Monday, August 20, 2018

AAHA (the American Animal Hospital Association) - The League of Champions (Guest Post)

FROM CAT CHAT WITH CAREN AND CODY: In honor of National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day  (which is Wednesday, August 22nd),  Cody and I are pleased to present  to you a wonderful guest post about the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association). I am proud that the Veterinary practice I have been going to for approximately 16 years is AAHA accredited. From the DePorre Veterinary website: 

"DePorre Veterinary Hospital is AAHA Accredited!"
We've chosen to voluntarily go through the process of becoming accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association because we understand your pet holds a valued place in your heart.  Only 15% of animal hospitals in the United States and Canada are AAHA accredited, and we're one of them! 
We have been accredited since 2013."

"AAHA Accreditation is a Very Big Deal"

Cody and I received no compensation for this post. We love sharing information that is of interest to our readers.  Becoming AAHA accredited is not an easy process.  Finding an AAHA accredited Veterinary practice should be of the utmost importance for anyone with pets.   it is our pleasure to share this guest post with you.

Courtesy of Consumers

AAHA (the American Animal Hospital Association)
The League of Champions

In 1933, the United States was reeling. It was the fourth year of the Great Depression. Unemployment stood at 25%. A new and untested president had recently moved into the White House. It was a turbulent and uncertain time.

But amazingly, during America's darkest hours, seven leaders of the veterinary profession came together to form one of the country's greatest organizations: the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). It was and remains the only institution that accredits companion veterinary hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. It was built on the premise that pets deserve nothing less than the very best veterinary care.

 Fast-forward to 2018. In 85 years, the country has changed in ways that were unimaginable in 1933. But AAHA has endured. Thrived. And today it is the most esteemed veterinary association in the country.

Dr. Heather Loenser-Courtesy of Consumers original article

 As Dr. Heather Loenser, AAHA’s Senior Veterinary Officer, put it recently, “Veterinary medicine is always evolving and improving. And AAHA has to remain flexible, ready to challenge previous protocols and upgrade them to the latest recommendations."

 It is that flexibility that has maintained AAHA as the standard of veterinary excellence in a rapidly-changing world.

AAHA Accreditation is a Very Big Deal
Being accredited is about operating at a higher level. And when it comes to health, that's the only level to play on. The process of accreditation is challenging and rigorous. It is also voluntary and not guaranteed. When a veterinary facility steps up to become accredited, it means they are making a proclamation they are committed to excellence.

Since 1933, AAHA has charted a course to accreditation for approximately 3,700 practices. Currently, only 12 to 15 percent of animal hospitals are accredited. AAHA invites all veterinarians to take the accreditation challenge and go at their own pace. This allows prospective practices to know exactly what lies in front of them. 

Dr. Mike Cavanaugh, the CEO of AAHA, believes that accreditation “means they care enough to be their very best on behalf of their patients, their clients and their staff. I often hear about the wonderful outcome of a hospital team working together to achieve accreditation and the bonding and team-building that results when they successfully achieve their shared goal of accreditation.”

At its core, accreditation has two functions. First, it recognizes and objectively certifies great veterinary practices. This is valuable to pet parents as they search for the best possible care for their nonhuman family members. Second, it helps good veterinary hospitals become great ones by coaching their personnel and helping practices live up to their potential. Many practices are poised to take the step from good to great, but need the counsel and guidance that AAHA provides to fully realize their latent qualities.

The Path to Accreditation
Accreditation involves being measured against over 900 standards of veterinary care across 18 categories. Fifty are mandatory, and then a certain number of additional points must be accumulated across these 18 categories.

Courtesy of Consumers from original article

Being accredited by AAHA doesn’t mean that a veterinary practice is accredited for all time. Instead, accreditation is a continuing process. Accredited practices are re-evaluated every three years. That way, AAHA can continuously guide animal hospitals through the changes in veterinary practice and technology to ensure they can deliver state-of-the-art services.

