Phil gained his Bachelor of Veterinary Science in 1981 from The University of Queensland, Australia. He first went into a mixed large animal practice for 2 years and when he realized how much work that was he quickly returned to UQ in 1984 for a general small animal internship. He gained his Member of Australian College of Veterinary Science qualifications in Small Animal Medicine (MACVSc) 1987. Having decided that small animal medicine and large animal medicine was not for him, he changed track yet again to start a surgical internship and then surgical residency. In 1992, he gained his specialist qualifications in surgery (Fellow of the Australian College of Veterinary Surgeons). In 1993, he spent a sabbatical year in surgery at Colorado State University and North Carolina State University and then returned to teaching surgery to residents and students at The University of Queensland. He started his own surgical practice in 1995 in Brisbane, Queensland. In 2000, thinking it was for only a year, Phil accepted a position at University of California at Davis in orthopedic surgery where he stayed until 2004. It was time to return to private practice and Phil looked both in Australia and the USA. At that time San Francisco did not have a resident surgeon so he then started the surgery department at San Francisco Veterinary Specialists. In 2006, he became a partner and part owner of that practice. He remained in the practice until July 2017. Since then he has been a resident surgeon at Berkeley Dog and Cat in addition to running a mobile surgery practice .