VCA Animal Hospitals

It's official: Pets have feelings too

Published: Oct 22, 2012

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The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has confirmed something that most pet owners already know. Animals have the ability to feel, perceive and have subjective experiences.

The association recently released a position statement on this matter and is one of the first animal health organizations in the U.S. to officially take a stance on animal sentiency.

"Veterinarians have always known that domestic pets have emotions and can experience pain and fear," said Dr. Rod Jouppi, chair of AAHA's Animal Ethics and Welfare Committee. "Sentience refers to these characteristics and AAHA wants to ensure that our profession clearly states that pets have a special place in our homes and in our hearts, and certainly deserve to be included within the sphere of sentience."

While the designation by the AAHA may change the thinking of some non-pet owners, it is not a surprise to anyone who's ever had a cat, dog or other pet. After all, the pure joy and exuberance a dog exhibits when his owner comes home from work, or the way a cat purrs when snuggling with his owner is reason enough for anyone to believe that our pets have feelings, too!


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.