American Animal Hospital Association Announces Change to Membership Structure


For 80+ years, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has never been afraid of change. In keeping with that spirit of continual evolution, AAHA announced it will transition to an accredited-only membership model. 

aaha american animal hospital associationAccreditation is at the core of what AAHA does. Over the next two years, AAHA will transition all member hospitals to accredited status. Non-accredited practices will have until July 1, 2017 to enter into an agreement to become an AAHA-accredited practice or have a staff member become an individual member. By June 30, 2018, all AAHA member hospitals will be accredited. Any non-accredited practices that have not switched voluntarily will have the owner/medical director converted to individual membership.

Why the change?

“For years, we have included a separate membership category that has allowed hospital membership for practices that are not accredited,” said Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP (C/F), chief executive officer of AAHA. “We tried to be inclusive and it resulted in trying to offer everything to everyone. In doing this, AAHA inadvertently created confusion in the marketplace about what constitutes an ‘AAHA member hospital’ vs. an ‘AAHA-accredited hospital’. Over time, we came to realize that we could not be everything to everyone. We need to hold true to our priorities.”

The AAHA accreditation program serves as the foundation of the AAHA board of directors’ strategic priorities. The change in the membership model reflects AAHA’s pledge to keep accreditation at the forefront.

“We know that there are countless non-accredited hospitals practicing excellent medicine–we want you to join us!” said Nancy Soares, VMD, 2016-2017 president of AAHA. “I invite you to join us as we expand and strengthen our community of veterinary practice teams who are dedicated to providing excellent care. Together, we will elevate the standard of veterinary medicine and provide pets with the care they deserve.”

AAHA is offering educational resources to help non-accredited hospitals understand the accreditation evaluation process. Practices interested in pursuing AAHA accreditation can learn more at or schedule a complimentary visit from an AAHA practice consultant by reaching out to Practice Accreditation at

For more information about the American Animal Hospital Association, visit

Read or link to this news online in the AAHA Press Room.


The American Animal Hospital Association is the only organization that accredits companion animal practices throughout the United States and Canada according to high standards of veterinary care. AAHA-accredited hospitals are recognized among the finest in the industry, and are consistently at the forefront of advanced veterinary medicine. Pet owners look for AAHA-accredited hospitals because they value their pet’s health and trust the consistent, expert care provided by the entire health care team.


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