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Zoo Receives AAHA Accreditation

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo Becomes First Zoo in United States to Earn AAHA Accreditation

March 24, 2015, LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Lions, tigers, bears, and….AAHA accreditation, oh my?

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is excited to announce Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo as the first zoo in the United States and Canada to earn AAHA accreditation. The zoo veterinary hospital earned AAHA accreditation after an extensive evaluation.  The newly constructed 7,000 square foot veterinary hospital opened in October 2014 as the first phase of the new Jacarlene Foundation Animal Care Campus inside the zoo.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is a 63-acre nonprofit zoo located in Tampa, Fla. The zoo also has the only nonprofit animal hospital in the world dedicated to caring for injured, sick, and orphaned wild manatees, and works in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to rehabilitate manatees for release back to the wild. The zoo is well-known for its conservation efforts in the Tampa Bay area, throughout the state of Florida, and around the globe.  In 2009, the zoo was named the #1 Family Friendly Zoo in the United States by Parents Magazine.

The zoo is also accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

“We’re proud to have the hospital at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo join the ranks of our accredited practices and become the first AAHA-accredited zoo in the United States and Canada,” said Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP, CEO of AAHA. “This is a big step forward for veterinary medicine – regardless of whether your patient has hooves, wings, shells, or scales, the AAHA Standards of Accreditation raise the level of care that patient receives. It’s been exciting to work with Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo throughout their accreditation evaluation, and we hope to see other non-traditional practices join them for AAHA accreditation in the future. Congratulations to Dr. Ray Ball, the zoo staff, and the city of Tampa on opening such a fine facility.”

Accreditation is a voluntary commitment practices make to their clients and patients, and AAHA is the only organization in the United States and Canada that accredits animal hospitals based on standards that meet and often exceed state regulations. The AAHA Standards of Accreditation, viewed as the standard of veterinary excellence, contain approximately 900 individual standards. These areas of focus include patient care and pain management, surgery, pharmacy, laboratory, exam facilities, medical records, cleanliness, emergency services, dental care, diagnostic imaging, anesthesiology, and continuing education.

“These animals may not be companion animals, but they deserve the same standard of care as patients at small animal practices,” said Ray Ball, DVM, lead veterinarian at the zoo. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time – we’re excited to be the first zoo hospital to be accredited by AAHA.”

To maintain accredited status, the Tampa Lowry Park Zoo veterinary hospital must continue to be evaluated regularly by AAHA.

Not all veterinary hospitals are accredited. Nearly 60% of the pet-owning public believes their veterinary hospital is accredited when it is not. In actuality, only 12-15% of animal hospitals in the United States and Canada are accredited by AAHA. AAHA-accredited veterinary hospitals hold themselves to a high standard of care and strive to deliver excellent care for animals. Pet owners can find an accredited hospital for their own pets at aaha.org.


About AAHA
AAHA is the only organization in the United States and Canada that accredits companion animal hospitals based on standards that meet or exceed state regulations. Established in 1933, the Association is well-known among veterinarians for its leadership in the profession, high standards for veterinary practices and pet health care, and most importantly, its accreditation of companion-animal practices. Visit aaha.org for more information.




Media contact

Kate Spencer

12575 W. Bayaud Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80228
303-986-2800, ext. 479
[email protected]

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Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo veterinary hospital is the first zoo hospital to earn AAHA accreditation.

AAHA CEO Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP, congratulates Ray Ball, DVM, lead veterinarian at Lowry Park Zoo, on his recent AAHA accreditation.

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