WSU alum presented lifetime achievement award in pathology

Side by side images of David in 1990 and present day.

Nearly four decades after his first application to veterinary school was rejected, Dr. David Fisher has been awarded the American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I thought that was pretty much it for me – the end of my vet career,” Fisher said of being denied by the University of California, Davis.

But only a few years later, Fisher was accepted into the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at Washington State University, setting the foundation for a career in which he has helped countless patients and clients, and served as a mentor to many aspiring veterinary pathologists.

“I’ve always had a lot of gratitude for WSU,” Fisher said. “They were the ones that really opened the door for me.”

Since 2001, the Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to ASVCP members who have made a strong contribution over many years to veterinary clinical pathology. While many past winners come from academia, Fisher’s career has almost been entirely on the commercial side.

After graduating from WSU in 1990, Fisher practiced at a small-animal clinic in Washington before completing a residency in clinical pathology at UC-Davis. After his residency, Fisher headed east, where he was a clinical pathology instructor at the University of Wisconsin. In 1995, he returned to California for a position with a company that was later purchased by IDEXX Laboratories, a developer and distributor of products and services for companion animals, livestock, and poultry, located in West Sacramento, California. Fisher has served in various capacities at IDEXX, including staff pathologist, chair of the medical review board, resident coordinator, and regional manager. He has also served on the clinical pathology board examination committee and as the section editor of “What is your diagnosis?” in the journal Veterinary Clinical Pathology and has written several chapters for veterinary clinical pathology texts.

“Dave is one of the most well-rounded expert clinical pathologists that I know,” Dr. Linda L. Werner wrote in a nomination letter. Werner has worked alongside Fisher for the past 25 years at IDEXX. “His contributions in academia, clinical pathology service, management, teaching, mentoring, consultation for a nation of veterinary clients, service within ASVCP, publications, and continuing education programs are testimony to this.”

Currently, as a staff pathologist at IDEXX, Fisher handles roughly 30-40 cytologic and hematologic samples a day and is available to consult on cases as needed with veterinarians and other pathologists.

“During my career, I’ve helped a lot of animals, being in the background diagnosing disease, giving some advice about testing and what to do next after looking at samples,” Fisher said. “I’ve always loved the puzzle of diagnostics. Being able to crack a tough case and getting answers to something that I know somebody has been struggling to get an answer, I just enjoy that. I see stuff every day that is interesting and I know I have made a difference for the animal that it came from.”

Fisher expressed gratefulness to his co-workers and those who nominated him for the award.

“I feel like I share this award with them,” he said. “It really goes to all of us who have worked here the past 30 years contributing to animal health.”