The American Animal Hospital Association was founded in November, 1933. At that time, seven veterinarians attending the AVMA conference recognized that small animal practice was not only an important and permanent segment of the veterinary profession, but it needed the recognition and stature that only a separate national association could provide. So, on November 9–10, 1933, the AAHA was born with Dr. Morris as president; Dr. Eastman, vice president; and Dr. Theobald, secretary/treasurer.
At that time, most of the few veterinarians who treated pets offered only meager facilities. Dogs and cats were “second class citizens” as far as the profession was concerned and packing case “cages” were customary. Nursing care was nonexistent and surgery was crude.
The seven veterinarians saw the need to improve the practice of small animal medicine and recognized that the exchange of information through a fraternal association could be the genesis of improved standards and the foundation for a continuing education commitment from the profession.
Since its beginning, the AAHA has insisted on improvement. The founders were convinced that small animal practice was important and felt that veterinarians were obligated to provide better facilities and methods than were generally available. That philosophy is still alive and well as a guiding principle of AAHA today. It has helped stimulate and maintain the growth and development not only of the Association but of the practice of small animal medicine throughout the world.
Today, AAHA is respected internationally for its dedication to professional development, hospital standards, outstanding publications, and the excellence of its education programs. This recognition and the strength of the organization is a tribute to the vision of its founders and the leadership and dedication of the many veterinarians who have sacrificed time and energy to serve the Association through the years. Their contributions are evident today in a strong, viable, and dynamic association that continues to be on the “leading edge” of the veterinary profession.