The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is the only organization providing accreditation to companion animal practices in the United States and Canada. Unlike human hospitals, animal hospitals do not need accreditation or to be held to strict professional standards to be in business, although most veterinary hospitals engage in best-medicine practices because of their code of ethics. Still, many do not take the extra step and dedication to become an AAHA-accredited practice.
Most pet owners do not understand the benefits of choosing an AAHA-accredited hospital for their pet’s care. In fact, nearly 60% of pet owners believe their veterinary hospital is accredited, when only 12% to 15% of veterinary hospitals in the U.S. and Canada are accredited. And, Lebanon Animal Hospital is the only veterinary hospital in Lebanon that has gone above and beyond to achieve this distinction.
How hospitals receive AAHA accreditation
Accreditation simply means that the veterinary hospital holds itself to higher standards. When you bring your pet to our team at Lebanon Animal Hospital, you can rest assured knowing your beloved companion is receiving the best care and we’re operating at the highest standards of veterinary medicine excellence. To be awarded our AAHA-accreditation status, AAHA consultants first evaluated our hospital on approximately 900 standards of veterinary care, and the organization now re-evaluates us every three years to ensure we continue to strictly adhere to those 900 standards and can maintain our title. AAHA accreditation is an ongoing process that requires dedication and a desire to provide the utmost in pet care. You treat your pet like family, and we believe we should provide the best possible care for such important companions.
What AAHA accreditation means for your pet
AAHA standards address every aspect of animal care and veterinary medicine, including patient care, pain management, surgery, pharmacy, laboratory, exam facilities, medical records, cleanliness, emergency services, dental care, diagnostic imaging, anesthesiology, and continuing education. But, what exactly does this mean for your pet’s health? Here are a few examples of how AAHA standards require top-of-the-line pet care.
- AAHA standards prevent the spread of disease — Trained veterinary staff can often identify contagious pets even before they enter the hospital. Certain precautions are taken if a puppy infected with parvovirus, or a cat suffering from an upper respiratory infection, is on her way. Pets with highly infectious diseases are handled appropriately to limit the spread of infection to healthy pets and our patients. We follow strict protocols to sterilize any equipment a sick pet comes in contact with, and we hospitalize pets with contagious illnesses in a special isolation room.
- AAHA standards require anesthesia-monitoring equipment — Anesthetic procedures are scary for pet owners, and we understand that concern. A dedicated team member monitors every pet undergoing anesthesia, checking vital signs, including heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen level, blood pressure, heart rhythm, and temperature, ensuring anesthesia is going smoothly and keeping the team informed of any changes in the patient’s condition.
- AAHA standards ensure your pet receives quality surgical care — Surgical protocols for AAHA-accredited practices include the following:
- Presurgical assessments, such as a complete physical exam and blood work, to verify your pet’s health before undergoing anesthesia
- Dedicated surgical suites to prevent contamination and post-surgical infection
- Sterile surgical attire
- Sterile packs and equipment
- AAHA standards require preparation for emergencies — During an emergency, every second counts. AAHA requires accredited hospitals to have emergency equipment and drugs readily available, in a portable container. Team members are assigned specific tasks so they all know their role and to avoid any confusion.
- AAHA standards strive to keep your pet safe during dental procedures — Dental care is a vital component of pet care necessary for the best quality of life, yet it is often overlooked. Dental disease can lead to painful tooth infections and bone loss, and may also attack the heart, lungs, and kidneys with harmful bacteria. At least 60% of the tooth structure is below the gumline, making it difficult to determine disease severity.
To fully evaluate your pet’s oral health, general anesthesia is necessary, and providing oxygen and gas anesthetic through an endotracheal breathing tube is standard for AAHA-accredited practices. General anesthesia provides your pet with the highest level of dental care by eliminating pain, keeping her immobile, and protecting her airway from aspiration of fluid and dental debris. While she is under anesthesia, we also take dental X-rays, probe for pockets of infection, scale and polish every tooth, and extract diseased teeth.
AAHA-accredited hospitals constantly update their practices to stay at the forefront of advanced care, and are considered the finest in the veterinary medicine field. Why would you accept anything less for your pet? See for yourself how Lebanon Animal Hospital provides only the highest quality of care for your beloved companion by scheduling an appointment.
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