Falmouth Animal Hospital Receives National Accreditation of Excellence
FALMOUTH – At a time when vets are busier than ever, an animal hospital in Sandwich Road has won national acclaim for its efforts to keep animals healthy and more comfortable.
Falmouth Animal Hospital received accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association in June, which only 12-15% of veterinary hospitals in the United States and Canada receive.
“It forces us to uphold the standard of care we provide, both in how we treat the people who work for us and the pets,” said Dr Lilian Hauser, chief of staff at the hospital. Falmouth.
Pain management, patient care, team training and medical record keeping are among the rigorous standards of veterinary medicine that are evaluated for accreditation, according to Anthony Merkle, regional director for the national association for members’ experience.
The hospital is only the fourth in Cape Town to receive accreditation, joining All Pets Medical Center in Bourne, Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod Corp. in South Yarmouth and VCA Pleasant Bay Animal Hospital in East Harwich, according to the association’s website.
The American Animal Hospital Association is the only organization that accredits veterinary practices for excellence in the United States and Canada, said Merkle, who rated Falmouth Animal Hospital.
“Each accredited hospital is required to meet these standards by conducting rigorous voluntary assessments of all standards performed on a routine basis,” Merkle said in an email.
Beyond what recognition says about the hospital, receiving accreditation was a long-time goal for Hauser because it gives the hospital different resources. Among these is access to a panel of experts who examine new practices and new drugs. They review and pass on information about the best antimicrobials for urinary tract infections, for example, she said, or the best ways to maintain a surgical suite or what protective gear to wear during procedures.
While good practices were already in place, Hauser said, many protocols needed to be rewritten or formalized to achieve accreditation. Some of those protocols included the maintenance of surgical instruments and X-ray machines, as well as decontamination, according to Dr. Jennifer Fallon, a veterinarian at the hospital.
Others involved conflict resolution and an emergency evacuation plan that included how to get all animals out of the building safely, Hauser said, which may seem obvious but needed to be written down.
Ever since Hauser became a veterinarian 22 years ago and the hospital’s chief of staff about 10 years ago, she had been looking for different ways to continue advancing her practice with the most up-to-date knowledge.
“It’s easy to get stuck in the era you were raised in,” Hauser said.
She said she brings in veterinary students for internships to open her eyes to new teachings. She also tries to attend at least 40 hours a year of educational conferences.
With national accreditation received, Hauser’s next goal is to obtain Falmouth Veterinary Hospital listed as a cat-friendly practice by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. She has worked to make veterinary practice as cat-friendly as possible, given that cats sometimes enter animal hospitals hearing barking and smelling dogs, she said.
The news of the accreditation came after months of increasingly intense work for the staff. Since the start of the pandemic, veterinarians have been busier than before, Hauser said.
“We never slowed down,” Fallon said. “Normally we slow down in the winter, but that hasn’t happened.”
Part of that was because some residents stayed on Cape Cod year-round rather than moving out for the winter, Fallon said. She also noticed that many people were adopting animals while at home during the COVID-19 shutdowns.
People were spending more time with their pets than before the pandemic.
“They pay attention” more now, Hauser said. “When you’re outside all the time, you don’t realize your cat is acting withdrawn or your dog isn’t eating as much. They notice it now.
Contact Jessica Hill at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @jess_hillyeah.