Veterinary medicine is regulated by state agencies, and each state maintains its own minimum regulations. Although AAHA-accreditation is voluntary, AAHA is the only organization in the US and Canada that accredits small animal hospitals based on standards that go above and beyond state regulations. The AAHA Standards of Accreditation include more than 900 individual standards, divided into 19 major sections including contagious disease.
Hospital cleanliness is critical to help prevent contagious diseases from spreading. Like humans, animals can unintentionally transfer their sickness or diseases to other animals. Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and canine parvovirus are common contagious diseases spread within species. Some diseases, known as zoonotic, can be transferred from animal to human or human to animals. Although an immaculately clean hospital does not guarantee prevention, hospitals can vigilantly follow cleaning policies to dramatically reduce the risks of spreading diseases.
Among the many standards in the contagious disease section, AAHA accreditation requires that all practice team members follow infection control policies related to personal hygiene, patient care, and disinfection of equipment and facilities. Practice team members are required to frequently wash their hands or use antimicrobial agents to prevent the spread of contagious disease. Additionally, AAHA Standards recommend that potentially contaminated materials are contained in containers or bags that do not allow passage of fluids.
The Standards, developed by AAHA, are widely accepted as representing those components of veterinary practice that represent high quality pet care. The Standards are periodically reviewed and updated by a committee of experts and practitioners to ensure that they remain consistent with evolving veterinary knowledge and technology.