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R. John Berg - DVM, MS, DACVS

R. John Berg
Soft Tissue Surgery

In addition to his role as a soft-tissue surgeon, Dr. John Berg also serves as editor-in-chief of the Tufts newslettersCatnip and Your Dog

Dr. Berg grew up in Southern California, Maryland and Switzerland. Although his family always had cats, his interest in veterinary medicine did not blossom until he attended Colorado State University for his undergraduate work. He stayed at the school for his master of science and veterinary degrees. Following his surgery residency,Dr. Berg spent a year in private practice south of Boston—but when a faculty position at Tufts became available in 1987, he jumped at the chance, compelled by the opportunity to teach and perform research at the same time.

Dr. Berg teaches in the school's Principles of Surgery and Small Animal Medicine and Surgery courses, as well as in the Problem Based Learning curriculum and the Accelerated Clinical Excellence course. While he enjoys classroom and small-group instruction, he finds hands-on instruction with fourth-year students particularly gratifying and likes watching them grow in confidence as they make supervised clinical decisions.

Although he is adept at all types of small animal surgery, Dr. Berg is especially drawn to surgical treatment of cancer in animals. It requires us to be creative and to be able to perform surgery in every area of the body he says. I also enjoy working closely with owners of animals with cancer.

He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and an honorary member of the Society of Veterinary Surgical Oncology. He lives with his wife and two daughters, as well as an array of animals adopted from the Foster Hospital—including a German Shepherd, four cats, two guinea pigs and a hermit crab. He enjoys cycling, tennis, skiing and reading.


  • MS - Colorado State University - 1985
  • DVM - Colorado State University - 1981

