It’s important to choose a veterinary hospital before you need one. Ask family, friends and neighbors for recommendations. Once you find a hospital, take some time to check it out. Ask for a tour of the facility, and use your eyes and nose to detect cleanliness. Also check if the facility is well lit. Does it have laboratory equipment? Is there gas anesthesia? If it doesn’t meet your expectations, turn around and leave.
Hospitals that are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) meet high veterinary care standards. Each hospital voluntarily completes a detailed evaluation of its services and equipment. Then a practice consultant thoroughly evaluates the hospital to make sure it meets AAHA’s high standards in the areas of:
- emergency services
- pain management
- contagious diseases
- surgery and anesthesia
- radiology services
- pathology services
- nursing care
- diagnostic and pharmacy
- examination facilities
- pet medical records
- medical library
- housekeeping and maintenance
Approximately 15 percent of the small animal veterinary hospitals in the United States and Canada are accredited AAHA members.
In addition to the facility, you’ll also want to make sure the veterinarian meets your expectations. It’s important that you and your pet are comfortable with the doctor. The veterinarian should be able to communicate with you and make you feel comfortable asking questions.
Finally, when choosing a veterinary hospital, make sure the office hours and payment policy are convenient for you. Ask for a hospital brochure or welcome letter that explains the hospital policies and procedures.
To Find an AAHA-accredited practice, click here.