Dear Mom and Dad,

In recognition of AAHA-Accredited Hospital Day on July 22, I wanted to take some time out of my busy day lounging on my favorite window perch to explain what AAHA is, and why you should be proud that Palisades Veterinary Hospital is an AAHA-accredited facility. By bringing me there for my veterinary needs, I receive the highest standard of care and attention. My veterinarians and nurses go the extra mile to ensure that I am safe and well-cared for, and that you, my pet parents, have an exceptional experience each time you visit. Their dedication to excellence is due, in part, to their commitment to AAHA, and the accreditation process. What does all of that mean, you ask?  

The American Animal Hospital Association, or AAHA, is a non-profit organization well-known for their contributions to veterinary excellence. The association was founded in 1933 by a handful of veterinary professionals dedicated to advancing the standards of small animal medicine and practice, beyond the minimal state regulations. AAHA gained quite a following in the 1960s and 1970s, eventually becoming a renowned and respected organization among veterinarians, technicians, and the public. AAHA’s input in elevating patient care is evident in their well-known accreditation process, but the association makes countless other contributions to the veterinary community. From treatment guidelines, to position statements on animal welfare, to a periodic, peer-reviewed scientific journal, veterinary professionals all over the continent rely on AAHA to provide guidance on excellent veterinary medicine and practice management. 

Perhaps AAHA’s most notable feature is its classification as the only accrediting organization for veterinary practices in the U.S. and Canada. Merriam-Webster tells me that to accredit means “to give official acceptance of as satisfactory,” but AAHA’s definition of satisfactory goes far beyond what you would expect. Their accreditation process is renowned for being rigorous and time-consuming, requiring practices to adhere to hundreds of standards of excellence. And, did you know that this process is totally voluntary? Unlike human hospitals, veterinary practices are not required to undergo accreditation. Of course, all clinics must pass state and federal regulations and routine evaluations, but AAHA’s requirements go above and beyond that, elevating patient care and the pet parent experience. Maybe that’s why only 12% to 15% of North American veterinary practices choose to pursue accreditation. I’m sure glad you decided to choose an AAHA-accredited hospital for me.  

To give you an idea of what AAHA strives for, consider that their practices must adhere to standards of care in a slew of different diagnostic and treatment categories, such as:

  • Anesthesia
  • Pain management
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Laboratory
  • Surgery
  • Infectious disease
  • Dentistry

And, it doesn’t stop there. AAHA provides guidance on medical record-keeping, hospital safety, leadership, team morale, and client services, culminating in a well-rounded and pleasant experience for all involved. Don’t worry—this isn’t a one-time process. Rather, Palisades Veterinary Hospital must undergo, and successfully pass, stringent on-site evaluations every three years to maintain their accreditation status. Thus, my veterinarian and veterinary team evolve with AAHA, and the advancements in veterinary medicine, ensuring my care is up-to-date, and never compromised. 

If you are still not convinced that AAHA-accreditation means great things, consider these statistics from the 2014 Trone Brand Energy Study, where 800 U.S. dog and cat owners were interviewed regarding their knowledge and stance on AAHA-accreditation. The results were noteworthy:

  • “35% of pet owners recognize the AAHA logo.”
  • “58% of pet owners believe their veterinary hospital is AAHA-accredited.” 
  • “81% of pet owners would choose an AAHA-accredited hospital over a non-accredited hospital.”
  • “51% of pet owners would drive further for an AAHA-accredited hospital.”

When it comes to veterinary excellence, AAHA is a leader. Their focus on improving patient care, bettering the client experience, and educating veterinary professionals are bar-none, and I am so proud to be a furry patient of one of their dedicated members. Thank you for always taking me to Palisades Veterinary Hospital.

Yours truly,

Purrrcy the Persian cat

We know Purrrcy has convinced you about AAHA accreditation, and how it assures your pet the best possible care, but if you need further information regarding AAHA and the accreditation process, contact Palisades Veterinary Hospital, or visit the AAHA website.