The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is an international association of more than 40,000 veterinary care providers who treat companion animals. Established in 1933, AAHA is well known among veterinarians and pet owners for its standards for hospitals and pet health care. Many veterinary hospitals voluntarily participate and remain actively involved in the AAHA hospital evaluation program. Consultants regularly visit these hospitals to ensure compliance with AAHA’s standards for services and facilities.
AAHA is the only organization that accredits animal hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada. Unlike human hospitals, not all veterinary hospitals need to be accredited, and only 12-15% of US hospitals are AAHA accredited. AAHA-accredited hospitals voluntarily choose to be evaluated on 900 standards. These AAHA standards represent those components of veterinary practice high-quality care. The Standards are periodically reviewed and updated to ensure that they remain consistent with evolving knowledge and technology. Here are a few examples of how AAHA’s standards impact you and your pet.
- Complete diagnostic facilities. This includes the examination room, radiology services, clinical pathology services, and the equipment necessary to provide comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services.
- The facility must be fully equipped to make prompt, accurate diagnosis and treatment. An on-site library of basic textbooks and current periodicals also is required.
- Complete pharmacy facilities. The most frequently used medicines must be available at all times, controlled substances must be monitored, and clients must be adequately informed concerning treatment.
- Properly maintained environment and contagious disease protocols. Safe and sanitary conditions must be maintained throughout the hospital, from the reception room to the kennel, including the outside premises.
- Modern surgical facilities. The hospital must have an aseptic, single-use room for surgery. Proper lighting, sterile equipment and procedures, and easy access to drugs and equipment are required.
- Proper anesthetic procedures. The hospital must conduct a pre-anesthetic examination before surgery and provide a safe, painless, state-of-the-art anesthesia during surgery.
- Dental service. Oral hygiene is as important to a pet’s health as it is to a person’s health. AAHA hospitals routinely perform teeth cleaning, extractions and gum procedures.
- Staff continuing education and training is required for AAHA certification. Veterinarians must routinely exceed the CE requirements of their state licensing board.
- Nursing care. This is a vital part of an efficient animal hospital. Skilled veterinary technicians contribute greatly to the professional care pets receive from diagnosis through recuperation.
- Orderly and thorough medical records. These are critical for the pet’s welfare and continuity of care. There must be an individual record for each pet patient.
- Emergency service. Each AAHA hospital must provide, or have access to, 24-hour emergency service for its clients.
All AAHA hospital members voluntarily meet or exceed the association’s standards for facilities, equipment, and quality procedures. They are regularly evaluated by an AAHA consultant to assure continuing compliance. In addition, every AAHA veterinarian is encouraged to keep up-to-date on major developments in veterinary medicine. The association offers its 40,000 individual members a wide variety of continuing education opportunities-self-study courses, seminars, lectures, workshops, annual and regional meetings, videotapes, computer education, and publications.
We are very proud that the Shiloh Veterinary Hospital West (Dover) became a fully AAHA accredited hospital in 1987 and the Shiloh Veterinary Hospital East (Manchester) became accredited in 2008. Our caring and experienced staff make a difference!
What Accreditation Means For You, The Pet Owner. Choosing an AAHA accredited veterinary practice for your pet’s medical care assures you that the practice you have selected has the facilities, equipment, staff, and medical protocols that AAHA believes are important for the delivery of high-quality care. Furthermore, this hospital’s voluntary commitment to the AAHA Standards and the Accreditation Program demonstrates that the practice has chosen to have itself measured by an outside organization against the most rigorous published Standards in the industry.
Fear Free Focused
Visiting us for the first time? Fill out our Fear-Free questionnaire!
Fear Free Pre-Visit Questionnaire
We Are Fear-Free Focused at Shiloh Veterinary Hospital!
We know pets can be afraid of going to the vet, just like we can be nervous about going to the doctor. But unlike when we see our doctor, pets don’t always understand that we are there to help. The fear, anxiety, and stress they feel in situations they don’t understand can be crippling and create lasting memories, even if nothing physically painful happens, that make every visit more difficult than the last. We are working hard at SVH to make this stress a thing of the past for our patients, and we’re proud to say that over 90% of our team members are Fear Free Certified!
What Changes Have Been Made?
At SVH, we work every day to make our patients’ emotional comfort a priority. We switched our uniform colors to subtle grays for our team and light blue coats for the doctors – the “white coat effect” is intensified in animals, as research has shown that the color white appears blindingly bright to them, potentially contributing to their fear, anxiety, and stress.
We have added speakers to our exam rooms and treatment area, and we play quiet, soothing instrumental music, which has been shown to help dogs and cats relax. We also use calming pheromones – Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs – in the form of plug-in diffusers, sprayed towels to cover cat carriers and exam tables, and bandanas we offer at check-in. You’ll notice we have a variety of delicious treats to offer your pets during their visits, so make sure they’re hungry for their visit and let them eat while we work – often they’ll be so excited about the snacks that they barely notice us doing our jobs!
We also listen carefully to the cues your pets are giving us. That means all of our team members are highly sensitive to animals’ body language and are trained to understand when a patient is feeling scared or anxious even if they outwardly seem quiet and calm. We don’t push our patients past their tolerance and we don’t forcibly restrain them unless absolutely necessary for safety or urgent medical needs. Check out the links below for blog posts from our team on what you can do to make your pet’s visit as Fear Free as possible!
We’re Here for Your Pets.
We love our clients and their pets, and as pet owners ourselves, we know how hard it is to see the animals we love be scared or panic when we are just trying to get them help. Being Fear Free focused also helps us do our jobs better – when our patients are relaxed, we can better fulfill our mission of providing compassionate, high-quality care for them and for you through advanced diagnostics and the most up-to-date treatment. We know your pets are cherished family members, and we love our work even more knowing we did all we could to make them feel comfortable and loved.
Looking for more information? Check out the links below for our best tips for Fear Free visits for cats and dogs, notes from our team, and how to be Fear Free at home!
- How your dog can have a fear free experience
- How your cat can have a fear free experience
- Cat calming pheromones Feliway and Adaptil
- What is fear free?
- Medication to help pets have a fear free experience
Cat Friendly Practice®
The Cat Friendly Practice® program is leading the movement to make veterinary care less stressful for cats and their caregivers.
Established by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the International Society for Feline Medicine (ISFM), the Cat Friendly Practice® program is a global initiative designed to elevate care for cats by reducing the stress for the cat, caregiver, and also the entire veterinary team.