At the forefront of local animal care for 80 years
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How We Started

Drawing on 80 years of experience & expertise

Today’s Practice was founded when it was bought by a young vet, Ronald Wood MRCVS, in 1943. The original premises were in Caxton Lodge on North Street in Ripon. Ronald was later joined by Philip Blackburn in 1950 and then by Neil Spedding in 1966. Neil Spedding was instrumental in starting the companion animal aspect of the surgery in what was at that time a very traditional farming veterinary Practice.

The Practice has always been at the forefront of veterinary thinking and introduced a number of schemes to manage problems within the farming sector such as Mastitis Control, a forerunner to today’s Herd Health Schemes. At this time Philip Blackburn became involved with the first minimal disease pig units in the area and over time, built his expertise to become one of the leading pig specialists in the country.

The Practice moved to Princess Road in Ripon in 1970 which at the time was thought to be big enough for any expansion in the future and a few years later the partnership grew from 3 to 5 partners. It was at this time that one of the first pilot herd fertility schemes in the country for dairy farmers offering routine monthly visits was set up.

Becoming Bishopton Veterinary Group

Routine farm, equine and companion animal consultations were carried out by all vets and within 20 years the work had grown to such a scale that more space was needed. The present bespoke surgery was designed and built at Mill Farm near Bishopton in Ripon. The Practice relocated to Mill Farm in 1993 and reformed as Bishopton Veterinary Group.  In 2006 Bishopton joined the XLVets network of independently-owned progressive veterinary practices which work together to achieve the highest standards of veterinary care.

In 2020 our sister companies Bishopton Equine Veterinary Services and RAFT Solutions Ltd relocated from Mill Farm to a new development at Sunley Raynes. The move has created more space at Mill Farm and will allow us to further develop the small animal hospital, enabling us to expand our small animal services and improve our facilities for clients and their pets.

And now ...

In 2023 we kickstarted our 80th anniversary year with a brand new, purpose-built small animal surgery in Thirsk. As a nod to our early beginnings the new Thirsk surgery has been named Caxton Lodge after our original premises in Ripon. The Thirsk surgery is fully equipped with separate cat and dog waiting rooms, consult rooms and wards, a dedicated operating theatre, ultrasound, x-ray and dental suite plus an in-house lab.

We are now a 34-vet practice, with six branches across North Yorkshire and operate a service across the country in our pig and cattle breeding departments. We are looking forward to an action packed year as we celebrate our 80th anniversary!