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Christopher E. I. Day: An Inspirational Pioneer of Homeopathic Veterinary Medicine
Chris Day qualified as a veterinary surgeon from the University of Cambridge in 1972. He was introduced to homeopathy by his German uncle, a homeopathic doctor, when he was 12 years old and his mother also used it in the family veterinary practice in Stanford in the Vale, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. While at university, he studied Boericke's Materia Medica, assuming that the remedies with the most pages were the most important. This provided him with a solid foundation on which he later built his use of homeopathy. He also studied agricultural sciences, which included nutrition. However, he came out of university feeling unprepared to take on a proper role in the family practice, and so he spent his first postgraduate year gaining experience in a practice in Lancashire.
On his return to Stanford, in what was then a progressive move, he and his father developed a system of routine farm visits and nutritional advice, in what would now be called a “herd health” scheme. Eventually, Chris's farms would be managed entirely with homeopathy. Chris also took on most of the equine work of the practice.
In 1980, he was made aware of the medical courses being run at the Faculty of Homeopathy. There he met people of like mind, resulting in the formation, in 1982, of the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons (BAHVS). He was its secretary for over 30 years and President for three. Realising the need for a course for vets, he developed veterinary modules to add on to the medical course. The first veterinary course began in 1984, and in 1987 Chris was made one of the first three Veterinary Members of the Faculty of Homeopathy (VetMFHom) and later a Fellow (VetFFHom). He served as the Faculty's Veterinary Dean for 28 years.
As his reputation spread so did the number of clients arriving to see Chris personally, and he developed an almost evangelic desire to introduce the world to homeopathy, with the effect that he would travel almost literally anywhere to speak to organisations from dog clubs to local veterinary groups and universities. He held courses in many countries, including Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Ireland and the United States. His first book, “The Homoeopathic Treatment of Small Animals”, was published in 1984 and is now in its third edition. The book was the first of its kind to deal with homeopathy in sufficient detail to act as an introduction for vets, talking about Hahnemann, potentisation, totality, constitutional prescribing and miasmatic theory. It also covers the unsuitability of commercial foods—and the role of vaccines as causes of chronic disease. Many publications followed including, in 1995, “The Homoeopathic Treatment of Beef and Dairy Cattle”. By 2005, he had 10 books in print, and there were many more to which he had contributed. When he changed to self-publishing e-books, he wrote a lot more, such as “Feed your Horse the Natural Way” and “Homeopathic First Aid for Wild Animals and Birds.”
Chris also conducted several clinical trials: in 1984, his study of the effect of Caulophyllum on the rate of stillbirths in a herd of pigs was published in Veterinary Record ; in 1986, a paper on the control of mastitis using nosodes was published in the British Homoeopathic Journal  and, in 1987, a trial using nosodes to manage an outbreak of kennel cough in dogs was published in the International Journal of Veterinary Homeopathy. More are to be found in his “Cattle” book.
Chris's work with homeopathy soon brought him into contact with other homeopathic vets from around the world and in 1986 he was among the founders of the International Association for Veterinary Homeopathy (IAVH) and its first President. The Association now has over 500 members in 32 countries. When his concern for the environment led to a decision not to travel by air, his range became somewhat limited, but he was a regular visitor to Ireland and Scandinavia and he happily drove in one of his beloved Saabs all over Europe, to venues such as Amsterdam, Budapest and Riga.
In 1987, in order to concentrate on the work which was his passion, he established the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre, separating off—and subsequently selling—the rest of the practice. By now he had also acquired skills in acupuncture, laser treatment, chiropractic and herbal medicine and had become an expert in the assessment of saddling and shoeing.
As the leading figure in his field, there was always a long list of patients in need of his skills, and Chris's willingness to drive long distances or follow a packed schedule in the consulting room, together with the outstanding results of his ministrations, earned him many loyal friends and admirers. He was the subject of many articles in the press and made several appearances on television. He had a phenomenal ability to get through prodigious amounts of work, with a day starting at 4.00 am. Somehow, he still managed to make the time to talk to vets and other groups of interested people. His passion for animal welfare led to his involvement in many environmental and welfare issues and saw him advising and giving expert evidence to several official bodies on subjects in both domestic and wild animals.
