Are veterinarians and veterinary practices really that different? Yes!

Many pet owners choose their veterinarian based on recommendations from their friends or neighbors, location or an Internet search. We feel CERTIFICATION is extremely important because it’s the ONLY way pet owners can compare apples to apples. Be CERTAIN your veterinarian and your veterinary hospital are CERTIFIED.

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) recommends the following guidelines in choosing your veterinarian.

Finding the Right Vet for Your Pet


One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a pet parent is finding a quality health care provider for your furry friend. Selecting the right veterinarian is a personal decision, but you’ll want to choose a practice that offers the highest available standard of care.

How Do I Look for a Vet?

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) evaluates veterinary practices on the quality of their facilities, staff, equipment and patient care.

What Questions Should I Ask When I’m Selecting a Vet?

Although your questions may vary depending on the reason for your visit, you can use the following list as a guide:

  • Is the practice AAHA-accredited?
  • How are overnight patients monitored?
  • What sort of equipment does the practice use?
  • Does the vet refer patients to specialists?
  • How are patients evaluated before anesthesia and surgery?
  • Does the practice have licensed veterinary technicians on staff?
  • What is the protocol for pain management?

Metzger Animal Hospital Answers:

Is the practice AAHA-accredited?


Yes, in fact we are dual certified (general practice and referral/specialty). Unlike human hospitals, animal hospitals are not required to be accredited and in fact ONLY 12% of US veterinary hospitals are certified and <1% dual certified.

Veterinary hospitals are evaluated on approximately 900 standards of veterinary excellence in order to become accredited. AAHA-accredited hospitals are recognized among the finest in the industry, and are consistently at the forefront of advanced veterinary medicine. Our Standards of Accreditation are continuously reviewed and updated to keep our accredited practices on the cutting edge of veterinary excellence. Our standards address patient care and pain management, surgery, pharmacy, laboratory, exam facilities, medical records, cleanliness, emergency services, dental care, diagnostic imaging, anesthesiology, and continuing education. To maintain accredited status, hospitals undergo comprehensive on-site evaluations every three years.

Learn more about our standards and accreditation, and how they impact the health of your pet at

How are overnight patients monitored?

We have 24-hour care with an emergency doctor and technicians on site at ALL times. Metzger Animal Hospital is a Level II VECCS (Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society) Certified Veterinary Emergency Hospital.


There are ONLY 4 VECCS certified emergency veterinary hospitals in Pennsylvania:

  1. University of Pennsylvania Ryan VeterinaryHospital in Philadelphia
  2. Allegheny Veterinary Emergency Trauma and Specialty in Monroeville
  3. Veterinary Specialty Emergency Center in Levittown
  4. Metzger Animal Hospital in State College

Visit for more information.

What sort of equipment does the practice use?

We are the most advanced veterinary hospital in central Pennsylvania. Our specialized instrumentation include; CT (CAT scan), fluoroscopy, digital X-ray, laparoscopy, endoscopy, ultrasound, echocardiography, 13 anesthesia units with ventilation,  Midmark anesthetic monitors, Aero spray slide strainer and cytoprep, Olympus specialty pathology microscope 26 IV fluid pumps, two Snyder oxygen treatment units and a Shor-Line underwater treadmill.

Does the vet refer patients to specialists?

Yes BUT we have 4 specialists on staff ourselves, so we frequently receive patients from other veterinarians. We have the only board-certified specialists in Central Pennsylvania.

A veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who has completed additional training in a specific area of veterinary medicine and has passed an examination that evaluates their knowledge and skills in that specialty area. Currently, there are 22 AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty organizations comprising 41 distinct specialties.

How are patients evaluated before anesthesia and surgery?

We have mandatory preanesthetic blood testing included in the price and we perform the testing the morning of the anesthetic procedure. Our trained and certified veterinary technicians closely monitor our patients and utilize state of the art anesthetic monitoring instrumentation (end tidal CO2, pulse oximetry, EKG, blood pressure).

Does the practice have licensed veterinary technicians on staff?

The truth is, most veterinary clinics may have no certified veterinary technicians on staff. Pet owners should consider  and ask who performs anesthesia on their pets? Metzger Animal Hospital has 14 certified veterinary technicians on staff!

A Certified Veterinary Technician has many duties that are vital to the health care of our pets. Certified Veterinary Technician complete a 2-3 year degree at an AVMA-accredited veterinary technician college then must pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination to obtain the title of certified veterinary technician (CVT).

What is the protocol for pain management?

We have advanced pain management protocols that are used at veterinary teaching hospitals and are continually updated. In addition, we have our rehabilitation center, which is equipped with an underwater treadmill, uses therapeutic ultrasound, e-stim and veterinary chiropractic care. Our rehabilitation center is staffed by certified professionals: Dr. Bob Rider DVM, CCRT, Dr. Kevin McCarthy DC, ACVC;  Physical Therapist Anne Risaliti PT, CCRT and Meredith White CCRA.