American Animal Hospital Association Expands Care Standards to Japan

First Japanese practice earns accreditation, paving the way for others

Lakewood, Colo. (July 14, 2022) — As the importance of veterinary care best practices spreads across the globe, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is expanding its reach internationally, announcing its first accreditation outside North America in the history of the organization.

Daktari Animal Hospital in Tokyo is the first overseas practice to earn AAHA’s accreditation. The hospital, founded in 1964 and led by veterinary trailblazer Dr. Gen Kato, is known for its state-of-the-art technology, patient care and dedication to the human-animal bond. Dr. Kato has been a longtime and active member of AAHA.

The hospital, which has three facilities in Tokyo and numerous affiliate locations throughout Japan, offers a variety of services from wellness and preventative care to 24-hour emergency care to cancer treatment and more. The hospital also houses a CT Center that is available for use by other area veterinary hospitals.

As with typical AAHA accreditations, a large portion of the evaluation is performed on-site so an AAHA leadership team recently visited Daktari Animal Hospital to conduct the assessment and meet with Dr. Kato and his staff. In addition, the AAHA representatives trained Japan-based veterinary professionals to serve as AAHA agents in Japan to help support the accreditation efforts there.

“We are committed to partnering with veterinary organizations worldwide to raise the global standard of veterinary care,” says Garth Jordan, CEO of AAHA. “AAHA standards are readily adopted locally with appropriate adaptations, providing a common language and ‘North Star’ for all veterinary practices regardless of their location.”

While all AAHA accreditation is an in-depth and lengthy process, international accreditation comes with its own unique set of challenges.

“Certain things incorporated into North American standards simply aren’t feasible for practices in other countries,” explains Anthony Merkle, CVT and Regional Manager for Member Experience at AAHA, who led the process. “For example, our standards dictate a certain type of PPE (personal protection equipment) that may not be available in another country, so we needed to make adjustments for that.”

Other considerations for adapting AAHA standards may include North American government regulations that don’t mesh with other countries’ regulations or the price of certain equipment that makes aligning with a given standard cost-prohibitive.

Once a practice is accredited, AAHA provides ongoing support and recommendations for maintaining and exceeding the standard of care established. For international practices, this is especially important as they may be among the first accredited in their geographic location and can benefit from the connection to other organizations following the same standards.

For Jordan and the AAHA team, the process has been educational and eye opening. “The level of detail that goes into accreditation is amplified when it’s translated to another culture,” says Jordan. “It’s been a great reminder of how dedicated AAHA accredited members are to the standard of care they provide to their patients. We are extremely proud of the work we’re doing at AAHA to help our members simplify the journey toward excellence in their daily practice.”

For more information about AAHA and accreditation, please visit


About AAHA

Since 1933, the American Animal Hospital Association has been the only organization to accredit veterinary hospitals throughout the United States and Canada based on standards directly correlated to high-quality medicine and compassionate care. Accreditation in veterinary medicine is voluntary. The AAHA-accredited logo is the best way to know a practice has been evaluated by a third party. Look for the AAHA logo or visit