What is AAHA?

AAHASo you are probably wondering, “what is an AAHA hospital and why should I care?”

In the 1930s, a group of veterinarians created standards to help bring common guidelines, practices and procedures to the veterinary profession. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), along with a group of veterinary experts, developed the AAHA Standards of Accreditation as benchmarks of excellence. The AAHA Accreditation Program helps veterinary hospitals incorporate these standards of quality care and procedures into their day-to-day practices, ultimately raising the level of care being provided to companion animals while also increasing loyalty among veterinary staff members. Being AAHA-accredited also provides a way for veterinary hospitals to show their commitment to excellence in their communities and to their clients.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is an international association of more than 42,000 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. Approximately 3,200 veterinary hospitals voluntarily participate in the AAHA hospital evaluation program (about 15% of veterinary clinics in the US). 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. AAHA-accredited hospitals voluntarily choose to be evaluated on standards in the following areas: quality of care; diagnostic & pharmacy; management; medical records; and facility. Why does this matter to you? Here are a few examples of how AAHA’s standards impact you and your pet.

  • The standards require hospitals to provide diagnostic services (x-ray and laboratory) so that we can quickly and accurately diagnose your pet.
  • The standards focus on the quality of care in the areas of: anesthesia, contagious diseases, dentistry, pain management, patient care, surgery and emergency care.
  • Accredited hospitals have an onsite pharmacy (another standards area) so we can begin treatment immediately.
  • AAHA standards also require that medical records be thorough and complete which helps us to better understand your pet’s medical history and how past health issues might be impacting their current medical status.

The Standards developed and published by AAHA are widely accepted as representing those components of veterinary practice that represent high quality care. The Standards are periodically reviewed and updated to ensure that they remain consistent with evolving knowledge and technology.

Accreditation helps veterinary hospitals stay on the leading edge of veterinary medicine and provide the quality and range of services you and your pet deserve.

In March, we underwent our regular AAHA inspection and were evaluated on over 900 standards.  We are proud to say that we once again received our accreditation, making this the 18th year that we have been recognized as an AAHA hospital!

Veterinarian/Owner of Pismo Beach Veterinary Clinic

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