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Friday, October 19, 2012

Dr. Harold M. Zweighaft, A Tribute to a Distinguished and Caring Veterinarian

By Donald F. Smith, Cornell University
Posted October 19, 2012

Harold M. Zweighaft, DVM died on October 18, 2012, 
surrounded by his loving family. 

I don't remember when I first met Dr. Zweighaft. Perhaps it was at a Cornell function or at a meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association; maybe it was a social function of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society. All I know is that it was a long time ago, and that our friendship and my admiration for him grew stronger with each passing year. 

Harold M. Zweighaft, DVM
presented the Daniel E. Salmon Award medal in 2000

Photo provided by Cornell University

Dr. Zeighaft graduated from Cornell in 1956. Though it was an era when it was not always popular to be a Jewish student in veterinary medicine, he became one of Cornell's strongest alumni, serving in many distinguished roles including over 20 years on the veterinary college's Advisory Council. 

He was director of the Tri Boro Animal Hospital in the Bronx from 1958-1984, and of the West Parc Veterinary Clinic on the upper west side of Manhattan beginning in 1981. He was a compassionate and committed veterinarian, loved and respected by his clients and their pets. A breeder of champion Boston Terriers, Dr. Zweighaft could always be found with his wife, Dorothy, and other members of their personal and Cornell family in his floor box at the Westminster Dog Show each February, enjoying the judging of the breed groups and the Best-in-Show.

Dr. Zweighaft's influence extended to the veterinary profession at the city, state and national levels. His most distinguished role was as chair of the Executive Board of the AVMA (1997-98), a position that carried great responsibility and impact for the profession nationally. 

Though his professional awards are numerous and lofty, Dr. Zweighaft was most comfortable "on the Hill" at Cornell. His lifelong love affair with Cornell has extended to the next generation of his own family and also to his clients, colleagues and friends. In 2000, he was presented with the Daniel Elmer Salmon Award, the highest distinction bestowed by Cornell veterinary college graduates to one of their own.

Dr. Douglas Aspros, president of the AVMA and a fellow New York State veterinarian wrote to me this morning regarding Dr. Zweighaft, "This is the passing of an era and the loss of a very effective advocate for veterinary medicine." 

Dr. Smith invites comments at