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When a human is injured or sick in the United States, they can expect to receive a minimum standard (level) of care from every health care provider in the country.  This care is regulated by federal, state and private agencies and ensures that every person entering the system is protected from dangerous medical or surgical practices.  It also means that every facility has the equipment, and the training  to deliver at least this minimal level of care . 


     In the world of veterinary medicine and surgery, setting and enforcing an absolute minimum standard of care is impossible and impractical.  Across the country, various state Boards of Veterinary Medicine work towards protecting the public from antiquated or  negligent methods of delivering animal care, however, this is very different than requiring a minimal standard overall. 


     If a dog's fractured leg is repaired with an unacceptable technique and the repair fails, or if an improper and harmful dose of medication is dispensed for a client's pet, the Board of Veterinary Medicine may become involved.   However, since there is no minimal requirement regarding the delivery of overall care, it is impossible for the public to judge the quality of various veterinary facilities and their delivery of care.  The public can only see what is contained within the walls of the reception area.  Does the facility have a dental x-ray or do they simply guess at which teeth``` need to be extracted?  Do they pursue methods to reduce the stress and anxiety of their patients?  Do they use high-quality anesthetics and monitoring devices to ensure patient safety?  How can one tell?


     The American Association of Animal Hospitals (AAHA) is an association that holds rigid requirements for their member veterinary hospitals.   A mere 15% of Veterinary Hospitals in the U.S. are  admitted and thus a pet owner looking for a facility that has the latest equipment and training can be assured that an AAHA hospital will deliver quality care.  Additionally, it is important to realize that a veterinary hospital that can deliver high-quality care can always reduce diagnostic and

medical techniques ( thus lowering the cost) to meet most everyone's budget.  


     In a country where there are no minimal standards of veterinary care,  you can be assured that by seeking an AAHA hospital, quality lurks behind the reception-area's walls.  If you have financial concerns (who doesn't?), be sure to bring them to the forefront as your pet's treatment plan is being constructed.  AAHA certification includes a guarantee for top-notch customer service as well as high-quality patient care.


Questions?  North Idaho Animal Hospital 320 S. Ella St. Sandpoint, ID, [email protected]

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