Choosing a family veterinarian is a big decision, one that impacts your pet’s health and wellbeing for years to come. While many good veterinary practices exist, your pet deserves better than good. They deserve the highest-quality care, and the best way to ensure your pet receives this standard of care is to choose a veterinary hospital with American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accreditation. Veterinary practices are not required to be accredited. However, our Little Animal Hospital team members are extremely proud of being an AAHA-accredited hospital, and we are committed to raising the veterinary excellence bar. Discover what AAHA accreditation means and how this certification benefits your pet. 

AAHA veterinary guidance at a glance

A nonprofit organization, AAHA was founded in 1933 by veterinary professional leaders in the world of small animal medicine. The organization focuses on promoting high-quality practice standards that raise the veterinary excellence bar and the level of health care provided to pets. AAHA provides guidelines for all aspects of small animal veterinary practice, and creates and distributes up-to-date educational materials and publications for veterinarians and pet owners. The organization provides guidelines for the following veterinary care components:

  • Vaccine protocols
  • Surgical protocols
  • Anesthesia administration
  • Pain management
  • Hospital safety
  • Medical record keeping

The AHHA veterinary practice accreditation process

AAHA accreditation is a voluntary process that veterinary practices can undertake to demonstrate their commitment to providing high-quality pet health care. The accreditation process involves a comprehensive evaluation of a hospital’s facilities, equipment, protocols, medical records, and staff qualifications. To receive AAHA accreditation, a veterinary practice must do the following:

  • Self-assessment — A practice completes a self-assessment to evaluate their current standards and identify areas of improvement.
  • Application — A practice submits an application to AAHA, documenting their current practices.
  • Evaluation — An AAHA consultant conducts an on-site evaluation of a practice’s facilities, equipment, protocols, medical records, and staff qualifications. After the on-site evaluation, the AAHA consultant reports their findings and recommends areas for improvement that the practice must address. 
  • Accreditation — If AAHA’s accreditation committee determines that the applicant complies with the organization’s rigorous standards, the practice is granted accreditation. Accredited practices must continue to meet AAHA standards and are subject to periodic evaluations to maintain their accreditation status.

AAHA accreditation’s significance to a veterinary practice 

Fewer than 15% of veterinary hospitals have earned this designation, and an AHHA accreditation means great things for you and your pet. AAHA accreditation signifies that a veterinary practice has met or exceeded stringent quality standards in all veterinary medicine components. These standards and guidelines are constantly reviewed and adjusted to meet advancements in veterinary medical care, and an AAHA-accredited practice has committed to a path of continuous improvement and innovation. AAHA accreditation means a veterinary hospital does the following:

  • Meets or exceeds more than 900 veterinary standards beyond standard state licensing requirements.
  • Undergoes an evaluation every three years to ensure they’re meeting new and existing standards.
  • Demonstrates an excellent level of pet care and client service.
  • Continues to improve in all areas, including client care and practice operation.

How AAHA accreditation benefits your pet 

Choosing an AAHA-accredited practice ensures your pet receives the highest-quality care, helping them live a long, happy, healthy life. AAHA accreditation benefits your pet in the following ways:

  • High-quality care — At an AAHA-accredited practice, you can rest easy, knowing that your pet is receiving the best possible care from knowledgeable and experienced veterinary professionals.
  • Safe environment — Your pet’s safety matters, and AAHA-accredited practices must follow strict guidelines for cleanliness, sanitation, and infection control, which helps prevent disease spread, and ensures that your pet is in a safe and healthy environment.
  • Comprehensive services — AAHA-accredited practices offer a wide range of services, so your pet receives the health care they need in one place, saving you time and money. 
  • Comfort — Veterinary visits can be stressful for pets, but AAHA-accredited practices prioritize your pet’s comfort and wellbeing, minimizing stress and anxiety during exams and procedures. This philosophy often includes amenities such as separate waiting areas for cats and dogs, soothing music, and the use of calming pheromones for pet patients.
  • Continuity of care — AAHA-accredited practices maintain detailed medical records for each patient, which ensures that your pet’s health history is always accessible and up-to-date. 

Our Little Animal Hospital team is AAHA proud, and we hold ourselves to the highest standards of pet health care. Contact our team to schedule your pet’s wellness examination and to learn more about our AAHA accreditation.