Our Awards

Best Practice Accreditation | Cat Friendly Silver Standard Award | Rabbit Friendly Award | Fear Free Certified

Best Practice Accreditation

At the Vets is proud to be BESTPRACTICE accredited by the New Zealand Veterinary Association

What does it mean for you as a client?

It means our clinic will give your pet excellent quality of care. You can trust our staff to be professional, caring, experienced in veterinary medicine and healthcare, and continually updating their professional development. The facilities and equipment are safe, modern and well-maintained. All medications are safely dispensed and appropriately labelled for your pet.

Why choose a BESTPRACTICE clinic?

BESTPRACTICE takes the risk out of choosing a veterinary practice. You can be sure you’ll get quality care at a BESTPRACTICE accredited clinic.
When you choose a BESTPRACTICE accredited clinic you can be sure of excellence in the following areas:

  • Care: Staff who care about you and your pet.
  • Service: Staff are well-presented professionals available for 24-hour emergency service.
  • Training: All staff are professionally trained and experienced in veterinary medicine, surgery, animal health and welfare, have access to up-to-date materials, and are allocated time to ensure continuing professional development.
  • Facilities: The veterinary clinic has modern, well-maintained facilities and equipment in an environment that is comfortable and safe for you and your pet.
  • Information: The clinic has well-organised data storage systems to ensure your pet’s health records can be easily accessed and updated.
  • Safety: Any medication dispensed is clearly labelled and appropriately packaged, so you know exactly how and when to medicate your pet.

And because BESTPRACTICE is currently a voluntary programme, you know when you choose an accredited clinic or hospital that your veterinarian stands by their excellence because they volunteer to be audited every two years.

Read more about BEST PRACTICE here:

Cat Friendly Silver Standard Award

Our clinic has been awarded Silver Standard, Cat Friendly Clinic with International Cat Care

What is a Cat Friendly Clinic?


An accredited Cat Friendly Clinic has reached a higher standard of cat care in that the staff:

  • Understand the needs of cats and have made visits to the vet clinic more cat friendly
  • Understand how to approach and handle cats gently and with care
  • Have good knowledge and equipment to manage the care of cats

Achieving Cat Friendly Clinic accreditation involves all staff, from receptionists, nurses and technicians, through to vets. Each accredited clinic also has at least one ‘Cat Advocate’ – someone who ensures the cat friendly standards are adhered to, and who would be happy to talk to you. Our clinic Cat Advocate is Keiko.

What does it mean for my cat and me?

A Cat Friendly Clinic gives you peace of mind and reassurance, letting you know that:

  • The clinic has achieved certain minimum accreditation standards
  • The clinic and clinic staff have thought about the specific needs of cats
  • The staff will be happy to talk with you, show you what they do, and show you around the clinic
  • The staff will explain your cat’s treatment and recovery clearly and sensitively so that you have a full understand of what is going on

What are the different levels of Cat Friendly Clinic accreditation?

Cat Friendly Clinic (CFC) accreditation is at three levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold. These recognise that vet clinics vary widely in their size, location, structure, staffing and equipment. At the Vets have a silver level.

Staff at every accredited clinic have promised to handle and treat cats with understanding, gentleness and respect, and to make every effort to make the visit to the clinic as stress-free for you and your cat as possible. Staff are required to maintain and update their knowledge on clinical matters and continuing professional development (CPD) is a Cat Friendly Clinic criteria.

This standard is only awarded to clinics that have met the highest standards of feline care. So far we are the only clinic listed in Christchurch, and very proud to have met their toughest criteria. We have worked hard to create a minimal stress environment for your cat when it visits us, with emphasis on training staff with gentle handling techniques and ensuring housing is perfect.

We understand that there are unique difficulties in bringing a cat to a veterinary clinic:

  • Cats often do not travel well and feel unsafe away from their home
  • They are highly sensitive to new sights, sounds and smells
  • Most cats prefer quiet and solitude and are highly susceptible to stress
  • Most cats are highly stressed by nearby dogs in the clinic
  • Cats need to be handled gently and with respect in the clinic

What does it take to be a Silver Standard Cat Friendly Clinic?

Click here to read about the requirements for Silver Standard

Rabbit Friendly Award

Rabbit Friendly: What is a Rabbit Friendly Clinic?:


Firstly, any practice must be an RWA&F (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund) member to be eligible to join the directory. Once a member, vets can apply to feature. Specialist Adviser Dr Richard Saunders reviews the answers to some comprehensive, in-depth questions about practice protocols, layout and facilities. This is to make sure the practice and the vets applying meet the standard we’re looking for. We don’t appoint vets on word of mouth or recommendations. It’s based on expertise. They’re then awarded Silver, Silver Plus or Gold status depending on their knowledge, experience and practice facilities: not so much what equipment they have, but how they have strived to make their practice rabbit-friendly. At the Vets have been awarded Silver Status.


The application is comprehensive and includes photographs of waiting and kennel areas. A vet practice needs to be a member to apply to be assessed, and although we work with practices to help them reach rabbit-friendly standards, not everyone that applies goes on to be listed on the rabbit-friendly directory.

Silver – Practices have met all standards for waiting rooms, kennels, staff, facilities and equipment, and then clinical procedures like pain relief and anaesthesia.

RWA&F practice membership offers the vet teams lots of fantastic benefits. Besides advice from our Specialist Adviser, Richard, there are quarterly updates on the latest medical developments. Plus, we offer high-quality training webinars and our annual conference for the practice clinical team to educate and share our exceptional expertise.

All our vets are very knowledgeable in rabbit care, however our vet Helen is exceptionally skilled here & we recommend booking in to see her.

You can find out more at www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk

Fear Free Certification

Fear Free: What is Fear Free?


Founded upon the mission of preventing and alleviating fear, anxiety, and stress in pets, Fear Free® provides online education to veterinary professionals, pet professionals, animal welfare communities, and pet owners. The programs equip professionals and pet lovers with the knowledge and tools to look after both a pet’s physical and emotional wellbeing. We know we must feed the pet’s mind as well as the body, so we make sure that in-home enrichment and fear free training are font and centre with our team and with owners at home.

Veterinary and pet professionals who complete the rigorous certification programs, earn the designation of Fear Free Certified® Professional, and Fear Free Certified Professionals are a cut above the rest when it comes to caring for your best friend. Fear Free Certified Practices take Fear Free implementation to the next level—from an individual to a joint effort that requires the entire practice team to work together to safeguard the emotional wellbeing of their patients, clients, and team members.

Whether you are looking for a vet, trainer, or groomer who knows how to handle a fearful, anxious, or stressed-out pet, or you simply want the best care possible for your four-legged friend, a Fear Free Certified Professional or Practice is here to help.

Read more about Fear Free here

Emergency Out of Hours Clinic

At the Vets is a member of the Christchurch After Hours Veterinary Clinic.
You are welcome to use the After Hours clinic if there is an emergency with your pet at any time that At the Vets is closed. After Hours will forward us your pet’s treatment history so we can continue their care.

The After Hours Veterinary Clinic telephone number is

03 366 1052

The After Hours clinic is located at 146 Antigua Street, Christchurch.
(on the Disraeli Street corner)

Our opening times

Monday to Friday 8.00am – 7.00pm
Saturday 9.00am – 3.00pm
Sundays and Public Holidays Closed