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Denver Animal Protection (DAP) Earns Highest Level of Veterinary Excellence

DAP is one of just three municipal shelter clinics in the nation to achieve AAHA accreditation

A five-year-old boxer mix named Nala owes her life to Denver Animal Protection (DAP) and the specialized care given by their highly-skilled veterinary team. Nala came into Denver Animal Shelter (DAS) seriously injured from a dog fight, with significant bite wounds on her neck and chest that became severely infected. She also had severe digestive problems, as well as broken and infected teeth. Her condition was so critical, DAS veterinary staff had to sedate her to treat her extensive injuries.

photo of Nala the dog

Because of expanded resources, the talented team at DAP went to work to offer Nala the very best care possible. That care is evident in the shelter’s recent accreditation as a member of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). This accreditation represents the highest level of veterinary excellence following a thorough evaluation by the non-profit organization. 

Unlike human hospitals, not all animal hospitals and shelters are required to be accredited. Those that choose accreditation are evaluated on about 900 quality standards that go above and beyond basic state regulations, ranging from patient care and pain management to staff training and advanced medical diagnosis.

DAP is one of only three municipal shelter clinics in the country to achieve this accreditation—and one of two   shelter clinics accredited in Colorado.

“AAHA-accredited hospitals and clinics are recognized among the finest in the industry, and they must meet stringent quality standards to become accredited,” says DAP veterinarian Dr. Louisa Poon. “Animal welfare is our passion and keeping the animals at DAP healthy is our highest priority.”

AAHA is the only organization that accredits veterinary practices in the United States and Canada, and only 12- to 15% of practices are accredited. According to the AAHA, their accreditation delineates the difference between ordinary and extraordinary care. Practices that accept the challenge of accreditation are evaluated on stringent quality standards that encompass all aspects of veterinary medicine—and are continuously updated to keep accredited practice teams at the forefront of the profession.

Nala is healthy today. But her journey wasn’t easy. It took a month of expert medical treatments, including surgeries to her chest and mouth, along with significant recovery. She is one of hundreds of animals treated each year at DAP that are fully healed and ready for new homes of their own. Thanks to the dedicated team at DAP, she gets a second change at a good life with owners that love her like family. For more information on Nala and other adoptable companions at DAP, visit and click on “View adoptable pets.”