AAHA Standards of Accreditation

AAHA-accredited practices are at the heart of better care for pets and their people

AAHA is the only organization that accredits veterinary practices in the United States and Canada. AAHA-accredited practices are evaluated on stringent standards that encompass all aspects of veterinary medicine—from pain management and patient care to team training and medical recordkeeping. AAHA's standards are continuously updated to keep accredited practice teams at the forefront of the profession.

Today, approximately 15% of veterinary practices in the US and Canada hold the “AAHA-accredited” designation. 

AAHA standards are voluntary

Unlike the human health world, accreditation of animal hospitals is voluntary. So why have nearly 5,000 practices joined AAHA as an accredited practice, willingly striving to meet a higher standard of care?

It’s simple: they want to be the best for their patients and clients.

An AAHA accreditation is a strong indication that a veterinary practice delivers quality medicine – which positively impacts not only your clients, patients, and team, but raises the bar for the veterinary profession.

What are AAHA standards?

Practices seeking AAHA accreditation are evaluated on nearly 50 mandatory standards as well as additional applicable standards. So, what are AAHA standards? They are developed by experts in the field and cover

  • patient care,
  • your facility,
  • services, and
  • clinical protocols.

For example, all major surgeries are performed by a licensed veterinarian (MA36.1)* in a surgical suite (MA36.2) and your surgery suite must be single-purpose (i.e., not also contain your radiology equipment, for example) and enclosed. (MA38.2) 

*Mandatory (MA)

All practices must meet mandatory standards in these areas:

  • Anesthesia 
  • Dentistry 
  • Emergency & critical care 
  • Human resources 
  • Laboratory 
  • Medical Records 
  • Pain Management 
  • Patient care 
  • Pharmacy 
  • Surgery 

Members may log in to view the list of AAHA standards.

Traditional Standards     Referral Standards

End-of-Life Care Standards


What do the AAHA Standards of Accreditation mean?

When 2019 AAHA-accredited Referral Practice of the Year Winner Pet Specialists of Monterey first opened, they had no guidelines for standards of care. So they decided to pursue AAHA accreditation.

Learn more