UF Small Animal Hospital gains accreditation from national group

AAHA story student Heather JimenezThe University of Florida Small Animal Hospital has gained accreditation in both traditional and specialty areas from a national group following a rigorous review of the hospital’s practice protocols, medical equipment, facility and client service.

The designation, granted Aug. 4 by the American Animal Hospital Association, or AAHA, symbolizes the highest level of veterinary excellence, according to the association. Established in 1933, AAHA is the only accrediting body for small animal hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. Today, only 12 to 15 percent of all veterinary practices in the U.S. and Canada are AAHA-accredited. Only six veterinary academic hospitals hold the designation.

“We are so pleased to have reached this important milestone, which is a reflection of the high-level of veterinary expertise we offer to pet owners and to the referring veterinary community,” said Dana Zimmel, D.V.M., associate dean for clinical services and chief medical officer at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine.

In addition to becoming accredited in the traditional primary care area, the UF Small Animal Hospital is now accredited for referral services in nine specialty areas, including ophthalmology, emergency and critical care, cardiology, internal medicine, dermatology, zoological medicine, neurology, surgery and oncology.

Unlike human hospitals, not all animal hospitals are required to be accredited. For the AAHA designation, animal hospitals choose to be evaluated on approximately 900 quality standards that go beyond state regulations, ranging from patient care and pain management to staff training and advanced diagnostic services.

To maintain accredited status, the UF Small Animal Hospital must continue to be evaluated every three years by AAHA.

“We applaud the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine on vigilantly keeping up with advancements in veterinary medicine and adhering to high standards of veterinary excellence,” said Michael Cavanaugh, D.V.M., AAHA’s chief executive officer. “Pets are their passion, and keeping them healthy is their No. 1 priority. At UF, they strive to deliver excellent care for animals. Why? Because pets deserve nothing less.”