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Established in 1933 by leaders in the veterinary profession, AAHA is the only companion animal exclusive veterinary association. AAHA is best known for its accreditation of companion animal practices. To become accredited, companion animal hospitals undergo regular comprehensive evaluations by AAHA veterinary experts who evaluate the practice on approximately 900 standards of veterinary care. The Association also develops other publications and educational programs and resources designed to help companion animal hospitals thrive. The AAHA membership philosophy is team-focused, allowing every hospital staff member, from veterinarians to receptionists, to benefit from AAHA’s resources through one group membership. Today, nearly 3,500 practice teams (12-15 % of all veterinary practices in the United States and Canada) are AAHA accredited.

History of AAHA

The American Animal Hospital Association was founded by seven leaders of the veterinary profession in 1933. From its inception, AAHA focused on promoting high-quality standards for the rapidly evolving sector of small animal private practice through accreditation and other initiatives. The 1960s saw the establishment of an organization staff and normalization of many of the policies and processes AAHA adheres to today. The first paid practice consultants were hired, and AAHA grew into a more professionally managed organization.

Rapid growth in membership and member services occurred in the 1960s and early 1970s with the development of additional education programs and publications for veterinary professionals. Significant change occurred in the early- to mid-1980s, when AAHA added services in the area of veterinary practice management and relocated from Indiana to Denver, Colo.

The Association acquired its own headquarters building in 1992, employs a professional staff of 64, runs more than 20 meetings and seminars annually, and produces a wide array of publications, resources, client information, Trends magazine and more.

Since its beginning, AAHA has been committed to excellence. The founders were convinced that small animal practice was important and that it was necessary to provide better facilities and methods than were generally available. That philosophy is still alive as a guiding principle of the Association today. It has helped stimulate and maintain the growth and development not only of the Association, but of the practice of small animal medicine throughout the world.

Today AAHA is respected internationally for its dedication to professional development, hospital accreditation standards, and quality educational programs. This recognition and the strength of the organization is a tribute to the vision of its founders and to the leadership and dedication of the many veterinary professionals who have devoted time and energy to serve AAHA through the years as directors, officers, member representatives and committee members.

To learn more about AAHA and why accreditation matters, please click on the cat below.

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