Accreditations & Certifications

posted: by: Pleasant Valley Animal Hospital Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

AAHA – For over 25 years, Pleasant Valley Animal Hospital has had the distinction of being accredited by the the American Animal Hospital Association – one of only four such hospitals in Dutchess County. Across North America only 18% of pet hospitals meet these rigorous accreditation requirements. AAHA was founded in 1933 to improve the practice of veterinary medicine by creating standards of excellence for veterinary hospitals. AAHA standards are recognized internationally as the industry benchmark for quality companion animal medical and surgical care. AAHA is the only organization that accredits small animal hospitals throughout the United States. To achieve and maintain accreditation, hospitals undergo rigorous evaluations by AAHA practice consultants. These individuals inspect all areas of the hospital to ensure compliance with the AAHA standards of excellence, which cover the following areas:

  • Anesthesia
  • Dentistry
  • Diagnostic Services
  • Emergency Services
  • Examination Facilities
  • Housekeeping and Maintenance
  • Medical Library
  • Nursing Care
  • Patient Records
  • Pharmacy
  • Radiology
  • Surgery


  The American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) seeks to promote the highest of standards in contemporary veterinary clinical practice. Diplomates of ABVP are veterinarians who have demonstrated expertise in a broad range of subjects related to clinical practice. The rigorous credentialing process, which can take three years to complete, relies on high-quality, practice-related experience, as Diplomates must have a minimum of six years of clinical practice before application for certification can be made. Certification requires the submission of two clinical case reports suitable for publication in referred journals, letters of recommendation by veterinary specialists familiar with the quality of the candidate’s medical work, a three part examination spanning two full days, and re-certification every ten years.

Dr. Gearhart has been an ABVP Diplomate since 1985. One case report for certification in 1985 was published in the Journal of the American Animal HospitalAssociation and presented a dog with a fatal neurological condition called Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis. The other case report presented a puppy with a congenital liver defect called an Hepatic Porto-systemic Shunt.

She was re-certified in 1993 by again passing the examination, but chose to re-certify this next period by submitting two case reports in 2003 instead of sitting an exam. These reports present a cat with breast cancer who received chemotherapy, and a Great Dane in heart failure due to Dilative Cardiomyopathy who received a drug currently available only in Europe called pimobendan. The article on the Great Dane is likely to be considered for publication since pimobendan is being studied for approval in the United States. Her re-certification is pending as these articles are under review by ABVP.


  IVAS – The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) is dedicated to promoting excellence in the practice of veterinary acupuncture while integrating veterinary acupuncture and the practice of western veterinary science. IVAS strives to establish uniformly high standards of veterinary acupuncture through educational programs and a rigorous accreditation program. Full certification by IVAS requires attendance for all sessions of the 6 month core training course (240 hours of educational credit), passing of a two day examination, a forty hour externship in an IVAS-approved veterinary acupuncture clinic, acceptance of a clinical case report suitable for publication in a referred journal, and 15 credit hours of continuing education in acupuncture every year after certification is granted.

Dr. Gearhart completed her course work and externship in 2002, passing her exam in the same year. Her clinical case report on Buddy Adams, an elderly dog who suffers from Short Leg Syndrome and resulting crippling back spasms, was accepted in March of 2003, granting her full certification by IVAS. She is also a member of the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture as this organization provides most of the continuing education programs required for maintaining IVAS certification.