What is a veterinary specialist?
Some specialists work in general practice, meaning at hospitals like your regular veterinary clinic. Others work out of specialty, or referral, hospitals that focus on one or more specific areas of veterinary medicine but usually don’t offer all the other services that your regular veterinarian provides.
…but I trust my veterinarianYour primary veterinarian will work closely with the specialist to give your pet the best possible care.
A collaborative approach and open communication help the specialist become familiar with your pet’s full medical history, as well as the anecdotal information that only you and your primary veterinarian may know.
As a team, your veterinarian, the specialist, and you will be able to provide the continuity of care your pet needs.
How are AAHA accredited referral practices different?
AAHA-accredited referral practices have been evaluated on practice methods, standards of patient care, and the quality of the facility and medical equipment. In order to maintain accredited status, the hospital must be evaluated regularly by the association’s trained consultants.
AAHA-accredited referral practices are required to have a board-certified veterinarian on staff for each specialty within the clinic. For example, a hospital accredited as a surgery referral and also an oncology referral, must have a board-certified surgeon and a board-certified oncologist on staff. Currently, over 350 veterinary referral practices are accredited by AAHA.
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) began offering referral accreditation in 2008. Visit AAHA’s hospital locator for a list of these practices. AAHA recommends that pet owners always go to their veterinarian first and seek a referral from them.