The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is an international association of more than 40,000 veterinary care providers who treat companion animals. Established in 1933, AAHA is well known among veterinarians and pet owners for its standards for hospitals and pet health care. Many veterinary hospitals voluntarily participate and remain actively involved in the AAHA hospital evaluation program. Consultants regularly visit these hospitals to ensure compliance with AAHA’s standards for services and facilities.
AAHA is the only organization that accredits animal hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada. Unlike human hospitals, not all veterinary hospitals need to be accredited, and only 12-15% of US hospitals achieve that designation.
AAHA-accredited hospitals voluntarily choose to be evaluated on 900 standards. These AAHA standards represent those components of the highest quality veterinary care. The standards are periodically reviewed and updated to ensure that they remain consistent with evolving knowledge and technology.
What does AAHA accreditation mean for you and your pet? Choosing an AAHA accredited veterinary practice for your pet’s medical care assures you that the practice you have selected has the facilities, equipment, staff, and medical protocols that AAHA believes are important for the delivery of highest quality care. Here are a few examples of those standards:
- Complete diagnostic facilities. This includes the examination room, radiology services, clinical pathology services, and the equipment necessary to provide comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services.
- The facility must be fully equipped to make prompt, accurate diagnosis and treatment. An on-site library of basic textbooks and current periodicals also is required.
- Complete pharmacy facilities. The most frequently used medicines must be available at all times, controlled substances must be monitored, and clients must be adequately informed concerning treatment.
- Properly maintained environment and contagious disease protocols. Safe and sanitary conditions must be maintained throughout the hospital, from the reception room to the kennel, including the outside premises.
- Modern surgical facilities. The hospital must have an aseptic, single-use room for surgery. Proper lighting, sterile equipment and procedures, and easy access to drugs and equipment are required.
- Proper anesthetic procedures. The hospital must conduct a pre-anesthetic examination before surgery and provide a safe, painless, state-of-the-art anesthesia during surgery.
- Dental service. Oral hygiene is as important to a pet’s health as it is to a person’s health. AAHA hospitals routinely perform teeth cleaning, extractions and gum procedures.
- Continuing education and training is required for AAHA certification. Veterinarians must routinely exceed the CE requirements of their state licensing board.
- Nursing care. This is a vital part of an efficient animal hospital. Skilled veterinary technicians contribute greatly to the professional care pets receive from diagnosis through recuperation.
- Orderly and thorough medical records. These are critical for the pet’s welfare and continuity of care. There must be an individual record for each pet patient.
- Emergency service. Each AAHA hospital must provide, or have access to, 24-hour emergency service for its clients.
Farrell Animal Hospital’s voluntary commitment to the AAHA Standards and the Accreditation Program demonstrates that the practice has chosen to have itself measured by an outside organization against the most rigorous published standards in the industry.