A ’94 graduate of the Sydney University veterinary school, I also completed an honours year in pharmacology, seeding interests in imaging, cardiology and critical thinking. Academia and teaching was tempting, but my frustration with the creative straight-jacket of scientific writing limited my publications to three.
Lucky enough to get my clinical grounding in large multi-vet referral hospitals in Sydney, I worked within supportive teams of GPs and specialists. While participating in most aspects of high-end small animal medicine, I was somewhat cloistered and didn’t really challenge myself until moving into the rarefied world of the veterinary locum – adapting a more academic approach to the real world, and understanding the compromises demanded by personal inexperience, limited finances and sub-optimal hospital equipment.
I’ve prostituted myself to industry, representing them in the media, writing copy, enduring marketing staff, and investigating adverse events involving their products. Unable to sustain the moral dissonance required for a career in animal research or industry, I have never strayed far from the clinic.
Rather than just leaving me feeling dirty, industry-time sparked an interest in ethics: not only animal welfare, but also how the profession conducts itself, the information we share, and that which we may withhold. Putting this into practise, I served on the UNSW Animal Care and Ethics Committee, monitoring the plight of lab animals.
Cursed with an overly curious mind, I have not specialised or limited my focus to one branch of the information tree. My reading palate is broad, extending from veterinary and human medicine to popular science, psychology and sustainability. Vets also have greater insight into the diseases with which they have personal experience, and in this regard mine are in patella luxation, pneumonia, osteoarthritis, immune-mediated polyarthropathy, immunosuppression and food allergy.
More recently I have spent time working with Vets Beyond Borders, on a street dog project in Indonesia. This experience has had profound and some unexpected effects on my outlook: on infectious disease, and preventative medicine.
Other beliefs of note include: utilitarianism; organic gardening; the virtues of a simple life; the value of social capital; climate change; resource peaks; extra-terrestrial life; and that the bicycle can save the world. More on my personal philosophies of medicine here.