Friday, July 22, 2016

Is Your Veterinary Hospital Accredited? #AAHADay

   Let me ask you a question. Is your veterinarian an accredited member of the American Animal Hospital Association? If your answer is “no” or “I don’t know” there's no reason to panic, you are not alone. As many as 60% of pet parents assume their veterinary clinic is accredited when it is not. Many others have no idea what an AAHA accreditation means. Up until 3 years ago, I fell into the first category. Luckily, I met the AAHA representatives at our BlogPaws™ conference in Las Vegas 2014. Allow me to share some of the information that made me return home and change veterinarians.
AAHA Accredited Hospital Day logo with dog and kitten
What is AAHA?
   The American Animal Hospital Association has been recognizing outstanding veterinary hospitals for over 80 years. These accredited hospitals hold themselves to a higher standard. This means that your pet is receiving care from a hospital that has passed the highest standards of veterinary excellence.
Pet parent with Basset and his veterinarian
Photo courtesy of University Veterinary Hospital 

Why looking for the AAHA symbol matters.
   I have been a pet parent for over 35 years and during that time visited a number of veterinary clinics. Even the ones that I considered excellent did not have AAHA accreditation. The fact is only 3,600 or 12-15% of animal hospitals in the United States and Canada are accredited. It is not required that they receive this certification. You can find out if your veterinary clinic is accredited by checking here. If they aren’t, mention it on your next visit.
   When your veterinary clinic is accredited, it means they have passed a rigorous 900-point evaluation. They are checked on:
·        Safety protocols
·        Equipment
·        Veterinary knowledge
·        Fundamentals of pet health care
Veterinarian checking Basset's hind leg
   I’ll be honest with you; I didn’t think an AAHA accredited vet would make THAT much of a difference. Boy was I wrong! It was obvious that we were in a state-of-the-art medical facility when we stepped into the exam room. The table lowered to the floor so that Bentley, my Basset Hound could step up by himself. The table slowly lifted to its proper height and displayed his weight. This was so much easier and less stressful than having to lift him onto the table or trying to make him be still on those giant floor scales. *He learned from watching me that you weigh less if you take one foot off the scale! He actually had an accurate weight check on this table. When our vet came in the room he introduced himself and greeted Bentley. We then witnessed the most thorough examination that any pet of ours has ever had. We were able to receive our medications and check out in the exam room too. That was three years ago and we still depend on University Veterinary Hospital to take the best care of Bentley and Pierre. They are currently undergoing major changes at their location and will soon have even more services available. You can find out more about them and see Bentley’s photo shoot on their website.
   Here is an infographic courtesy of AAHA that explains what goes on behind the scenes at one of their accredited hospitals.


Infographic of AAHA behind the scenes services
   Thank you and happy AAHA Accredited Hospital Day to the amazing hospitals including U.V.H. in Shreveport that are providing the very best in veterinary care. 
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68 comments :

  1. It turns out that there are no accredited vets near me, but there are some over an hour away. Well, it's good to know they're there, but for now we'll have to settle for less than the best. :/

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    1. I was surprised that there are only two in my local area.

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  2. No, ours is not and it is fine with us. We too thought it needed to be AAHA, and ours used to be. We asked what the deal was a while back and they offered us a great explanation. All the sports dogs and "big" deal dogs go to this clinic which along with their explanation puts us at ease. I think in general AAHA is a good thing, but in our search for the right clinic we tried AAHA clinics and a few of them were the worst clinics we have ever been to. We use it as a guideline, and as with everything in life, we feel there are exceptions to the rules. We are glad you are happy with your vet. If your vet is not AAHA, you do need to find out why and go from there.

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    1. The main goal is to find a veterinarian that you trust with Emma and Bailie. ♥ Mission accomplished!

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  3. Our doggie vet is accredited, but I was surprised to see our all-cat vet is not. At least it's not on their website. Surprising because the head vet is a leader in the cat care world. Perhaps I will ask them about it on our next visit.

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    1. Maybe your cat vet just hasn't taken the time to become accredited. A question from you might be all it takes! I love that they have a cats-only clinic. That must be much less stressful for them.

