (2002-2008). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  11. Bretz, B., Blaze, C., Parry, N., Kudej, R.K. 2010. Ischemic postconditioning does not attenuateischemia-reperfusion injury of rabbit small intestine. Veterinary Surgery.
  12. Shen, Y.-T., Depre, C., Yan, L., Park, J.Y., Tian, B., Jain, K., Chen, L., Zhang, Y., Kudej, R.K., Zhao, X., Sadoshima, J., Vatner, D.E., Vatner, S.F. 2008. Repetitive ischemia by coronary stenosis induces a novel window of ischemic preconditioning. Circulation.
  13. Kudej, R.K., Depre, C. 2007. NO with no NOS in ischemic heart. Cardiovascular Research.
  14. Kudej, R.K., Shen, Y.-T., Peppas, A.P., Huang, C.-H., Chen, W., Yan, L., Vatner, D.E., Vatner, S.F. 2006. Obligatory role of cardiac nerves and α1-adrenergic receptors for the second window of ischemic preconditioning in conscious pigs. Circulation Research.
  15. Song, L.-S., Pi, Y., Kim, S.-J., Yatani, A., Guatimosim, S., Kudej, R.K., Zhang, Q., Cheng, H., Hittinger, L., Ghaleh, B., Vatner, D.E., Lederer, W.J., Vatner, S.F. 2005. Paradoxical cellular Ca2+ signaling in severe but compensated canine left ventricular hypertrophy. Circulation Research.
  16. O'Donnell, J.M., Kudej, R.K., LaNoue, K.F., Vatner, S.F., Lewandowski, E.D. 2004. Limited transfer of cytosolic NADH into mitochondria at high cardiac workload. American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology.
  17. Yatani, A., Kim, S.-J., Kudej, R.K., Wang, Q., Depre, C., Irie, K., Kranias, E.G., Vatner, S.F., Vatner, D.E. 2004. Insights into cardioprotection obtained from study of cellular Ca 2+ handling in myocardium of true hibernating mammals. American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology.
  18. Huang, C.-H., Vatner, S.F., Peppas, A.P., Yang, G., Kudej, R.K. 2003. Cardiac Nerves Affect Myocardial Stunning Through Reactive Oxygen and Nitric Oxide Mechanisms. Circulation Research.
  19. Kudej, R.K., Vatner, S.F. 2003. Nitric oxide-dependent vasodilation maintains blood flow in true hibernating myocardium. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology.
  20. Takagi, G., Asai, K., Vatner, S.F., Kudej, R.K., Rossi, F., Peppas, A., Takagi, I., Resuello, R.R.G., Natividad, F., Shen, Y.-T., Vatner, D.E. 2003. Gender differences on the effects of aging on cardiac and peripheral adrenergic stimulation in old conscious monkeys. American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

General Research Interests

  • Clinical veterinary soft tissue surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Cardia, thoracic, gastrointestinal, and reconstructive surgery
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulous syndrome
  • Ischemia tolerance: metabolism

Research Interests by Organ System and Disease

Cardiovascular Diseases and Nutrition
  • Pathophysiology of ischemia reperfusion injury. Cardiac surgery; mechanisms of myocardial ischemia