You are already well aware of the high quality of care that your furry best friend receives when walking through our doors. You may have also noticed that we proudly display AAHA’s seal of approval throughout our hospital. But, what is AAHA and why should you care?
What does it mean to be AAHA-accredited?
AAHA is the American Animal Hospital Association, the only organization that accredits veterinary practices in the United States and Canada. To achieve AAHA accreditation, a veterinary hospital is evaluated on more than 900 quality standards that encompass every aspect of veterinary medicine. Practices are evaluated on standards in 18 categories covering:
- Pain management
- Dental care
- Fluid therapy
- Continuing education
- Pharmaceutical options
- Diagnostic equipment
- Infection control
AAHA allows every veterinary hospital to pursue accreditation by focusing less on state-of-the-art facilities and more on patient care, client service, and communication. But, fewer than 15% of all veterinary practices in the United States and Canada have achieved accreditation.
What does choosing an AAHA-accredited hospital mean for your pet?
While accreditation is required for human hospitals to ensure they operate at the highest standard of care, the same is not true for veterinary hospitals. Since AAHA began in 1933, the association’s main goal has been to help veterinary professionals like us provide exceptional care for your beloved companions. As an AAHA-accredited hospital, following AAHA’s guidelines and best practices, we adhere to strict benchmarks to ensure your pet receives the highest standards of care, including:
- Recommendations tailored to your pet’s needs — We follow AAHA’s guidelines for patient care, including choosing vaccinations, baseline blood work, and routine testing based on your pet’s lifestyle, age, breed, and health status. Instead of every pet receiving the same cookie-cutter care, we look at each pet as an individual, providing each one the best preventives and treatments available.
- Continuing education requirements for the veterinary team — A certain number of continuing education hours must be completed for AAHA accreditation to ensure our veterinary team remains at the forefront of the latest medical trends. AAHA-accredited team members must stay up-to-date on the most recent techniques, practices, and research, which allows us to provide cutting-edge treatment for your pet.
- Prevention of infection and disease — Following AAHA standards enables us to keep infection to a minimum before your pet walks through the door. During a phone call detailing your pet’s illness, we will determine if she’s a high-risk patient capable of transmitting disease to other pets. We will escort a high-risk patient directly to an isolation or exam room to minimize the spread of potential pathogens. If a contagious pet enters our facility, we take every hygienic precaution to limit disease transmission.
- Accurate record-keeping protocols — AAHA requires thorough, complete medical records, which allow us to better understand your pet’s medical history and the impact of her past health issues on her current health.
- Pain-management protocols — Identifying signs of pain in pets can be challenging, so AAHA created guidelines to help diagnose and treat pain. The critical first step is to recognize pain, which is accomplished through behavior observation. Once we identify the cause of pain, we develop multimodal protocols to target multiple pain pathways to ensure maximum comfort for your pet.
- Dental health care — By 3 years of age, most pets have some stage of periodontal disease, which is not only painful, but also can cause infection, inflammation, and harm to other body systems. AAHA promotes the wellbeing of all pets with preventive oral care, and we follow their guidelines for oral health assessments, dental cleanings, and periodontal therapies.
- Pharmacy requirements — AAHA requires that hospitals have an onsite pharmacy, allowing treatment to begin immediately.
- Surgical-suite standards — To be an AAHA-accredited hospital, a facility must have a dedicated surgical suite. An enclosed room designed solely for sterile procedures is part of infection management, reducing surgical infection risk, and preventing contamination.
Achieving AAHA accreditation—the highest certification of excellence—is no easy feat. Our hospital complied with more than 900 standards of care that AAHA laid out. Few veterinary hospitals reach these lofty goals, and we are proud of our team’s accomplishment. We are also proud that we are one of only two privately owned practices in Boca Raton that can claim this accomplishment.
As an AAHA-accredited hospital, we are “Champions for Excellent Care.” See the difference in how we care for your pet—call to schedule your appointment.
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