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  4. Have no idea if our vet is, but Jan said when they took Sam in the table came down so he didn't have to be lifted. Neat!

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    1. Don't those tables make a huge difference? It's perfect for people with large pets.

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  5. That's such a good concept! But we don't have something like this in Belgium! But I do have thé best vet in the world! She is so sweet, always makes time for her patients!

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    1. In the end if you are happy and your pets are healthy, it is a win/win situation. ☺

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  6. I actually don't know if mine is accredited. I will check - they certainly are great - but something to consider if we ever have to change it up.

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    1. I was not surprised to discover my old vet was not accredited. It was a welcome relief to find our new hospital.

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  7. I was so glad to learn that my vet is accredited! Not surprised - they're wonderful - but it makes me feel even better.

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    1. Yay!! It does make a big difference in my experience.

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  8. Is there a Canadian version? Most Vets in my area have graduated from the University of Guelph (the largest of three Vet schools in the country), so it's like already being in an association.

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    1. It is a U.S. and Canadian association so I am sure they are also celebrating #AAHADay today. ☺

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  9. Ours didn't make the list but we are very familiar with those (nearby) that did. We are OK with those results. Me and Stanley love Dr. Eddy.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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    1. I'm sure that Dr. Eddy is a huge fan of Murphy and Stanley as well. ♥

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  10. I have no idea if my vet is accredited. I suspect not, but I love them, so I'm OK with that.

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  11. AAHA accreditation sounds like a good quality indicator. Purrs

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    1. The difference was obvious at my AAHA veterinary hospital. Have a great weekend. ☺

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  12. After your post, I convinced mum to check out my vet -- she said she was pretty sure they were accredited, but I insisted she check -- THEY ARE ACCREDITED and they are within walking distance. They are a little more pricey that some other bets, but the walking distance is important.

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    1. Yay! I am glad to know that your vet is accredited AND that you get to walk to their office. Ours is a little more expensive than our last vet but worth it. ☺

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  13. We did the check thing and there is only one accredited vet in our town. We have gone to the same vet for 30 years and mom trusts them and they know and trust us too
    hugs
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

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    1. Thirty years is a good indicator that you have found a great vet! That is awesome.

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  14. I am not sure if mine is, but I absolutely love my vet. We also have a large hospital that services our community and they have board certified specialists. We are very blessed to have this available ❤

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    1. That is very nice to have access to such expertise when its needed.

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  15. Our vet is not AAHA accredited. The mom has thought about switching to one that is...there's one that's maybe about 10 mins further than our current vet who is only about 10 mins away. But we've been going to our vet for many many years and find it hard to switch.

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    1. I understand completely. We had been with our vet for many years too. I went the first time to the AAHA vet to see if there was a difference. There was. ☺

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  16. Our vet isn't AAHA accredited, but we're not concerned. Our vet is the BEST in NYC and Mommy wouldn't trust anyone else with us. Dr. Plotnick and his staff are wonderful.

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    1. A trusted vet is priceless and when the staff is great too, it is a winning combination.

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  17. It sounds like your vet is really great! I've often wondered about getting a large dog onto an examination table, they used to lift our Bullmastiff which was no easy task. Thankfully she loved people and all the attention. I am not sure if I'll find a new vet or not, but if I do I'll be looking for one who is AAHA accredited.

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    1. Thanks, we have a team of vets and they are all terrific. We have had to help lift or help lift our dogs in the past to the exam table. They were big like yours (German Shepherds & a Golden Retriever) and I agree it wasn't easy! ☺

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  18. I'm proud to say that yes, my vet is accredited, and I agree that her standard of care for Rugby is extraordinary. I love her medical approach, which is a bit conservative, and she's always taken really amazing measures to be sure that Rugby is comfortable...knowing his special emotional needs.

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    1. That is great! It makes such an impact to see someone handle your best friend with loving care. ☺

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  19. Our current vet is not. It's definitely a factor in choosing vets for me and I did look at the locator when I was vet hunting but I didn't like the ones that were accredited near us (there's a further one that is supposed to be good that is accredited).