Board Certification

  • American College of Veterinary Surgeons
  1. Baron, J.K., Casale, S.A., Monnet, E., Mayhew, P.D., Runge, J.J., Follette, C.M., Phipps, K., Powell, M.E., Reczynska, A.I., Squire, N.T., Barton, B.A., Berg, J. 2020. Paramedian incisional complications after prophylactic laparoscopy-assisted gastropexy in 411 dogs. Veterinary Surgery.
  2. Phipps, W.E., de Laforcade, A.M., Barton, B.A., Berg, J. 2020. Postoperative thrombocytosis and thromboelastographic evidence of hypercoagulability in dogs undergoing splenectomy for splenic masses. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  3. Oura, T.J., Hamel, P.E., Jennings, S.H., Bain, P.J., Jennings, D.E., Berg, J. 2019. Radiographic Differentiation of Cranial Mediastinal Lymphomas from Thymic Epithelial Tumors in Dogs and Cats. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.
  4. Grimes, J.A., Mestrinho, L.A., Berg, J., Cass, S., Oblak, M.L., Murphy, S., Amsellem, P.M., Brown, P., Hamaide, A., Matz, B.M. 2019. Histologic evaluation of mandibular and medial retropharyngeal lymph nodes during staging of oral malignant melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  5. Singh, A., Giuffrida, M.A., Thomson, C.B., Baum, J., Kramek, B., Liptak, J.M., Hyndman, P., Ringwood, B., Smeak, D., Ham, K., Berg, J., Thieman-Mankin, K., Blois, S.L., Boston, S.E. 2019. Perioperative characteristics, histological diagnosis, and outcome in cats undergoing surgical treatment of primary hyperparathyroidism. Veterinary Surgery.
  6. Bartholf DeWitt, S., Eward, W.C., Eward, C.A., Lazarides, A.L., Whitley, M.J., Ferrer, J.M., Brigman, B.E., Kirsch, D.G., Berg, J. 2016. A Novel Imaging System Distinguishes Neoplastic from Normal Tissue During Resection of Soft Tissue Sarcomas and Mast Cell Tumors in Dogs. Veterinary Surgery.
  7. Biller, B., Berg, J., Garrett, L., Ruslander, D., Wearing, R., Abbott, B., Patel, M., Smith, D., Bryan, C. 2016. 2016 AAHA oncology guidelines for dogs and cats. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.
  8. Ghaghada, K.B., Sato, A.F., Starosolski, Z.A., Berg, J., Vail, D.M. 2016. Computed tomography imaging of solid tumors using a liposomal-iodine contrast agent in companion dogs with naturally occurring cancer. PLoS ONE.
  9. Wendelburg, K.M., Price, L.L., Burgess, K.E., Lyons, J.A., Lew, F.H., Berg, J. 2015. Survival time of dogs with splenic hemangiosarcoma treated by splenectomy with or without adjuvant chemotherapy: 208 cases (2001–2012). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  10. Montinaro, V., Massari, F., Vezzoni, L., Liptak, J.M., Straw, R.C., Allen, L., Cavanaugh, R.P., Berg, J., Doyle, R.S., Buracco, P., Romanelli, G. 2015. Lateral caudal axial pattern flap in 13 dogs. Veterinary Surgery.
  11. Garneau, M.S., Price, L.L., Withrow, S.J., Boston, S.E., Ewing, P.J., Mcclaran, J.K., Liptak, J.M., Berg, J. 2015. Perioperative Mortality and Long-Term Survival in 80 Dogs and 32 Cats Undergoing Excision of Thymic Epithelial Tumors. Veterinary Surgery.
  12. Wendelburg, K.M., O’toole, T.E., McCobb, E., Price, L.L., Lyons, J.A., Berg, J. 2014. Risk factors for perioperative death in dogs undergoing splenectomy for splenic masses: 539 cases (2001–2012). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  13. Berg, J. 2014. Surgical treatment of pericardial diseases and cardiac neoplasms. Current Techniques in Small Animal Surgery, Fifth Edition.
  14. Schmidt, A.F., Nielen, M., Klungel, O.H., Hoes, A.W., de Boer, A., Groenwold, R.H.H., Kirpensteijn, J., Amsellem, P., Bacon, N., Berg, J., Kow, K., Kurzman, I., Maritato, K., Moore, A., Morello, E., Sottnik, J., Vail, D. 2013. Prognostic factors of early metastasis and mortality in dogs with appendicular osteosarcoma after receiving surgery: An individual patient data meta-analysis. Preventive Veterinary Medicine.
  15. 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.
  16. Kenney, E.M., Rozanski, E.A., Rush, J.E., Delaforcade-Buress, A.M., Berg, J.R., Silverstein, D.C., Montealegre, C.D., Ari Jutkowitz, L., Adamantos, S., Ovbey, D.H., Boysen, S.R., Shaw, S.P. 2010. Association between outcome and organ system dysfunction in dogs with sepsis: 114 cases (2003-2007). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  17. Whelan, M.F., O'Toole, T.E., Carlson, K.R., Sutherland-Smith, J., Berg, J. 2007. Budd - Chiari-like syndrome in a dog with a chondrosarcoma of the thoracic wall. Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.
  18. Zitz, I., Rozanski, E., Penninck, D., Berg, J. 2007. Managing dogs with thoracic impalement injuries: A review of nine cases. Veterinary Medicine.
  19. Ko, K.S., Backus, R.C., Berg, J.R., Lame, M.W., Rogers, Q.R. 2007. Differences in taurine synthesis rate among dogs relate to differences in their maintenance energy requirement. Journal of Nutrition.
  20. Wagner, A., MacGregor, J.M., Berg, J., Sharkey, L.C., Rush, J.E. 2006. Septic pericarditis in a Yorkshire Terrier. Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

General Research Interests

  • Surgical oncology

Selected Research Projects

  • Evaluation of a novel tumor imaging system for intraoperative assessment of the completeness of tumor excision

Research and Clinical Interests

  • Strategies for improving local control of surgically excised tumors
  • Canine osteosarcoma as a naturally occurring model for human osteosarcoma
  • Outcome following surgical excision of naturally occurring tumors of dogs and cats
  • Clinical veterinary soft tissue surgery and surgical oncology

Research Interests by Area

Spontaneous Animal Disease Models
  • Tumor excision in dogs and cats, wound management

Research Interests by Organ System and Disease

Cardiovascular Diseases and Nutrition
  • Surgical interventions in CV diseases
Oncology and Cancer Research and Clinical Trials
  • Canine osteosarcoma as a naturally occurring animal model for human osteosarcoma, technologies for improving local control of surgically-excised tumors. Oncology surgery; identification of surgical margins.

Major Specialized Equipment

  • MRI, CT, linear accelerator, surgical laser, laparoscopic and thoracoscopic equipment