Vets strike gold as cat-friendly clinic earns accreditation - Veterinary Practice
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Vets strike gold as cat-friendly clinic earns accreditation

One of Scotland’s leading referral veterinary centres has further enhanced its glowing reputation after earning a prestigious international feline accreditation

Linnaeus-owned Veterinary Specialists Scotland (VSS), in Livingston, has achieved accreditation as a gold cat-friendly clinic by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM).   

Dr Sam Woods, clinical director at VSS, said the highest level of ISFM accreditation was a terrific achievement and a validation of the centre’s exceptional care for cats, which is led by specialist Nicki Reed. She is one of only three vets in Scotland to be recognised as a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Specialist in Feline Medicine.

Nicki said: “At VSS, we recognise that cats are a very different species from dogs, with their own unique requirements. These special considerations have been taken into account not only throughout the design of the referral centre but also when investigating and managing feline conditions.

“Cats often lead a more independent lifestyle than dogs, making it more difficult for owners to know what they are up to. They are also more likely to become anxious and stressed in unfamiliar surroundings, which can limit the usefulness of the clinical examination, unless this is done in a sympathetic fashion respecting the cat’s boundaries.

“This is why we have worked extremely hard to ensure our facilities are the very best available and why we are so delighted they have been recognised and endorsed by the ISFM with this gold award.”

The CFC programme aims to promote well-being and high standards of care for all cats visiting or being hospitalised in a veterinary clinic.

To achieve the ISFM’s gold standard for feline care, a clinic has to prove rigorous adherence to a set of criteria which includes provision of facilities and demonstration of staff activities and attitudes aimed at reducing stress in cats, both as in-patients and out-patients.

The criteria for accreditation includes having separate dog and cat waiting areas, feline-friendly hospitalisation cages, and veterinary equipment specifically for treating cats. Most importantly, staff are encouraged to approach and handle cats sensitively and respectfully.

The state-of-the-art facilities at VSS helped immensely in achieving gold status but Sam has singled out internal medicine specialist and confessed cat lover Nicki, along with Nicola Mallon, the centre’s cat advocate, for particular praise. She said: “This award is a glowing tribute to our feline team, which includes colleagues with advanced qualifications in feline medicine and extensive experience in working with cats.

“Nicki has been with us since our opening in October 2020, joining the practice to help provide an exceptional level of medical care to both feline and canine patients. However, her expertise in all things feline has without a doubt been a major contribution in us achieving this gold award.

“The same can be said of Nicola, who is our dedicated cat advocate and who played a really crucial role in much of the work we did to achieve this accreditation. A huge thanks to both for their dedication.”

Nicola said: “Being a cat advocate is a proud achievement of mine, as I grew up around cats and have had a love of them all my life. I find they are often misunderstood little creatures who just need someone to help raise awareness about their behaviour and illnesses – something I am grateful to do.”

Nicki gained her Royal College Diploma in Feline Medicine in 2008 followed by the European College Diploma in Internal Medicine in 2009. She has written several journal articles and book chapters in the field of feline medicine and has lectured widely in this area in the UK and abroad.

Meanwhile, RVN Nicola has achieved the ISFM Diploma in Feline Nursing and the ISFM certificate in Advanced Dentistry and joined VSS in April 2021.

VSS is a specialist-led multidisciplinary referral centre offering industry-leading services in internal medicine (feline and canine), neurology, orthopaedics, and soft tissue surgery, supported by specialists in diagnostic imaging and anaesthesia and analgesia.

For more information about VSS and the services it offers, visit their website or search for Veterinary Specialists Scotland on social media.

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