Rhinebeck- Vet Insights: Celebrating 40 Years of AAHA Accreditation!

By Dr. Christina Weckesser


When choosing a veterinarian for your beloved pet, not all practices are created equal.  Each hospital is comprised of a different combination of skills, values, experiences, personalities, and achievements. One of the greatest and most rigorous achievements you may not be aware of is AAHA accreditation.  You may think your veterinary hospital is accredited but in fact, only 3,700 animal hospitals in the United States and Canada are accredited.  That’s only 12-15% of animal hospitals in these countries!

AAHA stands for the American Animal Hospital Association and defines its organization as guiding the ‘Standard in Veterinary Excellence’.  AAHA likes to call their accredited hospitals “Champions of Excellent Care”.  To be an accredited hospital, you must comply with their specific guidelines, a set of professional recommendations that help veterinary teams continue to deliver quality care, from dentistry and senior care to nutrition and vaccines.  As the only organization that accredits animal hospitals, they have developed a rigorous examination and an extended on-site walkthrough to make sure the hospitals have maintained the AAHA Standards of Accreditation

AAHA’s history began in the early 1900s with a passion for making the quality of care for companion animals a priority.  Prior to World War I, veterinary medicine mainly focused on horses and livestock, and most clients were rural farmers.  After the war, there had been an increase in mechanical innovation and as a result, the horses had declined as a source of power.  In addition to this, the 1929 depression set in and farmers were unable to spend much money on veterinary care for their livestock or horses.  This drove the rural veterinarians into towns and cities where they found growing populations of pet-owning households.  Even in the worst of times, some pet owners still prioritized their pet over themselves as many of us do today.  One veterinarian said, “It was surprising to see that at a time when many families had difficulties putting food on the table, they would manage to scrape up a few dollars to treat the family pet.” 

In 1933, seven veterinary professionals founded the American Animal Hospital Association in response to the growing need for quality care for our companion animals.  The founders created a constitution and believed “that companion animal veterinary practice was important and that better facilities and methods were necessary to keep pets healthy.” This rings true still today through their Standards of Accreditation and guidelines for excellence. 

Being accredited is no easy task.  Unlike human hospitals, animal hospitals are not required to be accredited.  The hospitals are evaluated on 900 standards of veterinary excellence including anesthesia, medical management of cases, x-ray techniques, pharmacy parameters, and even continuing education of the professional staff.  It takes many hours of preparation and continued high standards as we practice every day. To maintain accredited status, hospitals undergo a vigorous, comprehensive on-site evaluation every three years.  As an AAHA accredited veterinary team at Rhinebeck Animal Hospital, we all strive for the same goals every day; to give our patients the highest quality of care and to take care of our pet parents as we would like to be taken care of, with empathy and love.  AAHA accredited hospitals are considered among the finest in the industry and are consistently at the forefront of advanced veterinary medicine. This year, Rhinebeck Animal Hospital celebrates its 40th Anniversary of AAHA accreditation.  Taking care of you and your pet with the finest of veterinary excellence is our absolute pleasure. It’s our way of showing your pet we love them too! Please help us celebrate our 40th AAHA anniversary with you during our Client Appreciation Day on Saturday, June 22, 2019


Should you have any questions, comments or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone at 845-876-6008, or by e-mail at info@rhinebeckanimalhospital.com.

Thank you for choosing us to be part of your pet’s healthcare team!

With warmest regards,
Your friends at Rhinebeck Animal Hospital

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