When you go to a human hospital, you know that standards exist to accredit the facility in which you seek health care. When you take your pets to the veterinarian, do you ever wonder what criteria exist to evaluate the quality of a veterinary practice? Did you know that accreditation of veterinary clinics, is completely voluntary and less than 20% of North American veterinary hospitals meet the strict standards set by American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)?
Not every veterinary practice is the same, and it’s easier for those of us in the field to see the medical differences, but I’d bet most of you have visited at LEAST more than one veterinary hospital and noticed some very obvious things that are different, such as cleanliness or friendliness of staff, or even their willingness to help you resolve a difficult situation when it occurs.
When I was in my final year of veterinary school I was able to experience many general practice and specialty clinics outside the University of Illinois (I even spent time in a specialty clinic in California!). During this time I was not only exposed to various animals and clientele, but I was able to witness the many ways medicine is practiced. The majority of those experiences were perfect examples of the way I hoped to one day practice. However, not every experience is perfect and I occasionally found myself wondering if there was a better way to do things.
My exposure to a handful of AAHA clinics during my schooling led me to investigate exactly what those four letters represented. During my research I learned that the AAHA was a group which had been in existence since 1933, developed in part due to the demand for better medical practices for our companion animals. AAHA is the only organization in the United States and Canada that accredits companion animal hospitals based on standards that meet or exceed state and provincial regulations. Because federal and state entities do not require animal hospitals to be accredited, this organization steps in to help veterinary teams practice better medicine by evaluating them on approximately 900 Standards of Accreditation.
So what does this mean for you the client? Veterinary medicine continues to advance at a rapid rate, and the range of treatment options is not only broader but safer than ever before. Being recognized as an AAHA accredited hospital guarantees that your veterinarian and staff are following high standards in all areas including anesthetic monitoring, reducing the risk of contagious diseases, strict surgical technique to prevent complications, and providing guidelines for appropriate pain management, vaccinations, and client service to name a few.
So, when we talk about our AAHA accreditation status, we are proud of it. We know that we work every day as champions of excellence in veterinary care, and we bring this to you and your family members in everything we do, from the moment you walk in until the moment you leave. We hope you see the differences. Hopefully you already know that the staff at SportsVet work hard to stand out and make you and your pet feel special. We like to think that the AAHA accreditation we carry at SportsVet is just one of many reasons you consider our clinic to be special as well. For those of you who never noticed those four little letters gracing our clinic door, I hope this post reinforces what you already know, that we care to give your pet(s) the absolute best.