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Profile: Martin Whitehead

What role do you have at Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital?

Vet, Director and the Hospital's Clinical Director.

What are your special interests at work?

Diagnosing difficult to diagnose illnesses and treating complicated medical conditions of dogs and cats - I have a post-graduate qualification in small-animal medicine, and am an RCVS recogised Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Medicine. I also have an interest in treating zoo animals and 'exotic' pets such as reptiles and birds. I have a particular interest in evidence-based veterinary medicine which helps me to keep the treatments used in the hospital up-to-date.

More generally, for the UK veterinary profession as a whole, I have served on the British Small Animal Veterinary Association's Scientific Committee. I do some clinical research and regularly present at veterinary conferences, and I have published papers and reports in veterinary journals arising from cases seen in our Hospital, and reporting research studies in various aspects of veterinary medicine. At present, I am involved in research into the diseases and welfare of pet reptiles in the UK, and into UV light and vitamin D3 in zoo reptiles, especially crocodilians. I have also been campaigning for measures to improve the often very poor welfare of reptiles and other exotic animals kept as pets in the UK. I peer-review papers submitted for publication to veterinary journals. I also write articles and give occasional Continuing Professional Development lectures for other vets on various topics including evidence-based veterinary medicine and causes of diagnostic error in veterinary medicine, and I contribute to efforts to reduce the use of irrational and ineffective treatments by veterinary surgeons.

Any pets?

Golden retrievers Trevor and Elvis, and two moggies; black-and-white Pepe was a rescued ill animal - as is often the case for vets' pets - and black cat SONAR came from one of the practice's farm clients in the days when we did veterinary work for local farms, and she lives happily in our garden, rarely coming indoors.

What are your interests outside of work?

I cycle to keep fit, but I don't have time for much else, what with work, research and three kids. In the rare quiet times I read science books and science fiction novels. On holiday I like to go hiking in mountains or on the coast.

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