FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Increased Redness or Swelling of the Eye(s)
- Increased Discharge Around the Eyes (especially green or yellow)
- Cloudiness of the Eye(s)
- Squinting or Holding the Eye(s) Closed
- Scratching or Pawing at the Eye(s)
- Decreased Vision in General, or Bumping into Objects at Home
Regular cleaning is important to the health of your pet’s eyes. It takes just a few minutes and helps to prevent many problems later in their lives.
Simply use a warm, clean washcloth or ocular wipe to clean the area around the eye. Other than getting rid of any dirt and debris, this keeps the eyes free of any discharge and medication buildup.
A veterinary ophthalmologist is a veterinarian that is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO). To become board-certified and receive Diplomate status in the ACVO, the candidate must pass a series of rigorous written and practical examinations. To be eligible to take the examination, the candidate first completes the four years of veterinary school required to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), followed by three or four additional years of training that are required to gain the medical and surgical expertise necessary to be an ophthalmology specialist.
The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® (ACVO®) is an organization, not an actual physical location, that (through the American Board of Veterinary Ophthalmology® or ABVO®) has established certifying criteria for Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (DACVO®) and residents in training to become Diplomates. To become a DACVO, a person must first graduate from veterinary school, attain a minimum of 12 months full-time clinical practice as a veterinarian, and complete a 3-year or longer residency training program in veterinary ophthalmology under the supervision of at least one DACVO. A number of the resident’s credentials are monitored by committees of the ABVO before, during, and after the residency training program is completed. The applicant must then submit credentials for approval, if approved permission to take the ABVO certifying examination will be granted. The exam is a multi-day process consisting of multiple written and practical components. After achieving all of these criteria, a veterinarian is recognized as a “Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists” and is board-certified in veterinary ophthalmology. No one may use this title unless they have successfully completed all of these steps.
- Be a veterinarian.
- Have attained the minimum required veterinary experience. (currently 48 months; 12 months of which must be prior to residency training)
- Have completed or be scheduled to complete an ABVO-approved residency training program by August 1st of the year in which the examination is to be taken.
- Be of satisfactory ethical standing.
- Have completed and submitted by the deadline all documentation and fees required as part of the credentialing process.
- Pass a series of examinations.
- Maintain Certification through the MOC program (Diplomates boarded 2015 or later)
Just as with human medicine, veterinary medical specialists are becoming a valuable resource in treating your pet. Your general practice veterinarian has excellent training in veterinary medicine and acts as a family practice physician to your pet. But just as with human medicine, there are occasions when your veterinarian might want assistance or suggest a referral to a specialist to better meet your pet’s needs. Specialists should be board certified by the appropriate agency and are available in ophthalmology, internal medicine, surgery, pathology, oncology and radiology, cardiology, to name a few. You should not be shy about asking your general practice veterinarian for a referral to a specialist if you feel one might be helpful. Your veterinarian and the veterinary specialist will work together as a team to treat your beloved pet.
The bond between man and man’s best friend is stronger than ever, according to a survey of pet owners from the American Animal Hospital Association. It’s no surprise – looking at these numbers, at least – that folks now require their pets’ medical attention to be as good as their kids’.
- 64% expect a pet to come to their rescue if they were in distress
- 93% would risk their life for their pet
- 67% travel with their pet
- 30% say their pet is emotionally sensitive
- 36% say their pet enjoys watching television
- 58% visit their vets more than their own doctors
- 53% spend more on their pets now than three years ago
SOURCE: Survey of 1,238 pet owners in the United States and Canada who use AAHA-accredited veterinary hospitals.
Genetic testing for several inherited canine vision disorders is available to dog owners and breeders. Among the tests available are those for several forms of progressive retinal atrophy, retinal dysplasia, primary lens luxation and cataracts. Unfortunately, not all inherited eye disease in all breeds can be tested for at this time.
Breeders will no longer have to remove affected or carrier dogs from the breeding program. These tests allow for selective breeding to genetically clear dogs, significantly decreasing the risk of producing affected puppies.
