Everyone at CAM4animals was deeply saddened at the passing of renowned vet, Dr Chris Day. He was considered one of the godfathers of veterinary homeopathy, taking it into the 21st century as he continued to use it successfully in his own practice and inspire several generations of new integrative vets. We take a look at his life and legacy and how he helped us at CAM4animals.
As vet Dr Ilse Pedler, President of the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons (BAHVS), said in their obituary:
“Words seem inadequate to describe what Chris meant to veterinary homeopathy in the UK and in fact worldwide.”Dr Ilse Pedler MA, VetMB, VetFFHom, MRCVS, President of BAHVS
An enormous influence
Chris was very influential in holistic veterinary practice in the UK and abroad. As Veterinary Dean of the Faculty of Homeopathy, he established veterinary homeopathic training, standards, and examinations. He was a founder member of BAHVS and the Homeopathic Physicians Teaching Group (HPTG). Secretary of BAHVS for over 25 years, Chris served as their President from 2017 – 2020. He was also President of the International Association for Veterinary Homeopathy twice.
His patients loved him and valued what he did for their animals :
“Chris was my go-to vet from the late 1990s. He truly was my hero – dedicated to the proper care of animals despite the pressures from within his own profession he calmly and methodically practised veterinary care in a way in which he knew worked. He not only changed how I cared for my animals, he also led us to change our own nutrition and health care. Typically I first consulted him as a last resort, with a horse which had been written off by the conventional vets. Chris’s help got her back into full work. From then on, Chris was my first port of call for any issue and kept my animals in the best possible health living long, healthy and quality lives. He was such a vital human being with a thirst for life and knowledge, I can’t really imagine that he is no longer with us and the world is a lesser place with him gone. I have many, many reasons to thank him and will miss him. With profound thanks Yvette Andrewartha, Chi, Polly, Bonnie, Tilly, Purdie, Daisy and Rosie – all who were helped in some way by Chris.“Yvette Andrewartha
Chris spent a lifetime learning. He was interested in veterinary medicine from the age of five, unpacking the medicines at his parents’ practice. With schoolboy enthusiasm, Chris was forever investigating and finding out about things! Chris did a medical degree first, wanting to study a single species before looking at the multitude of animals he was to go on to treat! He subsequently qualified from Cambridge University Veterinary School in 1972. As a vet, Chris found he could do things for animals using homeopathy he couldn’t do any other way. With long and dedicated study, he became VetMFHom in 1987 and VetFFHom in 1991. He added other modalities to his repertoire as he went along, including acupuncture in 1982, for example.
Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre
In 1987 he founded the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre in Oxfordshire. This provided a ground-breaking referral service in holistic, alternative and complementary medicine for all animal species. Chris also worked all over the UK and taught widely both here and abroad. He once visited Cat Walker’s thoroughbred, Freyr:
“When two years of allopathic treatment failed to treat recurrent uveitis, with a prognosis of blindness, a combination of alternative treatments (chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, dietary advice and homeopathy) from Chris Day ensured my horse Freyr lived another eight years with no more eye problems.
It’s the best £350 I ever spent on my horse, and £200 of that was for travel costs for the 350-mile return journey from Faringdon to North Wales!”Cat Walker CAM4animals supporter
Spreading the word
Chris was the author of numerous articles, books, and eBooks on many aspects of holistic medicine. His countless talks and lectures were packed full of his trademark enthusiasm and wicked sense of humour. Knowing it was important to demonstrate the efficacy of the modalities he used, Chris also contributed to clinical research data.
A holistic approach and the use of homeopathy was at the centre of all that he did, leading the way for many others.
As Ilse Pedler of BAHVS says:
“He was a truly unique individual; passionate, determined, forthright in his views, a man of a piercing intellect and capacious intelligence who helped bring homeopathy into modern veterinary practice and who inspired the next generation of vets by giving them the confidence to practise homeopathy in their own ways.”Dr Ilse Pedler, President of BAHVS
This has been echoed by many of his fellow homeopathic vets including Sue Armstrong:
“He was a great teacher, examiner and colleague…… Chris had a wicked sense of humour and I have been so very lucky to have shared some very happy times in his company at conferences and events over the years. I owe so much to him. The world is a poorer place without him.”Dr Sue Armstrong MA VetMB VetMFHom CertIAVH MRCVS RsHom of Sue Armstrong Consultancy
Still working, healing, mentoring
True to form, Chris never really retired. Only recently, he took herbalist Michaela Ritter of Samovila Specialised Herbal Therapy under his wing, providing her with a deep insight into holistic veterinary care as part of her ongoing CPD training:
“As part of my 3 years study for the Tierheilpraktiker (veterinary naturopath) I had to complete some practical units. I undertook this with Chris in April/May 2021 and I feel so very honoured to have been his last student. My studies naturally focused on learning about the truly holistic side of veterinary medicine (rather than the clinical side only – I did this in another practical with another vet) and Chris took great care of that. Chris became a mentor for me even after the practical ended and I learned a lot from him! He was ever so proud when I finally passed my exams in October 2022. What impressed me the most was his caring, genuine, open and honest mentality towards everyone who entered his practice – what you saw was what you got. Chris was a very intuitive person – his method of remedy selection was so very impressive and it never failed! He truly involved all his senses when working with his patients – I loved this approach. The world has lost a most amazing Veterinarian, Homeopath and Person and I am deeply grieving for his passing.”Michaela Ritter, Samolvila Specialised Herbal Therapy
Advocating for holistic veterinary care
In addition to his widespread success as a vet, being a dedicated and vocal advocate for his profession wasn’t always easy for Chris. The potential benefits for animals having integrative veterinary care are not always acknowledged.
