ONE of the world's best known vet practices has become a veterinary hospital with special status as a Gold Cat-Friendly Clinic.

The Skeldale Veterinary centre in Thirsk was made famous by legendary writer James Herriot and in the TV series All Creatures Great and Small in the 1970s.

The practice is now known as Skeldale Veterinary Hospital Medivet Thirsk after gaining the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' hospital status and emergency care accreditation.

A spokesperson said: "To become a veterinary hospital a practice needs to meet the highest level of standards applied in this country for premises, equipment, staff, and level of care. All veterinary hospitals are inspected by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons inspectors to ensure that they meet the standards laid down by the RCVS, at the highest level, and are reviewed every five years.

"Skeldale was awarded their Gold Cat-Friendly Clinic status by the International Society of Feline Medicine. This is the veterinary division of the charity International Cat Care which is dedicated to improving the health and welfare of cats worldwide.

"This means we understand the needs and unique nature of cats and have made vet visits more cat-friendly. We understand how to approach and handle cats gently and with care, have good knowledge and equipment to manage the care of cats, avoid direct contact between cats and dogs with routine consultations a minimum of 15 minutes long to minimise stress. We also use natural pheromones throughout the practice to help calm cats and have a dedicated cat advocate to ensure that all cat-friendly standards are adhered too.

"The veterinary hospital title guarantees Skeldale has the facilities to help pets even in the most difficult circumstances. The team at Skeldale have worked exceptionally hard to achieve this for their patients and clients."