Have you ever heard of AAHA, or seen the accreditation logo at our veterinary hospital? Many pet owners have not. AAHA stands for the American Animal Hospital Association. This designation is often misunderstood if not virtually unknown – but it’s an important one for you and your pet.

Does your pet’s hospital have an AAHA accreditation? And what exactly does it mean for you, and more importantly, for your pet? Here, Clairmont Animal Hospital explains.

What is AAHA?

The AAHA is an independent certifying body that evaluates and accredits veterinary hospitals. Unlike in human health care, this certification is voluntary for veterinary hospitals – currently only 17% of pet hospitals in the US and Canada are accredited.

With guidance from experts in veterinary medicine, AAHA has developed Standards of Accreditation to certify veterinary hospitals who request it.

  • AAHA employs independent advisors who evaluate each hospital based on 900 standards of care that represent veterinary excellence.
  • The Standards are revised as veterinary medicine advances.
  • If they choose to pursue accreditation, hospitals must not only have successfully implemented the Standards, they must also undergo comprehensive on-site evaluations every 3 years  to maintain their accreditation.

Understanding AAHA Accreditation

The hospital that chooses to pursue accreditation is dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of veterinary expertise and client care. It’s no small task to undertake establishing process, protocols, and written guidance for 900 topics. Hospitals such as ours that have maintained AAHA accreditation have demonstrated a commitment to upholding excellence in delivering veterinary care to pets.

Each of the 900 standards are in a category of care. The entire team – veterinarians, technical staff, client care, and administration – works together to implement, maintain, and uphold the process, protocol and procedures that compose every standard. The categories of care that we work to maintain as an AAHA hospital include:

  • Anesthesia
  • Behavior
  • Client care
  • Dental care
  • Emergency response
  • End of Life Care
  • Infectious disease prevention
  • Leadership
  • Nutrition
  • Surgery
  • Preventive CAre

What Does AAHA Accreditation Mean for Your Pet?

From the waiting room, to the exam room, to dentistry, to surgery and boarding, each and every experience your pet has with an AAHA accredited hospital been thoughtfully and thoroughly evaluated to make sure they are receiving the best possible medical care.

It’s no surprise that AAHA hospitals tend to attract the most talented professionals in veterinary care. From veterinarians, to veterinary technicians and assistants, to client care professionals, each and every team member is critical in supporting and upholding the Standards. Because the Standards are so rigorous, AAHA hospitals tend to be some of the best places to work in the industry – sought out by job seekers for their advanced medicine, great client care, and attentive management.   This ensures that your dog or cat has the very best caregivers in our profession looking after them.

No matter who is caring for your pet at an AAHA hospital, you can be assured that they have the knowledge, resources, and training to be a top-notch caregiver!
Ask us if you have any questions about AAHA accreditation and what it means for your and your pet. As an AAHA hospital since 1992, we are proud of our designation and eager to share our knowledge!