In 1995, the Faculty ceased running courses itself, transferring the responsibility to the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital. For various reasons, this did not work well for the veterinary side, so Chris negotiated incorporating the veterinary course into the recently formed Homeopathic Physicians Teaching Group (HPTG; which then became the Homeopathic Professionals Teaching Group). It proved a perfect relationship and was responsible for a generation of VetMFHoms in the United Kingdom and overseas.
Chris's passion for homeopathy stemmed from his overriding desire to heal, as described by Hahnemann. His detailed knowledge of the Organon informed his teaching and his practice, but at the same time he was not limited by dogma and he would readily use any therapy required by the individual patient—and any homeopathic regimen, his adage being “it's all homeopathy”.
His passion and compassion for his patients were matched by his courage to speak the truth, but his outspokenness was not always accepted by his peers. He suffered many professional attacks but always remained steadfast and, when in 2017 the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) released their “position statement” criticising homeopathy, he was the first to join the fray.
In 2015, Chris had a cardiac arrest while talking to an audience at Tintern in the Wye Valley. It was only through prompt use of a defibrillator, heroic CPR and strategic doses of Aconitum that he survived. After undergoing surgery, he eventually recovered sufficiently to return to work, but he finally succumbed to cardiac failure and he died, at home, on 18th April 2023.
Chris Day was a pioneer of world renown, who took veterinary homeopathy forward into the 21st Century. He was a warm and engaging man, with a wonderful sense of humour, who greeted everyone in the same kind manner. He often quoted from the RCVS oath, which states that “…above all my constant endeavour will be to ensure the health and welfare of animals committed to my care”; and paragraph 1 of the Organon: “The physician's highest and only calling is to make the sick healthy, to cure, as it is called”. Chris epitomised both of these, but he did much more than that: he shared his knowledge and inspired a generation of homeopathic vets to tread the same path; he spread the word about homeopathy far and wide. But most of all he showed a compassion which extended beyond his patients: to their owners, to all those with whom he came in contact, and to our planet itself. His legacy will live on in his books, in the Faculty of Homeopathy, in the BAHVS and in the IAVH, and in the countless people he inspired.
We have lost a brilliant homeopathic veterinary surgeon, a pioneering researcher, a leader, an inspiration, and a friend.
There is a Chris Day Memorial Fund and donations can be made via Edward Carter, FD, 15 Newbury Street, Wantage, Oxfordshire, OX12 8BU.
Received: 15 June 2023
Accepted: 25 June 2023
Article published online:
01 September 2023
© 2023. Faculty of Homeopathy. This article is published by Thieme.
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- 1 Day C. The Homoeopathic Treatment of Small Animals: Principles and Practice. London: Rider; 2005
- 2 Day C. The Homoeopathic Treatment of Beef and Dairy Cattle. Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd; 1995
- 3 Day C. Feed Your Horse the Natural Way: The Platform Upon Which to Build Health. Published October 26, 2012 at Accessed July 07, 2023 at: www.lulu.com/shop/christopher-day/feed-your-horse-the-natural-way-the-platform-upon-which-to-build-health/ebook/product-1qn28nrw.html
- 4 Day C. Homeopathic First Aid for Wild Animals & Birds: Accidents and Emergencies. Published August 16, 2015 at: www.lulu.com/shop/christopher-day/homeopathic-first-aid-for-wild-animals-birds-accidents-and-emergencies/ebook/product-18rrzgpj.html?q=Homeopathic+First+Aid+for+Wild+Animals+and+Birds&page=1&pageSize=4
- 5 Day CEI. Control of stillbirths in pigs using homoeopathy. Vet Rec 1984; 114: 216
- 6 Day C. Clinical trials in bovine mastitis. Use of nosodes for prevention. Br Homoeopath J 1986; 75: 11-14
- 7 Day CEI. Isopathic prevention of kennel cough—is vaccination justified?. Int J Vet Hom 1987; 2: 45-51
- 8 Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. College publishes complementary medicines statement. Published November 3, 2017 at: www.rcvs.org.uk/news-and-views/news/college-publishes-complementary-medicines-statement