Chris graduated from Edinburgh University in 1978, and immediately left the country for his first job in practice working in Germany. A combination of pig & dairy farmers combined with a Trappist Monastery, an elite riding school and frequent incidents with wild boar made for an interesting mix of clients. Chris is happy to switch to German for his German-speaking clients and their pets.
His next role beginning in 1980 involved working with the largest collection of zoo animals in the Middle East, at Al Ain Zoo & Aquarium. This involved learning the intricacies of zoological medicine for over 4000 animals under his charge, including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians.
His responsibilties included care for numerous private collections of antelope and hunting falcons owned by Arab Sheiks. He dealt with outbreaks on Foot & Mouth Disease, Rinderpest and Newcastle Disease and at weekends found himself treating animals on private islands in the Persian Gulf accessible only by helicopter.
In 1985 Chris moved to the UK to work for the conservationist John Aspinall. Here at Howlets & Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks the major focus was medicine of primates and pachyderms : the collection housed the biggest group of lowland gorillas in the world and the largest herds of elephant and black rhinos in captivity.
It was working with this huge collection of primates that Chris became a specialist in the connection between human and animal diseases, and worked with the Louis Pasteur Institute in Paris on the origin of HIV. His expertise meant he travelled widely in Africa and Asia and spent time working with both wild and domestic animals. For 10 years he also lectured at the University of London, Royal Vet College on zoo medicine.
Chris was invited to become Head Vet at Singapore Zoo & Night Safari in 2004. For two years he managed the health of the entire animal collection, and his knowledge of infectious disease also meant he helped the Singapore Govt to formulate a strategy to minimise any effects of 'bird flu' within the country, in addition to working on the relationship between domestic animals and wildlife within Asia.
From Singapore he moved to Thailand where he developed a small wildlife consultancy. His small team of vets and nurses handled large numbers of primates, elephants and reptiles, and frequent visits to astonishing private collections. The interface between domestic strays, especially dogs, as disease carriers meant that the team liaised with several animal charities engaged in animal health and control.
Chris returned to the UK in 2007 and since then has been working as a veterinary surgeon in over 30 practices up and down the country. This has given him an insight into the health problems of pets in the UK. Many of these conditions are related to domesticity and his knowledge and expertise in wildlife medicine has helped to develop and more holistic approach to pets using the natural biology of the animal.