Veterinary Essential Soft Tissue Surgery for the Dog & Cat



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RACE accredited 20 hours CE



Individual Courses

Gastrointestinal Surgery
Online Course

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General Soft Tissue Surgery
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Surgery of the Ear, Airway, Spleen and Liver Online Course

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Urogenital Surgery
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Dr. Berg is a 1981 graduate of Colorado State University. He completed a rotating internship at Cornell University in 1982 before returning to Colorado State for his surgery residency. Following his residency, he spent a year in referral practice at South Shore Veterinary Associates, south of Boston, and joined the faculty of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 1987.

He teaches and practices small animal soft tissue surgery and has a special interest in surgical oncology. During his time at Tufts, he has twice received the Pfizer Distinguished Teaching Award, as well as several other teaching awards.

He is the author of numerous original articles and book chapters on a variety of topics in soft tissue surgery and surgical oncology. Dr. Berg served as the Chair of the Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts from 1998 until 2011. He is an ACVS Founding Fellow in Surgical Oncology and an honorary member of the Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology.


Please Click on The Check Mark for all of The topics
under each Course Segment

Gastrointestinal Surgery

4 RACE CE Hours


  • Types of GI foreign bodies
  • Pathophysiology of intestinal obstruction
  • Diagnosis of foreign body obstruction
  • Antibiotics, suture material and needles
  • Indications for surgery for foreign bodies
  • Assessing intestinal viability
  • Postop feeding
  • Intestinal incisional dehiscence

Esophageal feeding tube

  • E tube indications
  • Advantages of e tubes
  • Special equipment
  • E tube feeding

Intra abdominal biopsy techniques

  • Special equipment
  • Risk of dehiscence after intestinal biopsy
  • Role of mesenteric lymph node biopsy
  • Liver biopsy interpretation
  • Risks of pancreatic biopsy


  • Clinical signs of gastric foreign bodies
  • Potentially life threatening gastric foreign bodies:
  • Expansile foreign bodies
  • Post – 1982 pennies
  • Multiple magnets
  • Teriyaki sticks
  • Imaging of gastric foreign bodies
  • Results of endoscopy for gastric
  • foreign bodies
  • Gastrotomy: needles, suture material, antibiotics, suture patterns Postoperative feeding

Intestinal resection and anasotmosis

  • Indications
  • Intestinal tumors types in dogs and cats, signs, diagnosis
  • The GIST concept
  • Roles of surgery in feline gi lymphoma
  • Assessment of intestinal viability
  • Long term survival of dogs and cats with intestinal tumors

Subtotal colectomy in cats

  • Background – idiopathic megacolon
  • Rule outs
  • Medical management
  • Dietary management
  • Indications for subtotal colectomy
  • Risks of colonic surgery
  • Anatomy
  • Prognosis

Red rubber catheter technique for removing linear foreign bodies

  • Background – linear foreign bodies
  • Radiographic and ultrsonographic appearance of linear foreign bodies
  • Disadvantages of removal of linear foreign bodies with multiple enterotomies
  • Management of intestinal perforation

Gastric dilatation volvulus

  • Risk factors for GDV
  • Lifetime risk for GDV in large and giant breed dogs
  • Signs of GDV
  • Radiographic appearance of GDV
  • Systemic sequelae of GDV
  • Gastric decompression; orogastric tube vs trocarization
  • Determining of the direction of volvulus and repositioning the stomach
  • Assessing splenic and gastric viability
  • Methods of gastric resection
  • Incisional gastropexy
  • Mortality rate of GDV

General Soft Tissue Surgery

8 RACE CE Hours

Cervical abscesses: Exploration and closed suction drainage

  • Cause of cervical abscesses
  • Rule outs and workup for dogs with cervical swelling
  • Passive vs active (closed suction) drains
  • Chinese finger trap stitch for securing drains
  • Aftercare and prognosis

Perineal hernia repair

  • Causes, signs and diagnosis of perineal hernias in dogs
  • Mangement of urethral obstruction associated with perineal hernia
  • Anatomy relevant to internal muscle transposition
  • Management of bilateral hernias
  • Complications of surgery
  • Management of recurrent hernias
  • Perineal hernias in cats: causes, signs and repair

Forelimb amputation

  • Indications for forelimb amputation
  • Behavior of osteosarcoma
  • Talking to owners about amputation and osteosarcoma
  • Contraindications to amputation
  • Delayed bleeding in greyhounds following surgery
  • Pain management in dogs undergoing amputation
  • Postoperative care
  • Response of osteosarcoma to chemotherapy

