At P3, we base our philosophy around the unparalleled American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) standards of care and are committed to advancing innovative practices and techniques, like Fear Free and Hands-Free Radiology, that improve the veterinary experience for pets and humans alike.
AAHA standards encompass the entire philosophy of Pets People Practice.
At P3, it's our goal that all of our hospitals are AAHA accredited. Unfortunately, the reality is that they won’t all be, often due to a variety of limitations; for instance, some clinics may be in buildings where leasehold agreements wouldn’t allow us to build/retrofit the clinic to meet an AAHA standard.
Obtaining accreditation is very challenging, as there are over 900 criteria that must be met, and assessed by a third party investigator. The requirements range from how medicine is practiced, to the actual physical structure of the hospital, and everything in between.
Across North America, all practice owners will be familiar with AAHA and understand that it signifies ‘best medicine,’ and belies a willingness to invest in the practice. However, only 5% of Canadian hospitals are AAHA Accredited.
Fear Free provides online, and in-person education to veterinary professionals in knowledge and tools necessary to look after pets' emotional well-being when they visit the vet, by implementing processes and that are as stress-free as possible for the animal.
Every pet that comes into a Fear-Free certified clinic should be greeted as happily as possible by the team, given treats (if allowed), and then placed in an exam room as quickly as possible, rather than letting anxiety build in the waiting room. When the pet arrives in the exam room, there should be a little bowl of treats waiting for them.
Also, Fear Free-certified music said to help calm cats and dogs, often plays throughout these hospitals. A variety of tricks are also implemented to help distract the animals from their anxiety during medical procedures, like offering treats as a distraction while blood is being drawn for a sample.
One of our clinics posted a great video of a team member holding a tongue depressor coated in peanut butter up in front of a dog while the technician drew blood from a back leg. The dog had no idea what was happening he was so fixated on the treat.
FEAR FREE is very much focused on PETS first.
An RVT spearheaded Hands-Free Radiology in Ontario. Human x-ray technicians haven’t been allowed to be in the same room as x-ray units for decades, as enforced by Health Canada, but sadly, in the veterinary industry, there is no oversight. That fact is, in our industry, if you need to take an x-ray of a pet, a technician and helper have to be physically present in the room to restrain the pet. This exposure to radiation is untenable, but until now there have not been any other options.
Hands-Free was initiated to promote radiation safety awareness in the veterinary workplace, and to reduce occupational radiation exposure of veterinary personnel via training in a combination of 'hands-free' techniques, workshop, innovative restraint devices, and industry educational resources.