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History/Mission

Established in 1933 by leaders in the veterinary profession, AAHA is the only companion animal exclusive veterinary association. AAHA is well known for its high standards in veterinary medicine and quality pet care, and promotes those standards within the veterinary profession and to the public. The Association develops industry benchmarks, business practice standards (known as the Standards of Accreditation), and informative publications and educational programs designed to help companion animal hospitals thrive.

AAHA believes in setting "The Standard of Veterinary Excellence." Throughout the Association’s history, its mission has remained the same: provide veterinary professionals with the resources they need to effectively manage their businesses and deliver the best in companion animal care.

The AAHA membership philosophy is team-focused, allowing every hospital staff member, from veterinarians to receptionists, benefit from AAHA’s resources through one group membership. Today, AAHA serves approximately 5,500 practice teams in the United States and Canada that are comprised of 50,000 individual veterinary care providers. Nearly 3,200 of the total practice teams are accredited.

Mission Statement

The purpose of the American Animal Hospital Association* is to:

  • Enhance the abilities of veterinarians to provide quality medical care to companion animals
  • Enable veterinarians to successfully conduct their practices and maintain their facilities with high standards of excellence
  • Meet the public's needs as they relate to the delivery of small animal veterinary medicine

*Adapted from mission statement of association bylaws

AAHA History

The American Animal Hospital Association was founded by seven leaders of the veterinary profession in 1933. From its inception, AAHA focused on promoting high-quality standards for the rapidly evolving sector of small animal private practice through accreditation and other initiatives. The 1960s saw the establishment of an organization staff and normalization of many of the policies and processes AAHA adheres to today. The first paid practice consultants were hired, and AAHA grew into a more professionally managed organization.

Rapid growth in membership and member services occurred in the 1960s and early 1970s with the development of additional education programs and publications for veterinary professionals. Significant change occurred in the early- to mid-1980s, when AAHA added services in the area of veterinary practice management and relocated from Indiana to Denver, Colo.

The Association acquired its own headquarters building in 1992, employs a professional staff of 64, runs more than 20 meetings and seminars annually, and produces a wide array of publications, resources, client information, Trends magazine and more.

Since its beginning, AAHA has been committed to excellence. The founders were convinced that small animal practice was important and that it was necessary to provide better facilities and methods than were generally available. That philosophy is still alive as a guiding principle of the Association today. It has helped stimulate and maintain the growth and development not only of the Association, but of the practice of small animal medicine throughout the world.

Today AAHA is respected internationally for its dedication to professional development, hospital accreditation standards, and quality educational programs. This recognition and the strength of the organization is a tribute to the vision of its founders and to the leadership and dedication of the many veterinary professionals who have devoted time and energy to serve AAHA through the years as directors, officers, member representatives and committee members.

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