For the third year, dvm360 is recognizing industry professionals who are advancing the field and improving the lives of patients, clients, and staff with our Surgery winner, David L. Dycus, DVM, MS, CCRP, DACVS-SA
dvm360 is pleased to present the 2023 class of Veterinary Heroes. Nominated by their peers and selected for the recognition by a committee of esteemed veterinary professionals, 15 award recipients were chosen in various veterinary industry roles and specialties in this third annual program.
The Veterinary Heroes recognition program, which is supported by Surgery category sponsor Nocita, celebrates the achievements of outstanding veterinary professionals who are advancing the field and making a difference in animal care. These winners will be honored on Thursday, August 24, 2023, in conjunction with a Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
Make sure to register for Fetch Kansas City if you have not already!
This category is sponsored by Nocita.
David L. Dycus, DVM, MS, CCRP, DACVS-SA, is chief of orthopedic surgery at Nexus Veterinary Bone & Joint Center and medical director at Nexus Veterinary Specialists, both in Baltimore, Maryland. He’s also an international lecturer, researcher, author, teacher, and mentor. On winning the Veterinary Heroes award for surgery, Dycus said in a dvm360 interview, “I’m very humbled. What it means to me is all the things that I do to not only improve myself, but give back to the profession, there’s been some notice taken of that.” He added, “And one of my mentors long ago said, ‘Whatever you do or whatever you stumble upon, make it better.’ That’s what I’ve always strived to do.”
Dycus earned his veterinary degree at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and completed a small animal rotating internship at Auburn University in Alabama. Next he went to Mississippi State for a combined surgical residency and master’s degree. Dycus then became a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner through the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
A fond memory Dycus has from veterinary school is when he learned that you could specialize in a certain area. He said he walked in the class and told his professor that he wanted to pursue surgery. “[The professor] said, ‘Let’s get through the first month of veterinary school first before we start getting too ambitious here,’” Dycus recalled.
He made it through that first month (and much more), and having an idea early on of the path he wanted to take worked in his favor. “Doing that earlier in the course of veterinary school made it much easier compared [with] the latter parts,” Dycus said. “It sort of laid out the trajectory for me to get to where I am today.”
Dycus continues to be passionate about surgery, including joint pathology, and has also taken a special interest in orthopedics. “Osteoarthritis—that’s where a lot of my research comes from, where a lot of my lectures come from,” he said.
Another of his passions is helping working dogs, “whether it’s military or police or other agencies,” he said. “I think those dogs are phenomenal animals, and they do so much for us. So for me to be able to work with them and be able to give back to the community there, I absolutely love that aspect of orthopedics.” Dycus provides health care to the working dogs and educates their handlers on how to keep their animals’ joints healthy on a very reduced or pro bono basis. “I think it’s fair that we provide [working dogs] with the utmost care and that cost shouldn’t be a huge factor there,” he said.
The professional accomplishment that he’s most proud of is being asked to lecture and teach fellow veterinary professionals. “The way it started was very local,” Dycus said. “And now it is spread to more of an international basis, which to me means that people must think I have something to say of value or that I have something to pass along. And so that makes me very, very proud and very happy.”
According to his nominator, Dycus “has always had a passion for his craft” and is a well-recognized surgeon who shares his knowledge with his peers. “Dr Dycus…teaches at international conferences and local workshops for both [veterinarians] and technicians….Our profession is that much stronger with him in it.”
A major personal achievement for Dycus has been running marathons and even ultramarathons, which consist of a course that’s anything beyond the 26.2-mile marathon mark. “It’s being able to see just how far you can push your body and push yourself and stay on that path to finish,” Dycus said about competing. “And you’re able to achieve more than you think you’re able to achieve.”
Dycus credits his wife and daughter for keeping him grounded and accommodating his lifestyle. Along with running, he enjoys spending weekends attending his daughter’s own sports activities, whether it be lacrosse, soccer, sailing, or archery. He travels the world often with his family and appreciates immersing himself in diverse cultures, taking in new scenery, and trying the local food. “I’m always down to just explore and expand my horizons as to what goes on outside the United States,” Dycus said.