Hindlimb amputation

  • Indications for hindlimb amputation
  • Behavior of osteosarcoma
  • Talking to owners about amputation and osteosarcoma
  • Contraindications to amputation
  • Delayed bleeding in greyhounds following surgery
  • Pain management in dogs undergoing amputation
  • Postoperative care
  • Response of osteosarcoma to chemotherapy

Tail amputation

  • Indications for tail amputation
  • Tail amputation and prognosis in screw tailed English bulldogs

Diaphragmatic hernia repair

  • Pathophysiology
  • Clinical signs
  • Radiography, ultrasound and other imaging techniques
  • Timing of surgery
  • Chronic traumatic diaphragmatic hernias
  • Anesthetic considerations, re expansion pulmonary edema
  • Aftercare and prognosis

Wound soaker catheter

  • Advantages of wound soaker catheters
  • Catheter options
  • Principles of catheter placement
  • Dosing of local anesthetics
  • Aftercare

Basic surgical skills

  • Holding thumb forceps and needle holders
  • Instrument square knot, instrument surgeon’s knot
  • Simple interrupted skin sutures
  • Cruciate skin sutures
  • Simple continuous pattern
  • Simple continuous closure of subcutaneous tissue
  • Two hand square knot
  • Two hand surgeon’s knot

Prepping yourself and the patient for surgery

  • Putting on a cap and mask
  • Scrubbing in
  • Putting on a gown and gloves
  • Preparation of the patient

Digit amputation (and other techniques for managing tumors of the feet)

  • Indications for toe amputation
  • Subungual squamous cell carcinoma in dogs
  • Melanoma of the digit in dogs
  • Digital metastases of primary lung tumors in cats
  • Radiographic appearance of digital malignancies
  • Aftercare and prognosis
  • Digital pad transfer for metacarpal or metatarsal pad defects
  • Partial foot amputation (amputation of 2 toes)

Mass excision: Soft tissue sarcomas and mast cell tumors

  • Principles of tumor excision
  • Selection of patients that need CT/MRI
  • Definition of wide margins
  • Margin classification scheme
  • Orienting incisions with lines of tension
  • Managing wounds using second intention healing
  • Submitting excised tumors for histopathology
  • Interpretation of histologic margin analysis results
  • Options when margins are histologically incomplete
  • STS and MCT local recurrence rates
  • Influence of histologic grade on outcome for STSs and MCTs

Getting sick cats through surgery

  • Assessing blood loss during surgery
  • Prevention of hypothermia
  • Measurement of blood pressure
  • Identifying hypotension
  • Treating hypotension
  • Transfusing cats
  • Tracheal tears resulting from endotracheal intubation
  • Brain damage resulting from mouth gags (mouth speculums)
  • Anatomic differences between dogs and cats

Organ torsions

  • Torsion vs volvulus
  • Mesenteric volvulus
  • How much intestine can I safely resect?
  • Colonic displacement
  • Splenic torsion
  • Liver lobe torsion
  • Lung lobe torsion

Management of septic abdomen

  • Causes of septic abdomen
  • Clinical signs
  • Abdominal fluid analysis
  • Selection of initial antibiotics
  • Surgical treatment and drainage options
  • Prognosis

Salivary mucoceles

  • Causes
  • Clinical presentation
  • Rule outs
  • Cytology, ultrasound
  • Surgical anatomy
  • Aftercare and prognosis


  • Normal calcium regulation
  • Overview of hyperparathyroidism
  • Rule outs for hypercalcemia
  • Signs of hyperparathyroidism
  • Interpretation of PTH/PTHrP
  • Neck ultrasound
  • Surgical anatomy
  • Prevention/management of postop hypocalcemia

Urogenital Surgery

4 RACE CE Hours

Cesarean section

  • Normal gestation and parturition
  • Causes and signs of dystocia
  • Medical treatment of dystocia
  • Indications for C section
  • Anesthesia for C section
  • En bloc ovariohysterectomy
  • Care of neonates
  • Prognosis for mother and neonates


  • Recessed vulva in dogs
  • Preoperative patient preparation
  • Prognosis following episioplasty

The spay/neuter controversy

  • Effect of spaying on mammary cancer in dogs and cats
  • Effect of neutering on other cancers
  • Effect of neutering on non cancerous diseases
  • Effect of neutering on behavioral issues and dog on human bites
  • My summary recommendations regarding spaying and neutering
  • Ovariectomy vs. ovariohystectomy
  • Ovary sparing spay
  • Vasectomy


  • Indications for episiotomy
  • Overview of vaginal tumors in dogs
  • Surgical technique and prognosis


