Providing the highest quality veterinary care can often be a delicate balancing act: the client/owner’s wishes, financial parameters and emotional needs have to be considered, whilst also meeting the animal’s clinical needs. But what actually defines quality care? It is a term frequently used in both the human and veterinary healthcare literature, but often has little explanation or definition attached to it. ‘Quality’ in relation to care delivered is not a static concept and will hold different meanings to different individuals within a healthcare service. John Ruskin, a Victorian writer and critic of art and society observed: ‘Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilful execution’.