H.A. Pattison qualified as a veterinarian (MRCVS) in London in May 1892. In November 1893 he was appointed, with J.W. Crowhurst*, R.W. Dixon* and M.A. Hutchence, as assistant veterinary surgeon in the Department of Agriculture of the Cape Colony by the Colonial Veterinary Surgeon, Duncan Hutcheon*.
In 1895 Pattison discovered that Cynanchum obtusifolium (Family Asclepiadaceae) is toxic to cattle. The finding was published in the Report of the Colonial Veterinary Surgeon for that year. A related species, C. ellipticum, was proved poisonous to sheep by O. Henning* two years earlier.