OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Every year, the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association names its Veterinarian of the Year. The 2019 winner practices right here on the Coast and heads up one of the largest clinics in the state, Bienville Animal Medical Center in Ocean Springs.
Dr. Duke stays busy every day, even answering the phones at his clinic. In winning the honor, Dr. Duke displays a long running trait of being humble.
“I’m doing the same things so many women and men across Mississippi do every day in this profession," he said. "Just to get honored for doing your job, it’s kind of like just what we do.”
He’s been practicing for 35 years now but still loves what he does.
“Keeping these young veterinarians about me that keep me updated on things constantly. Challenging cases, that’s what keeps your mind going. And on top of that, I’ve gotten real involved on a more national level with the American Heartworm Society.”
Things have changed greatly over the years for veterinary care, especially with the use of technology.
“Has it been for the better? Absolutely. We get things done faster, more efficiently and the results are more accurate than they used to be. So this has been a great trend in my opinion,” Duke said.
He added that in any successful practice, teamwork is the key. “We share information on cases all throughout the day. It’s a beautiful thing because you’ve got your second and third opinions sitting right next to you in a lot of cases.”
Not only does Dr. Duke provide care for the thousands of animals he sees each year here at the clinic, he also provides something else that is perhaps more important: jobs.
“We’ve got 46 in the group right now. It makes me feel great that for one thing, it takes this much labor intensive to get the job done. But on the other hand, it does give a lot of good jobs to a lot of good people that really want to help these animals.”
Is retirement in the future? “As long as God lets me stay healthy, mentally, physically. I’ll keep going.”
In addition to Dr. Duke, there are seven other veterinarians that practice at Bienville Animal Medical Center.