Prof. Kees Dik

Prof. Kees Jan Dik,
DVM, PhD, Diplomate ECVDI
and KNMvD specialist Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging
1942-2018

"Look and compare!"
Kees Dik, founder of modern diagnostic imaging

Prof. Kees Jan Dik, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ECVDI and KNMvD specialist Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging, was born in Amsterdam on January 9th 1942. After high school he started his Veterinary Medicine training in Utrecht in 1960. After graduation he served for 3 years in military service. Between 1970 and 1974 Kees Dik worked in a mixed practice that owned one of the first commercial veterinary X-ray machines. There his love for radiology was born. In 1974 he decided to leave practice and start an academic career at the Department of Radiology in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University.

On November 12th 1981 Kees Dik defended his PhD, carried out under the supervision of prof. A.W. Kersjes and dr. C.C. van de Watering on a thesis entitled “Radiological aspects of polyarthritis in foals”. He was appointed as professor of Veterinary Radiology on August 17th 1983. In 1992 he became a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging (ECVDI) and he was president of this college between 1996 and 1998.



Kees Dik supervised three PhD projects: Pim Wolvekamp in 1987, George Voorhout in 1988 and Antoon Jan van den Belt in 1995.

In 1999, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine modernised the structure of the faculty with species orientated departments. Kees Dik’s chair was renamed as professor of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging, and his group was embedded in the Department of Companion Animal Medicine.

In the Diagnostic Imaging group he always tried to reach the very best level of achievement. In 1980 he introduced echography to the veterinary imaging services. This was followed by CT in 1990 and MRI in 1998. In this way the Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging of Utrecht University was always a world leader.

In 2003, Kees Dik became Emeritus Professor in Utrecht and on February 7th 2003 he delivered a highly acclaimed valedictory oration “Look and compare”. During this presentation he looked back on his impressive academic career and gave advice for future directions in diagnostic imaging. Further, he thanked his former wife Tonny van Kessel and their daughter Annelieke.

After retirement in Utrecht Kees Dik continued as guest professor of Diagnostic Imaging in Ghent (2002-2013) and as veterinary advisor in a large veterinary practice “Veterinary Centre Someren” (2003-2017). At both places he remained actively involved in teaching young residents, most often for the ECVDI but also for ECVS and ECEIM, until his final hospitalization. Further he supported and nurtured many other young academics on their first steps into an academic career. His enthusiasm was unlimited, his efforts tireless and although his approach was sometimes quite “direct”, the results were always exceptional. Kees Dik always aimed for the highest for himself and also for others.

Over his long and illustrious academic career he organised or supported many international congresses and educational events including BVRA 1984 , IVRA Veldhoven 1991 and EAVDI Utrecht 2014. He also was an extraordinary and very experienced speaker at numerous other congresses. In 2009 he married Dr. Kathelijne Peremans, and with her he shared not only the professional love of veterinary diagnostic imaging but also the personal interest in horses (Lusitano) and horse-back riding. Last but not least he had a great love for the Pyrenees where he undertook many trail rides on horseback.

Kees Dik passed away in Ghent on January 1st 2018 following a fight with metastatic cancer. Kees Dik leaves a legacy of almost 100 scientific articles and books, not only of excellent scientific quality, but his work also will continue to stimulate and educate generations of veterinarians, professional horsemen and breeding organisations.

Next to his beautiful reference handbooks and his enduring and tireless support for the development of veterinary diagnostic imaging, perhaps his biggest contribution is the work on the radiographic evaluation of Dutch warmblood horses. He developed several evaluation schemes for the radiological examination of horses and with his characteristic meticulous accuracy and his excellent eye for detail he developed these schemes to provide a sound and reliable basis for today’s radiological examination in veterinary evaluations and prepurchase examinations. This is a legacy where all Dutch equine practitioners still get satisfaction from in their daily work. In 2015 he took the first steps to standardise the radiographic evaluation of the equine neck and back, a problem faced nowadays by all equine veterinarians from all over the world. We will miss Kees Dik’s help in solving this problem and we will try to keep up his principles of professionalism.

Those of us who were privileged to know him really personally will always remember his unique personality.

Marianne Sloet van Oldruitenborgh-Oosterbaan1 and Antoon Jan van den Belt2

1 professor of Equine Internal Medicine, Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University
2 diplomate ECVDI, section of Diagnostic Imaging, Department of Companion Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Utrecht University.