What does it mean?
AAHA stands for the American Animal Hospital Association. AAHA is the only veterinary hospital association in America that provides accreditation to companion animal hospitals. The accreditation process for veterinary hospitals is voluntary, that means that a veterinary clinic has to want to become AAHA accredited because they want to be the gold standard for medical care for their four-legged patients.
To become accredited takes rigor and a serious investment of time and money. There are more than 900 standards that are evaluated in person every three years.
AAHA has outlined specific protocols, checklists, and guidelines that every accredited hospital must abide by. These protocols, checklists, and guidelines describe the way to practice medicine at the highest level. To become an AAHA accredited hospital, a complete practice audit is performed by the association to evaluate everything from the practice’s medical record keeping to surgery protocols to ensure that the hospital is following these AAHA guidelines and are, in fact, practicing the highest quality of medicine.
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay Animal Hospital has been AAHA accredited for five years (since June 2014). We were the first animal hospital in Florida to receive/maintain this prestigious accreditation and only 15% of animal hospitals in the United States are AAHA accredited.
AAHA accreditation ensures accredited hospitals are using the most up-to-date technology and requires that veterinarians that work at accredited hospitals stay up-to-date with the latest developments in veterinary medicine through continuing education.
AAHA is continuously updating their standards to meet the changes and updates in veterinary medicine. To stay accredited, a veterinary hospital must pass an audit every three years to show that the practice has updated their practice protocols to meet these changes as well.
Some examples of practices that AAHA accredited animal hospitals are required to use that some non-accredited animal hospitals might not have include:
- – Aggressive handling or restraint is prohibited
- – An oxygen delivery system for critical patients that cannot breathe
- – Dental X-Ray to better be able to identify and treat dental disease since 90% of dental disease is hidden below the gums
- – Designated surgical suite
- – Designated treatment area
- – Pain assessment is considered part of every patient evaluated
Why we decided that we wanted to become AHHA accredited?
We believe that pets are an important part of the family and if accreditation is required for human hospitals than it is just as important for veterinary hospitals.
We wanted to give our clients a tangible way to know that they can trust that we are practicing at the highest level of medicine and feel confident that their pets are being well taken care of at our animal hospital.
In short, WE TRULY LOVE ANIMALS and want to ensure they are well cared for regardless of level of effort, time and cost.