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    1. It might be a good idea to use that one for any second opinions that you need. ☺

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  20. Fortunately, my current vet is accredited. We did have a vet in the distant past who was not and had a few issues. I think it is important and would definitely double check to make sure their vets are accredited.

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    1. It is surprising how few veterinary offices take the time and care to become accredited. It makes me happy to know that mine is a member of the AAHA community.

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  21. Just looking for a new vet for Kilo the Pug so will definitely check for accreditation.

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    1. It is easy to find out with their locator. ☺

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  22. Replies
    1. I'm glad. Dakota and Cody deserve the BEST!

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  23. Our Clinic joined up with the SPCA at the beginning of the year and I am not sure but their service etc is amazing so am not that concerned.

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    1. That's great! Happy pet parent equals happy pet. ☺

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  24. Wow, I had NO idea! This was fascinating. Thanks for sharing the link-it was cool being able to check on all the certified vets in our area. 😎

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    1. I am so glad that you liked finding out about AAHA. I had no idea either until I spoke with the representatives at the BlogPaws conference.

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  25. Our clinic is not but we still do a lot of what AAHA recommends have a high level standard of care.

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    1. The work that your clinic does is awesome!

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  26. I, too, have noticed the difference in our AAHA-accredited hospital.

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  27. Our vet is accredited, but when we chose him, I had no idea what AAHA was. It was a happy coincidence that I later learned about AAHA and realized that our vet was actually accredited! I have been to other vets though before, and I can tell such a difference in the facilities and care received at an AAHA accredited vet vs. not accredited. I am so grateful that our vet is accredited! I sent him a little note on Friday to let him know so :)

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    1. I am sure that your note brightened their day! In my experience the difference is obvious too.

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  28. Ours is the Canadian equivalent. We moved and still drive three hours round trip for regular appointments - love our vet.

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    1. That says a lot! I am so happy that you found a terrific vet.

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  29. Totally Pawsome post! We just moved and I need to find an AAHA Vet close by. I'm so impressed by AAHA and I'm tired of the inconsistency in care by the many Veterinarians I've visited. This field really needs AAHA standards!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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    1. I agree 100%. Go to the link in the post and find all of the accredited vets in your new area. Good luck ♥

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  30. I do know of an AAHA accredited veterinary hospital in my area, but my regular vet is not accredited. It is great that AAHA is doing so much to increase standards of care for our furry loved ones!
    -Purrs from your friends at www.PlayfulKitty.net

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    1. They expect a lot out of their accredited clinics and that makes me confident when I go for a problem with one of the boys.

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  31. We're so glad you've found such a wonderful veterinary office for your boys! We're pretty committed to our local vet who we've been seeing for many years now. There is an AAHA office in our area but they don't offer their own emergency services. Our vet is always available to us and that's one thing that's very important (he sometimes doesn't even charge us extra for weekend out of hours visits!). But things always change in life so if we ever have to look for a new vet, I would definitely keep this in mind.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. The stories about your vet's office and they care they give Sheba and the gang is incredible. I can tell they really care about all of your pets. ♥

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  32. We use the clinic at our local Richmond SPCA (as a benefit of adopting from them) and you know? I'm not sure. I need to look into it. I can't imagine they're not, but I don't recall seeing the sticker anywhere. They just opened a brand new, state-of-the art, full service, low-cost hospital to serve the Richmond area's low-income population. It's only one of a few in the whole country.

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  33. What is that big ball sculpture you're in front of in the photo? We love our vet, I don't know if they are accredited, but I'm happy there. We plan to move and it's good to keep in mind for choosing our next vet. ~RascalandRocco

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  34. Really great information!! I am going to go check my vet's website right now to see if they put that they are accredited on there!

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  35. We applaud the vets who go the extra mile to become accredited. We don't have any in our rural area but there are some in the Sacramento area.

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  36. I don't have an AAHA vet near me, but we love our current vet after having switched. I love that AAHA goes above and beyond for pets and has all those amazing details

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  37. Excellent information! I'll have to check to see if mine is. I am so fortunate that my vet team is amazing, caring, very supportive in their treatment of my pets for over 20 years, including amazing care of my epileptic Husky, Gibson.

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