Pictured: Animal Medical Center, NYC
A pet hospital is just that, a hospital for pets! However, there are some key differences between pet hospitals and human hospitals. For example, pet hospitals are not required to be accredited like human hospitals. However, given the choice, you’d be crazy not to take your dog or cat to an accredited pet hospital.
The American Animal Hospital Association, or AAHA, is the governing body that issues accreditation status for pet hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. If you’re looking for the best-of-the-best pet hospitals you can find a list on AAHA’s website under “referral practice,” which is a fancy word for pet hospital. These are the clinics that have MRI machines and can treat major surgery or cancer.
The AAHA’s accreditation process goes way beyond state regulations and includes over 900 standards for accreditation. These standards include in-depth evaluation of patient care, diagnostic imaging, laboratory, pain management, pharmacy, safety, surgery, client service, anesthesia, contagious disease, continuing education, dentistry, examination facilities, medical records, leadership and emergency/urgent care.
In order for a pet hospital to maintain accredited status pet hospitals must pass evaluations every three years. The AAHA standards are so thorough that many states are beginning to accept the AAHA accreditation in place of state-based reviews and audits.
Finding an Accredited Pet Hospital
If you’re looking for an accredited pet hospital the AAHA has a great online tool that is simple and free to use.
We used the search tool for Columbus, Ohio for 43221 zip code and found 20 AAHA accredited vet clinics and 1 accredited referral practice, which is a more sophisticated pet hospital (1 of 225 in the United States).
Companion vs. All Animals
The vast majority of pet hospitals are for companion animals (dogs, cats, rabbits, etc.) but there are some that are specific to larger farm animals and exotics (equine, farm, etc.). Just make sure that if you are searching for a pet hospital that you double-check to make sure they treat the type of pet you have.
Best Pet Hospitals in the U.S.
The best way to find the best pet hospitals in America is to use the AAHA search tool and find a hospital in your area. We spent a lot of time researching and comparing hospitals online and could not find a definitive “list” of the best pet hospitals in the U.S. The good news for dog and cat owners is that there are hundreds of accredited, high quality pet hospitals in the United States.
Pictured: Anesthesiologist preps dog for hip x-rays at Animal Medical Center
Pet Insurance and Pet Hospitals
The good news for pet insurance customers is that you are covered at any pet hospital. So if your dog or cat needs emergency care, surgery or cancer treatment you’re covered no matter where you go.