What drives Dr. Preston’s drill?…

Dr. Chris Preston (BVSc (hons), MACVSc, FACVSc, DACVS) is the owner and director of Pet Emergency & Specialist Centre in Victoria (www.petemergency.com.au) and has been a specialist surgeon in private practice for over 20 years. In addition, he is a fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists and has numerous orthopaedic publications internationally which include topics on TPLO surgery, arthroscopy and hip replacements.

VetPrac got the chance to have a quick chat with Chris on the phone to find out what puts the spring in his step and the drive behind his drill.

Initially Dr. Preston thought he was going to be a horse surgeon when he started vet school.  Lucky for us that that didn’t happen!  What changed? Well, let’s just say that he wanted a different kind of challenge.  Chris said, “Being faced with the complexity of the skill set surgeons have in the small animal world, I wanted to get technically better at operating”.  Now looking back at his decision to change, he is happy with his choice.  Small animal surgery “constantly gets complicated and surgeons are always coming up with new procedures for hips, knees and elbows”.  Since scrubbing up as a surgical specialist, Chris too has contributed to this!

One of the newer procedures he’s talking about is knee replacements!  Although they are very common in the human world of medicine, they are pretty new to the animal kingdom. In saying that, Chris really enjoys them and so far he’s performed around 50 or more. One case that Dr. Preston was delighted to share with VetPrac involved a dog from Broom.  “His knees were so crippled that his gait was completely compromised” Chris states. The dog and his owner flew down to Melbourne specifically to seek out Dr. Preston’s expertise and two knee replacements later, the dog (and his owner) are strutting their stuff back at home…I guess you could say he put a spring in the dogs step as well.

This brings us to the next question…how does a specialist learn new procedures?  He learns from specialists of course!  In order to keep up to date, Dr. Preston personally trains alongside the inventor of the procedure so then he can then implement it into his own practice.  Chris states “I try and learn one new surgery a year”.

Dr. Preston has quite the busy schedule.  In the morning he consults, at lunch time he starts operating on a variety of cases, at about 5 p.m. he’s writing up records and usually is home for dinner!  He also somehow finds the time to oversee 6 veterinary students and those undergoing a residency program at his clinic, all of which are participating in clinical research studies and publishing articles with his help and guidance.  We can’t really understand where he finds the time to do so much, but he does, and he is good at it!  Chris states that he enjoys “the diversity of people and the absence of monetary discussion when teaching”.  To top it off he will be joining the VetPrac crew this June for the upcoming Soft tissue surgery of the Forelimb Joint Surgery Workshop!

Thank you for sharing a bit about yourself, Dr. Chris Preston…VetPrac couldn’t be happier to have you as part of the team.

Interviewed by Alena Felkai