From the Desk of Dr. Heather
We didn't think it would ever appear, but spring has arrived in Coastal Virginia! Finally, we can get out and about with our pets without slipping on ice or shivering in the cold. The change in the seasons has us thinking about getting a number of things back in order - our yards, homes and our personal to-do's. If you've been thinking about bringing your pet in for a wellness exam, now is the time. Through April 30, we are offering a special discounted rate on exams during which we can screen for cataracts, glaucoma, corneal ulcers and other common disease of the eye. If you have a registered service or therapy animal, May is National Service Dog Examination Month, during which many veterinary ophthalmologists offer free examinations. We do this year-round, so consider scheduling an appointment to make sure your working pet is in top shape. And finally, in addition to great weather, spring brings its share of pollen to our home sweet home. If your pet suffers from runny, itchy eyes, the same as people do this time of year, read our step-by-step instructions on how to administer lubricating eye drops to your pet. Trust us; we've been doing this for years and have the technique down - even with the trickiest of pet patients. It really works!         
See you out there, 

Keep an Eye Out for Glaucoma 
Does your pet have cloudy eyes with a red, bloodshot appearance? Do you detect signs of tearing and ocular discharge or is he squinting in pain? These are common signs of glaucoma, a condition in which fluid doesn't drain freely from the eye, resulting in increased eye pressure and damage to the optic nerve. Causes include a primary, inherited abnormality of the drainage angle in the eye, common in many purebred dogs, and secondary glaucoma which forms due to another problem within the eye. Secondary glaucoma can occur due to inflammation within the eye, shifting of the lens out of position, cataract formation, trauma, retinal detachment and other causes. It can be treated successfully with early diagnosis, rapid treatment and long-term monitoring under the care of a veterinary ophthalmologist.
If your pet is experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned above, consider scheduling a wellness exam today. We are offering a special 30 percent discount on wellness eye exams if you book your appointment by April 30. Check for details here and then call us at (757) 749-4838 to schedule your appointment. Be sure to mention "Wellness Eye Exam."

Have You Hugged a Therapy Dog Today? 
While dogs don't wear glasses, they do need to have their eyes checked regularly, especially if they are a registered service or therapy animal. May is National Service Dog Eye Examination Month, and many board-certified diplomats of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists will offer free screenings for these hard-working and caring creatures throughout the month. Animal Vision Center of Virginia (AVCVA) feels so strongly about the importance of healthy eyes for these pets, we perform free exams for qualified service animals all the yearlong. It helps us detect signs of ocular disease early, allowing the animals to keep up their important work without missing a beat.
In recognition of the special awareness month, we are pleased to introduce you to Chester, a 10-year old labradoodle and registered therapy dog that is part of the Buddy Brigade at the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters (CHKD) in Norfolk. We asked Chester's owner, Mary Lou Nexsen, a few questions about his very important job:
Click here to read the full article and interesting answers. 

To qualify for AVCVA's free eye screenings, animals must be active working animals that are certified by a formal training program or organization, or are currently enrolled in a formal training program. For more information about the referral process, or to schedule a screening, please contact Dr.Heather@AVCVA.com.
Medication Tips and Tricks - Eye Drops

Spring has arrived in southeastern Virginia; you can tell by the sprinkling of pollen that coats our porches, cars and windows - and the resulting sneezing and wheezing of allergy sufferers. Just as people are affected by windblown allergens, so are pets. The result for our furry friends can be a bad case of allergic conjunctivitis. If your pet has been diagnosed with this condition and you need to administer eye drops, these step-by-step instructions will help! Here's how it works:  
  1. Place your pet on a table or counter top, if possible, to bring them out of their natural environment and better under your control.
  2. Place a towel or blanket on the surface so they feel secure.
  3. Before applying the drops*, use a clean, warm washcloth to remove any mucus or discharge from the eye.
  4. Hold your pet gently, but firmly, in front of you with their back towards you. If your pet is wiggly, you may try wrapping them in a blanket to secure them.
  5. Using your non-dominant hand, lift the chin upwards and pull back the top eyelid, then apply one drop of the medication.
  6. As long as the drop lands anywhere between the eyelids, you have successfully administered the medication!
*Note: Only one drop per eye, per treatment is required. If multiple drops are to be given at the same time of day, they must be spread 5-10 minutes apart.

In This Issue

Just for Vets! A Lumpy, Bumpy Lunch & Learn
Join us for our next Lunch & Learn series, May 9. Held for our region's veterinarians, these accredited continuing education sessions are free of charge, and lunch is provided. At our upcoming program we discuss the most common differentials for lumps, bumps and swellings affecting the eyelids, globe and retrobulbar space in the dog and cat. We will be emphasizing differentiation of severity of lesions and indications for referral versus in-house management. Space is limited, so please RSVP by May 2 to  Dr.Heather@AVCVA.com 
or call (757) 749-4838.

Hinterland Wrap Up
We couldn't do what we do without the help of our referring veterinarians. In appreciation of their recommendations, we hosted a fun Veterinarians Night Out at the Hinterland Trading Co. earlier this year. We spent a wonderful winter evening designing these beautiful terrarium arrangements with exotic air plants. Thanks to those who attended. And our regards, too, to the gracious Hinterland staff. For a fun time, check them out at Town Center in Virginia Beach!

Meet Scout
It's true; we treat animals of all shapes and sizes here at our practice. Last month, we had the pleasure of seeing Scout. This cute sugar glider is a marsupial that's native to Australia and New Guinea. He came to us after being referred by his family veterinarian for a corneal ulcer in his right eye. We performed a corneal debridement to assist with the healing and made some minor changes to his medical therapy. We are hopeful we will see healing without the need for surgery. Can't want to see this little guy back for his recheck! By the way, the skin folds on the sides of the body allow these animals to fly in the wild, hence the name.
What our Clients Say

"Dr. Brookshire was wonderful. She explained everything and gave me options for treatment. She was even able to take care of it the very same day which made it so much more convenient."  
- Debbie M.
521 Old Great Neck
Road, Suite 2
Virginia Beach, VA
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
9:00am - 5:00pm

Tuesday, Thursday
10:00am - 6:30pm

One Saturday a Month
10:00am - 2:00pm

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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. 

The Center is located at 521 Old Great Neck Road, Suite 2, in Virginia Beach, VA 23454.