Interview with Chris Day - Homeopathic Vet
Interview with Chris Day Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeon by Holly Mash our Lily's Kitchen Veterinary Consultant:
Holly Mash, our holistic vet, was delighted to interview the renowned veterinary homeopath Mr Chris Day for our inaugural feature for our new series of specialist interviews. Despite having a very busy day, Chris sat down for half an hour this morning to chat with Holly on the topic of holistic medicine. Chris Day is the founder of the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre in Farringdon, Oxfordshire (www.alternativevet.org). He sees all kinds of animals, never turning anyone away. Chris specialises in a range of complementary veterinary therapies including homeopathy, acupuncture, herbalism and chiropractic. He is also the Veterinary Dean of the Faculty of Homeopathy.
The ‘Specialist’ Interview for Lily’s Kitchen
Mr Chris Day Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeon
Holly Mash, our holistic vet, was delighted to interview the renowned veterinary homeopath Mr Chris Day for our inaugural feature for our new series of specialist interviews. Despite having a very busy day, Chris sat down for half an hour this morning to chat with Holly on the topic of holistic medicine.
Chris Day is the founder of the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre in Farringdon, Oxfordshire (www.alternativevet.org). He sees all kinds of animals, never turning anyone away. Chris specialises in a range of complementary veterinary therapies including homeopathy, acupuncture, herbalism and chiropractic. He is also the Veterinary Dean of the Faculty of Homeopathy.
HM: How did your homeopathic career begin?
CD: Both my parents were vets and when I was about 10 years-old, we went on a holiday to visit a German branch of the family, who were homeopathic doctors. This sparked both my own and my mum’s interest in homeopathy – I can remember being intrigued from then on and I treated myself very successfully throughout school and university. Then all through my veterinary training at Cambridge I continued to read up on the subject of homeopathy. In my first job, up in Lancashire, I would use homeopathy to treat cases that had proved refractory to conventional treatment.
HM: What is your advice to trainee vet homeopaths?
CD: I developed my knowledge and skills in homeopathy gradually and travelled around the world learning from experienced veterinary homeopaths. When I first started prescribing I selected my cases very carefully choosing those that I knew I could treat successfully. This way my competence and confidence grew safely. Take your time developing your skills and thought patterns. Even when you have achieved your VetMFHom qualification you are just at the beginning of your journey into homeopathy.
HM: Do you follow any particular method in homeopathy?
CD: I am wary of the ‘guru’ thing. I believe that we should be learning what is true medicine as well as what suits us as individual practitioners. I have seen people come to blows over the different ideologies in homeopathy! I believe that by learning widely and grabbing wisdom wherever you can, you will develop the skill to be able to prescribe in a way that suits both you and your patients. Everyone’s brain works in a different way – there is not one fixed philosophy when it comes to homeopathic prescribing.
HM: Homeopathy often gets a bad press and is not embraced by the majority of the veterinary profession. What are your thoughts on this?
CD: I have been treating my patients successfully for forty years. My clients generally seem happy and a proportion keeps coming back and that speaks volumes. I believe that if we carry on doing excellent work that we don’t need to justify homeopathy to the veterinary profession, our results will speak for themselves. Homeopathy is bigger than conventional medicine, with more medicines and a greater scope.
HM: What was your veterinary background before you began using complementary treatments?
CD: I used homeopathy to a limited extent from the outset. I began my career mainly as a farm animal vet and equine vet; my parents had a thriving cattle practice in Oxfordshire. It was a very modern practice in its time, herd medicine and control of disease by management and diet taking a prominent place. I used to perform routine weekly or fortnightly visits for nearly 30 large intensive farms and I used to dovetail my homeopathic remedies into the treatments wherever possible. I also ran some of the very early trials on the use of homeopathy in farm animals, several of which were published in the veterinary press. I then, 25 years ago next month, set up on my own with the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre (AVMC) on the same site as our family practice.
HM: Over the course of your career in veterinary medicine have you seen a change in the diseases that pets are suffering from?
CD: To my mind, more pets are suffering from chronic diseases such as cancer and immune mediated illnesses than they used to. Nowadays we are also seeing great advances in the diagnostic techniques and interventions that are available to pets. But, even with such technological advances we always need to be careful to keep the patient’s best interests to the forefront of our treatment. I remember when my mum bought our first x ray machine for the practice! She used to do remarkably good work for her patients even before that time. I fear that patients’ best interests may not always be served by resort to or reliance upon all our modern technology.
HM: With such a variety of treatment options available- homeopathy, herbs and acupuncture for example – how do you choose what to use for a patient?
CD: Each patient is an individual and so needs an individual and carefully integrated approach to treatment. I may use acupuncture needles or a laser, along with herbal medicine and or homeopathy – it depends on what seems most appropriate and what comes to hand. All patients receive chiropractic-type assessment and dietary advice. This morning I have already had several phone consults and later on I have a follow-up laser acupuncture treatment, then I am seeing a dog with diabetes and Cushing’s disease.
HM: How important is a pet’s diet to their health?
CD: Diet is the platform on which to build health. Without a good diet we cannot hope to have a firm basis for health or an optimum effect with any medicine or treatment we may give our patients. I believe that there are five fundamental principles of a good diet, as follows:
5. Species suitable
If you can follow these guidelines in feeding a pet you are on the right track. Our dog gets a mixture of fresh meat and bones, sometimes she has organic canned food and on occasion she even gets fresh roadkill! A dog’s natural diet revolves around scavenging, so this should be reflected in the way we feed them.
HM: What inspires you?
CD: The people that I meet and the challenging cases that I see, I am very grateful every day when I wake up. Each day brings new stimulus and fulfillment.
HM: What kind of dog you have and how old is she?
CD: My dog is a 10-year-old Border Collie bitch and I’m delighted to be able to say that she plays like a puppy!
HM: Why is it that you think the cases of cancer that we see in small animal practice has increased?
When looking at this question, as I so often have, it occurs to me that it must be down to something we are doing to our environment, to their diets or by way of our routine interventions or may be all three. Our modern world, with our reliance on chemicals and on intensive electro-magnetic pollution is a hazardous place for living organisms, including ourselves. The diets we commonly feed our dogs are so often highly processed and contain unsuitable ingredients. Routine interventions include toxic chemicals for deworming and flea treatments. Vaccination is also part of that programme and is poorly monitored. In my opinion, there is no science to support annual vaccination and none to support double boosters after lapsed vaccination. Furthermore, the preparation of some vaccines on tissue cultures may involve the incorporation of cancer DNA, which seems to me to be a dangerous practice. Information on this is not readily available, though, owing to ‘trade secrecy’. My own dog has never been vaccinated but we use ‘unproven’ homeopathic methods instead. We also avoid chemical treatments and our establishment is run on strict organic lines.