AAHA is the American Animal Hospital Associtation. It is the only organization that accredits small animal clinics/hospitals in the United States.
What is accreditation?
Being an accredited hospital means the hospital has voluntarily chose to be evaluated on over 900 different standards and has passed a minimum amount of those standards to be considered a high quality care hospital. To maintain this accreditation, hospitals must undergo a rigorous inspection every 3 years having the proof to show the inspector that the hospital is meeting those standards. Only about 15% of veterinary hospitals are accredited.
What are the standards?
Just to name a few examples:
- The standards require hospitals to provide diagnostic services (x-ray and laboratory) so that they 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 they can begin treatment immediately.
- AAHA standards also require that medical records be thorough and complete which helps them to better understand your pet’s medical history and how past health issues might be impacting their current medical status.
Why are the standards important?
Choosing an AAHA-accredited hospital assures pet owners that the hospital they select has the staff, equipment, medical procedures and facilities that AAHA believes are vital for delivering high-quality pet care.
- Contagious Diseases - being AAHA accredited means we have organized plans and protocols set up to treat contagious animals and prevent diseases from spreading to other pets. We recognize that our clients want to bring their pets into their veterinarian's office knowing they will not take home another illness. Our hospital promotes healthy pets and keeping contagious diseases from spreading is promoting that and ensures that the already healthy pets do not go home sick. We also have these plans in place to protect our employees and our clients from any zoonotic diseases (transmittable between species).
- Surgical Protocols - AAHA requires the best practice in surgical procedures, ensuring our clients that we practice the safest surgical procedures. The AAHA standards diminish the risks associated with surgical procedures making surgery on your pet very safe.Pre-surgical assessments. Prior to surgery, the veterinary team verifies the specifics of the procedure; completes a physical exam of the patient; and ensures blood tests have been completed, documented, and reviewed by the veterinarian. Among other things, these precautions help determine if your pet is at risk for complications while under general anesthesia.Dedicated surgical suites. To prevent post-surgical infections and cross-contamination, surgeries are performed in a room used only for sterile surgical procedures.Surgical attire. Staff must wear disposable caps and masks when entering the surgical suite. Anyone involved in the procedure itself must also wear sterile gowns and single-use gloves.Sterile packs and equipment. Surgical instruments are carefully cleaned, sterilized, and wrapped prior to each procedure to help prevent infections.
For additional information regarding AAHA and the standards please visit www.healthypet.com
-Excerpts and information taken from www.aahanet.org and www.healthypet.com