When you walk into Liberty Veterinary Hospital, you may notice our proudly displayed red and white logo depicting our AAHA-accreditation. That small logo represents a huge achievement that required countless hours of hard work, dedication, and striving by our team, to offer nothing but the best care to our beloved patients. As an AAHA-accredited hospital since 2000, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of veterinary medicine, to ensure your pet receives the most innovative, high quality, medical, surgical, and nursing care.

But, who is AAHA? And, aren’t all veterinary practices accredited? Let’s take a closer look at the importance of AAHA, and the accreditation process, and what it means for your cherished companion.

What it means to be an AAHA-accredited veterinary practice

AAHA stands for the American Animal Hospital Association, which is the only organization that offers accreditation to veterinary practices. If a veterinary practice chooses not to undergo the accreditation process, they can still follow AAHA’s guidelines, developed to help veterinary hospitals create evidence-based protocols, and provide high quality care to their patients and clients. However, our entire team was on-board with taking our practice to the next level, and achieving the lofty accreditation goal. That small red and white logo means you can rest assured that every aspect of your pet’s care is the best possible. 

Unlike human hospitals, veterinary hospitals do not need to be accredited, and can practice medicine based on their own care standards. But, AAHA-accredited practices hold themselves to a standard of excellence that requires an incredible amount of effort and dedication. In fact, only 12% to 15% of all U.S. and Canadian veterinary practices have achieved accreditation. And, once accreditation has been granted, practices must continue to work hard, and undergo innovative updates and continuing education to remain among the elite. Reevaluations are performed every three years, to ensure an accredited practice continues to adhere to AAHA’s standards. 

AAHA’s standards of care

Now that you know about AAHA, and their important role in the veterinary community, you may be wondering about the standards we keep mentioning. To achieve accreditation, a veterinary practice is evaluated on more than 900 standards of excellence—940, to be exact. Fifty of these standards must be met, along with a number of others from various categories, to gain the required number of points to achieve accreditation. Standards of excellent care are derived from 18 categories that cover all aspects of veterinary practice, and include:

  • Anesthesia
  • Contagious disease
  • Dentistry 
  • Emergency and critical care
  • Pain management
  • Patient care 
  • Surgery
  • Client services
  • Continuing education 
  • Human resources
  • Leadership
  • Referral standards 
  • Safety
  • Medical records
  • Examination facilities 
  • Housekeeping and maintenance
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Laboratory and pharmacy

Because we adhere to all these standards, you can rest assured that your four-legged friend receives nothing but the best care in our hospital. 

Examples of AAHA-accredited standards in action

When your pet comes to Liberty Veterinary Hospital for medical or surgical services, you can count on the most cutting-edge equipment, protocols, and products designed to offer our patients high quality care. As an AAHA-accredited practice, we stay on top of veterinary medicine’s progress, and proudly offer the following services:

  • Laser surgery
  • Ultrasound
  • Endoscopy
  • Dental radiology
  • On-site pharmacy
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • In-house laboratory
  • Emergency and critical care
  • Personalized pain management

Here are a few examples of how these standards are in effect daily at our hospital:

  • We require a physical exam, and sometimes more advanced diagnostics such as blood work or X-rays, to assess your pet’s health before providing most services, such as vaccinations or surgeries. Older pets, allergic pets, or pets with chronic conditions require extra-special care and personalized protocols to ensure their safety and continued health during procedures. 
  • Our veterinarians stay on top of the latest in medical and surgical care, vaccination protocols, and medications through regular continuing education, and our technicians undertake twice the number of continuing education hours required by Ohio law. We believe lifelong learning is essential for providing the best level of care to our patients.
  • If your pet needs a surgical procedure, such as a dental cleaning with extractions, or a routine spay, we perform a thorough physical exam prior to anesthesia. We also assess their health status by performing blood work, and possibly more diagnostic tests, to ensure their safety. Once we have all the results, we create a customized anesthetic protocol, keeping your pet’s specific health conditions in mind. During the entire procedure, from the time we induce your pet, to the time they are fully recovered from anesthesia, we monitor their vital signs with the most advanced equipment, and check frequently for signs of pain or discomfort. With AAHA’s standards, we understand how critically important pain management is for all our patients, and strive to eliminate the slightest hint of discomfort in your pet. 

Here at Liberty Veterinary Hospital, every day is AAHA Day, but July 22 is known as AAHA-Accredited Hospital Day—a day to celebrate better care for pets and their people. What better way to celebrate the knowledge that your beloved companion receives excellent care than by scheduling an appointment? Give us a call to set up your furry pal’s appointment for gold-standard wellness care, dental cleaning, or other service.