Fall Edition: October 2022

Around this date in 2015, we were just putting the finishing touches on our practice on Old Great Neck Road and opening Animal Vision Center of Virginia for the first time. At our grand opening celebration, we featured tours of our facility, held an agility course and petting zoo on the lawn, served tasty treats for pets and humans and held a silent auction to raise awareness of glaucoma and to benefit local animals in need of eye care. Since then, our practice has grown in so many wonderful ways. Over the years, Animal Vision Center of Virginia has:
  • Gone from having one team member (the tireless Melissa Noblett), to our current standing of 13 team members, 2 residents and 1 specialty intern.
  • Held over 17 events, including our popular Ophtho Rounds & Wine continuing education sessions for our referring veterinary professionals, resulting in the awarding of more than 1,000 CE credit hours.
  • Provided nearly 200 free eye examinations for our region’s hardworking service animals, including the City of Virginia Beach patrol horses, Virginia Beach Sheriff Department’s K-9 dogs and the therapeutic horses of Untamed Spirit.
  • Seen 5,542 new pet patients!
  • Expanded our Great Neck practice location not once, but twice. And opened our Chesapeake practice in the summer of 2022.
  • Finalized plans this month to open our next practice in the historic Pembroke Manor House in Virginia Beach (see below), opening in early 2023.
As you can see, we have covered a lot of ground over the past seven years. Yet one important aspect of our practice has not changed—our commitment to helping animals of all shapes and sizes live a better life through better sight. Thank you for being a part of this journey. Here’s to more good times and pet hugs in the years to come!

With warmest regards,

Heather Brookshire, DVM, DACVO

Historic Pembroke Manor to Welcome People and Pets

Last week, it was our pleasure to announce plans to expand Animal Vision Center of Virginia’s footprint in Hampton Roads by renovating and occupying the historic Pembroke Manor House at 520 Constitution Drive in Virginia Beach. We are so excited to be the new owners of this historic home and grounds—an ideal location as a healing practice for ophthalmic animal care.
Located in Virginia Beach’s Pembroke neighborhood, the brick Georgian-style home sits on property given by the King of England in 1635 to Adam Thoroughgood, a community leader in the Virginia Colony. Over the years, the land was divided among the family’s heirs, including Capt. Jonathan Saunders who built Pembroke Manor in 1764. Other family members occupied the home over time, until the Kellam family bought the manor house and grounds in 1781. More recently, the home housed a private school and a technology company. It is listed on the Virginia Beach Historic Register, the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.      
To reimagine the home’s interior as a veterinary clinic, without taking away from the historic nature of the home, we are working with several firms specializing in preservation and adaptive use. Recently, we received conceptual approval on their renovation/rehabilitation plans from the Department of Historic Resources in Richmond, Virginia.
To give our clients, referring veterinarians and the community a sneak peek of the clinic and grounds, we hope you can attend a special “Historic Howl ‘o Ween at the Mansion,” Saturday, Oct. 29 from 12 to 5 p.m. for people and pets. Admission is by a self-selected donation to benefit Compassion for Canines in Windsor. This foster-based rescue organization rehabilitates homeless dogs with health issues, then matches them with foster families until they are placed in their forever homes. 

We will keep you posted of these exciting plans. And we look forward to welcoming you in this beautiful new space when we open for appointments in early 2023!

They ought to be in pictures! Enroll your pet in our In Focus Pet Photo Contest

Is your lovey a regal beagle? A dashing dachshund? A charismatic cat? Beginning Nov. 1, send us a high-resolution photo of your pet looking their best for a chance to have their image recreated, framed and displayed on the walls of our Chesapeake and Virginia Beach clinics.
Animal Vision Center of Virginia will select approximately 10 photos among those received and will collaborate with talented Etsy artists to feature the pets in two styles of portraiture: 
  • Formal manor-style portrait style, featuring your pet facing the camera. The artists will adapt these headshots to show your pets in various styles of period clothing of their choice. These will adorn the walls at our Pembroke Manor House location.
  • Casual portraits, featuring your pet’s head in a natural, illustrated rendering for display at our Chesapeake clinic. 
Look for details of our In Focus Pet Photo Contest and submission guidelines here. And start snapping! Our contest closes Nov. 30.
In Focus Pet Photo Contest

Itchy Eyes and Watery Noses could be Conjunctivitis

This is the time of year when we see itchy eyes and watery noses in both people and pets. These are among the signs of conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the moist vascular tissue that surrounds the eye (conjunctival tissue).
While there are many causes, most cases in the fall are caused by allergies. Even if animals do not show signs of allergies in the rest of their body (itchiness of skin/rubbing face, hair loss, persistent licking/biting of the feet), they can still suffer from allergies that affect their eyes. Dogs that are known to have systemic allergies and dogs with large droopy eyelids (that can collect airborne pollen, dust and dander) appear to be more prone to the problem of allergic conjunctivitis. 
Conjunctivitis can occur in both dogs and cats, and symptoms include:  
  • Squinting or intermittent blinking
  • Redness of the moist tissues that surround the eye
  • Eye discharge
  • Swelling of the tissue around the eyes
If your pet has been diagnosed with allergic conjunctivitis and/or displays minor evidence of these symptoms, you can help improve their comfort with the use of over-the-counter antihistamine drops (Alaway, Zaditor, Vasocon-A, Naphcon-A, etc.) and lubricant drops (Genteal gel, Systane, Refresh pm, Blink, etc.).

Be careful though. Sometimes conjunctivitis can be a sign of a more serious ocular problem. If any of the signs persist or worsen, contact your family veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist immediately for an evaluation.
Providing quality ophthalmic care for animals of all shapes and sizes, Animal Vision Center of Virginia is owned and operated by Dr. Heather Brookshire, a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist. 
Call us at 757-749-4838    |    Fax us at 757-932-9325

Virginia Beach Main Office Location & Hours:
521 Old Great Neck Road, Suite 2, Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Thursday  9:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
One Saturday a Month 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Chesapeake Location & Hours:
228 Mt. Pleasant Road, Chesapeake, VA 23322
At this time, available by appointment only

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Animal Vision Center of Virginia · 521 Old Great Neck Road · Suite 2 · Virginia Beach, VA 23454-4066 · USA