This was particularly the case when the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, RCVS, changed their position statement on the use of homeopathy and other alternative modalities in 2017. Not only were Chris’s patients upset by this, but a wide range of integrative veterinary clients were moved to act in support of their holistic vets and practitioners. These professionals with their various additional specialities, qualifications and experience, are highly valued and sought after. As Sara Kernohan says:
“We will be forever indebted to Chris. As a homeopath, I learned so much watching him during consultations with my dogs. Many people travelled hours and hours bringing their animals to him – a proof, if you ever needed it, that homeopathic vets are needed in their droves. If only they could all be taught and mentored by Chris. My thoughts go to his family. He must be greatly missed.”Sara Kernohan, homeopath and cofounder of CAM4animals
A petition was launched in support of complementary and alternative veterinary medicine, CAM, which garnered nearly 20,000 signatures. Two marches were undertaken to the Royal College’s London headquarters in January and April 2018. Chris was at the heart of handing in the petition and in meeting the RCVS to discuss how they came to their conclusion.
Meanwhile CAM4animals formed as a cohesive organisation aimed at protecting and promoting continued access to CAM modalities. Chris was fundamental to this process, giving us valuable advice and wisdom. He was so generous with his time and his insight enabled us to develop and take our own views as independent CAM customers forward. We were able to confidently liaise with the RCVS and put across the CAM client position. Chris’s input also helped us develop relationships with other professional CAM bodies. He really helped us find our feet.
Each animal is an individual
And still he continued to care for his beloved patients. Chris saw each animal as an individual and helped them to heal through minimal intervention. This approach is not only good for the animal, but also for the environment with a reduction in the use of chemical treatments necessary.
“Chris had such strong, gentle, and loving energy about him. He conversed with each animal to find out what was required and was a great inspiration to me, as a homeopath and animal parent. Very much less is more, minimal interventions to allow the animal to heal. Watching the magic happen after seeing him was such a delight.”Carol Fieldhouse
Like all those who met Chris, herbalist Michaela Ritter is left with some lovely memories:
“A story that will stick in my mind forever and a day is, when, one day after all patients were gone, he asked me to come into his garden which he loved so much (Chris was also a very passionate and gifted gardener!). He suddenly disappeared as I finished my notes for the day. I went into the garden calling out for him and all of a sudden he re-appeared seemingly out of nowhere (probably hiding between all those big plants and herbs) with a small plant in his hand. Without asking, he dabbed the plant sap onto my hand and said something in the lines of ‘this is your plant, you know this, don’t you?’ A bit surprised still, we briefly discussed the plant – the botanical, medicinal and homeopathic aspect of it – and that was that for the day. It left me a bit puzzled but I took it as it was. Two years later, after much more intense studies about herbal and plant energetics, I am coming across said plant again and find that it is indeed ‘my’ plant!”Michaela Ritter, Samolvila Specialised Herbal Therapy
The legacy of a gentleman and a hero
A true gentleman, it seemed like Chris would go on forever. Like all our heroes, that’s what we wanted him to do. His death marks the end of an era. His legacy, however, lives on and he has left the holistic health world in good hands.
“His wisdom, expertise and humility will be sorely missed but what a legacy. He leaves the world a better place for animals and that is worth celebrating.Jackie Pearce Dickens CEO of Whole Health Agriculture
Ilse Pedler again:
“It would give him the greatest of pleasures to see homeopathy grow and flourish, so go on we must and continue spreading the word as he did throughout his life, and we should take courage from his example.”Dr Ilse Pedler MA, VetMB, VetFFHom, MRCVS, President of BAHVS
Likewise, we at CAM4animals will continue to be inspired by Chris in our mission to demonstrate the benefits of holistic healthcare for animals and enable people to gain access to vets and practitioners. We’ll carry on working with likeminded organisations and individuals and help expand the holistic vet care knowledge base on our website and through social media and our newsletter.
You will be greatly missed, Chris. We are indebted to you for your leadership and inspiration and are immeasurably grateful for the legacy you have left us.
This blog was written by the CAM4animals team.
Disclaimer – Where blogs have been created by a guest author, CAM4Animals has reproduced this in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies of information in it or any use you make of this information.
The veterinary Surgeon’s Act 1966 restricts the treatment of animals (usually other than your own*) by anyone other than a qualified vet. Always consult a veterinary surgeon if you are concerned about your animal’s health. *For full details visit the RCVS website