The current president of AAHA, Dr. Mark McConnell agrees and notes that there are other benefits to accreditation as well. “Some choose to become AAHA-accredited because they want the structure and assistance in running a practice. Others want the best for their patients and AAHA provides resources for the practice team to deliver the best medicine. Some want a recruitment tool to attract skilled and dedicated employees who want to practice with high standards.”

Courtesy of Consumers

The Future of AAHA
Dr. Cavanaugh believes that in the coming years, AAHA will continue to focus on its core function: accreditation. The organization is looking at modernizing the processes of collecting and analyzing member-generated data. Additionally, the way AAHA runs its on-site visits is being reimagined.
AAHA also hopes to focus on developing healthy workplace cultures. Practice members experience all kinds of emotions in the course of serving patients with all kinds of ailments. While all practitioners feel depressed at times, coming into a positive work environment makes a big difference.

That kind of forward thinking has characterized AAHA since its inception. Though its goal has remained constant for 85 years, the ways of achieving excellence are constantly changing.

Author Bio: Scott Smith is the lead pet editor for Scott's Facebook page, Everybody Loves Sammy continues to influence over 149K animal lovers and provide resources for pet adoptions and animal rights activism. Additionally, Scott created the Dr. Harp Seal Community, the "I'm a Pig Man" advocacy message, and the "Drive With Compassion" movement in Puerto Rico. Most notably Scott wrote and recorded "Where is the Geneva Convention for Animals?" which can be heard on SoundCloud by Dr. Harp Seal.


  1. Our vet clinic was AAHA accredited for a while, but then they dropped it. My human was disappointed.

  2. Actually, scratch that - they are AAHA accredited again! My human did notice a difference during the last few visits - they seemed a little more on point, if you know what I mean.

  3. That was a great post. We use an AAHA accredited place are too. Once you go to one you notice the difference immediately, the quality of care is amazing.

  4. Being accredited is the right way to do business.

    I linked this post to Awww Mondays.

    Have a purrfect day and week, Cody. My best to your mom. ♥♥♥

    1. thanks sooo much Sandee! You are a sweetheart! Was out of town all weekend so I am super behind (as usual!) xoxo

  5. I didn't know, but I do now! Thanks for this post!

  6. We have to check next time we visit if our vet is accredited.

    Emma and Buster

  7. The veterinary clinic the kitties and pup Astrid visit is AAHA accredited as well, and we are beyond happy with them. Our vet is also a member of the AVMA and AAFP, which also makes us very happy. Isn't it wonderful to have a vet with which you are happy and can trust? Purrs!

  8. I've been to some AAHA accredited practices that I would not return to. I think a lot depends on the individual vet (are they proactive, wait and see, arrogant jerks) and the "style" of business (trying to get every dollar out of you versus being sensitive to client's financial limits). It's great that owners can look for an accredited facility, but I would not rule one out if they're not.

  9. I admit I wasn't familiar with accreditation until recently and was happy to discover that our vet is accredited.

  10. Great information. Mickey Mouser and Rufus the Red go to an accredited cat-only vet practice. It's important to me that we are never rushed, have plenty of time to ask questions, and they admire the amazing and beautiful Mickey and Rufus!

  11. Merci for the article and all the good news about our vets,

  12. Excellent article/information and blog you gave us. I can always come here for the things we all need to know or be aware of. XXX

  13. Great post I just checked and mine is accredited.

  14. Very interesting. I'm not sure whether we have anything similar or not in the UK. I live in a small village and we are extremely lucky to have our own excellent veterinary practice.

  15. We dont have something like AAHA in France.
    I hope that their are against declawing.
    Douce soirée

  16. Great information! Our vet is a home vet but the hospital we go to for emergencies is on the list thank Cod.

  17. In all honesty, I'd put a lot of stock in AAHA's accreditation if they had standards for declawing instead of a "position statement" with no teeth. That they don't hold vets accountable for declawing shows me they lean toward what's better for the vets and not the pets. But we've had it out with AAHA over this before ( - so maybe I'm being unfair.

  18. Our vet is AAHA accredited, and we are so happy with them!