  • Types/causes of uroliths in dogs and cats
  • Choice of suture pattern
  • Choice of suture material
  • Aftercare

Scrotal urethrostomy

  • Types/causes of uroliths in dogs
  • Urohydropulsion of uroliths
  • Urethrostomy vs. urethrotomy
  • Scrotal vs. prescrotal urethrotomy
  • Prevention of hemorrhage
  • Aftercare

Perineal urethrostomy

  • Causes of feline urethral obstruction
  • Indications for PU
  • Timing of PU
  • Technical errors that cause strictured PU’s
  • Aftercare
  • Management of strictured PU’s


  • Indications for nephrectomy
  • Indications for renal scintigraphy to assess the opposite kidney
  • Interpretation of renal scintigraphy
  • Preoperative care
  • Anatomy relevant to nephrectomy
  • Prognosis for dogs with renal cancer

Ruptured bladder repair

  • Causes of ruptured bladder
  • Clinical signs of ruptured bladder
  • Abdominal fluid analysis
  • Use of urea, creatinine and potassium in diagnosing uroabdomen
  • Timing of surgery
  • Initial stabilization and urinary diversion
  • Imaging of uroabdomen patients
  • Urethrocystograms and microbubble studies
  • Aftercare and prognosis

Surgery of the Ear, Airway, Spleen and Liver

4 RACE CE Hours

Arytenoid lateralization

  • Laryngeal anatomy
  • Current concept of the cause of laryngeal paralysis
  • Laryngeal examination
  • Emergency treatment of laryngeal paralysis
  • Postoperative care
  • Prognosis and complications

Soft palate resection and correction of stenotic nares

  • Components of brachycephalic airway syndrome
  • Clinical signs of brachycephalic airway syndrome
  • Gastrointestinal signs in brachycephalic airway syndrome
  • Emergency management of brachycephalic airway syndrome
  • Indications for surgery for overlong soft palate and stenotic nares
  • Techniques for soft palate resection
  • Basics of surgical lasers and laser safety
  • Techniques for correction of stenotic nares

Tracheostomy tube placement

  • Indications for tracheostomy tubes
  • Emergency tracheostomy
  • Controlled tracheostomy
  • Tube types and selection
  • Ventilating through a tracheostomy tube
  • Tubes for flabby necked dogs
  • Making the tracheal incision
  • Tube maintenance
  • Tube removal

Total ear canal ablation

  • Causes of end stage otitis externa
  • Diagnosis of end stage otitis externa
  • Antibiotic selection
  • Prognosis/complications following TECA
  • TECA in cats

Ventral bulla osteotomy

  • Indications for ventral bulla osteotomy
  • Otitis media with minimal otitis externa
  • Inflammatory polyps in cats:
  • Nasopharyngeal polyps
  • Ear canal polyps
  • Removal of polyps by traction vs. ventral bulla osteotomy
  • Outcome for cats treated for inflammatory polyps

Aural hematoma

  • Relevant anatomy of the pinna
  • Cause of aural hematoma
  • Treatment options:
  • Aspiration/corticosteroids
  • Passive drain
  • Teat cannula
  • C02 laser
  • Surgical repair
  • Aftercare


  • Behavior of hemangiosarcoma (HSA)
  • Ruleouts for canine splenic masses
  • Overview of splenic hematoma
  • Preoperative care
  • Vascular anatomy of the spleen
  • Use of surgical staplers and vessel sealing devices
  • Interpretation of histopathology results
  • Prognosis and adjuvant therapy for HSA
  • Feline splenic mast cell tumor

Gall bladder mucoceles and cholecystectomy

  • Possible causes of gall bladder mucoceles
  • Clinical presentation
  • Ultrasonographic appearance
  • Deciding whether surgery is indicated
  • Deciding whether intraop biliary lavage is indicated
  • Considerations prior to surgery
  • Anatomy of the gall bladder
  • Technique for cholecystectomy
  • Technique for biliary lavage
  • Prognosis

Liver lobectomy

  • Types/behavior of canine liver tumors
  • Signs and clinical pathology of liver tumors
  • Vacuolar hepatopathy and HCC in Scotties
  • Imaging of liver masses in dogs
  • Roles of cytology and biopsy
  • Client communication re. liver lobectomies
  • Basic liver anatomy
  • Liver lobectomy techniques
  • Staplers and vessel sealing devices in liver lobectomy
  • HCC prognosis
  • Feline liver masses


Registration Provides Immediate Lifetime Access
To This Online Course

RACE accredited 20 hours CE

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Online Veterinary CE

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