Although his professional path began with a full scholarship to study accountancy, life and literature instilled a fascination, and over time a passion, in Dr. Berry for all types of veterinary medicine. James Herriot’s stories of animals and their owners played an influential role in early adulthood, while physically demanding experiences with large farm animals and alarming encounters with gorillas as a zoo consultant later confirmed that Dr. Berry’s change of career was a perfect choice.
During the 1980s, Dr. Berry completed his BVSc and MMedVet degrees, followed by his internship and Internal Medicine residency, at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. From 1990 to 1996, he served as a Professor of Medicine at the University of Pretoria at Onderstepoort, and was selected Teacher of the Year in 1993. Dr. Berry relocated to California in 1996, and completed his Neurology-Neurosurgery residency at UC-Davis in 1999. He taught as an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1999 to 2000 before returning to California and joining SCVSH.
Dr. Berry is internationally revered in the field of veterinary neurology-neurosurgery, expertise gained from restricting surgery to exclusively spinal and brain surgery. Although respected as an authority on a range of procedures, he is especially recognized for his expertise on the following:
- Spinal decompressive surgery for both neck and back disc ruptures.
- Atlanto-axial luxation reduction-stabilization, a procedure to restore dislocation between the first and second neck vertebrae in mostly toy breeds.
- Lumbosacral distraction-stabilization-fusion, to alleviate discomfort and debilitation of sciatic and cauda equine compression, more commonly in large breed dogs.
- Spinal fracture reduction/stabilization, a procedure in which spinal fractures are reduced and repaired using orthopedic implants.
As an experienced educator with extensive surgical experience, Dr. Berry is frequently invited to share his knowledge with colleagues. Recently he was invited to present at the American College of Veterinary Surgery and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association international conferences.
On the rare occasions he has spare time, Dr. Berry expresses himself artistically through photography and oil painting. When the need for speed overrides the more cerebral pursuits, he can be found behind the wheel of his 1971 MGB Roadster.