Tests are available to breeders, owners, and veterinary specialists. The tests require either a blood sample or a cheek swab. Your veterinary ophthalmologist will be able to help you determine which tests would be best suited for your pet.
- Corneal ulcers
- Chronic Superficial Keratitis (“Pannus”)
- Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (“PRA”)
- Prolapsed Gland of the Third Eyelid (“cherry eye”)
- Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (“SARDS”)
When applying topical medications, only 1 drop per eye, per treatment is required. It is often times helpful to elevate the patient (if possible) onto a table or countertop to bring them out of their natural environment and better under your control. Place a towel or blanket on the surface to help your pet feel secure. It is always a good idea to clean around the eye and remove any mucus or discharge from the eye by using a clean warm washcloth or ocular wipe before administering medications.
Hold your pet gently, but firmly in front of you with their back towards you. Use your nondominant hand to elevate the chin upwards and pull back the top eyelid. Use your dominant hand to apply 1 drop of the medication. As long as the medication lands anywhere between the eyelids, you have successfully administered the medication!
- Help them memorize their environment by taking care not to move furniture or objects in the home.
- Keep their food and water bowl in the same location, to facilitate their ability to find these objects without sight.
- Train your pet on a leash inside and outside on frequent walks. Guide them using frequent voice commands like “step up”, “step down”, “to the left”, and “to the right”. This helps your pet understand these terms when not on the leash.
- Train your pet to navigate stairs in the home using the above voice commands and leash guidance. Access to stairs should be limited until your pet can handle the steps supervised without difficulty.
- Regular access to a body of water or pool should be restricted to prevent inadvertent falls into the water and potential inability to find their way back out.
“When my domestic short hair cat, Fatboy, developed a serious eye infection, I considered taking him to his regular vet. But I decided to take him to Dr. Brookshire instead. He is so afraid of strangers that he normally runs and hides, but to my surprise our visit could not have been more pleasant! Before the exam, Dr. Brookshire won Fatboy over in a matter of seconds with her calm voice and steady hands. After completing the exam and test, Dr. Brookshire determined results while we waited and prescribed the proper medications. From start to finish – under 30 minutes!
Over the next week when I phoned the office with questions, my call was returned before the end of the day with courteous professional advice. I received the same outstanding service at Fatboy’s follow-up appointment, and am happy to report his eye has healed completely. I highly recommend Dr, Brookshire for animal eye care!”
“It is with sadness that we say goodbye to Dr. Brookshire. We have always felt that she and her staff have always provided us with very professional and special care, everything from eye operations, after hour and holiday visits to help and sustain our beloved “Millie Girl” from blindness.
We have had 3 Cocker Spaniels with the same sort of problems and her care and commitment has by far been the very best!”
“Our 9 year old cocker spaniel, Mikey, suddenly went totally blind. Our vet referred us to Dr. Heather Brookshire, who examined and described him as an “interesting and puzzling case.” After performing several tests, Mikey was scheduled for surgery. But his blood work came back abnormal. Being very cautious, Dr. Brookshire referred us to an internist and later a neurologist who found Mikey had septic meningitis caused by a severe ear infection. After Mikey had ear surgery and his infection cured, Dr. Brookshire finally was able to perform eye surgery on our dog. Mikey immediately regained his vision and is more lively and happier than he has ever been!
Because of Dr. Brookshire’s expertise and caution, she not only gave Mikey his sight back but truly saved his life. We have the utmost respect for Dr. Brookshire and recommend her without reservation to anyone needing a canine ophthalmologist. She, in our opinion, is a true miracle worker.”
“I will never be able to say enough for the miracle Dr. Brookshire performed on our Japanese Chin, Precious. Precious was rushed to our local animal hospital with her eye bleeding. The vet thought it was glaucoma and wanted to remove the eye. We immediately asked for alternatives and they referred us to Dr. Brookshire immediately.
Dr. Brookshire determined that she had a corneal perforation of the left eye, not glaucoma. Dr. Brookshire gave us a couple of options fully explaining every one. We opted to have the surgery and a few hours later, we were able to bring Precious home for recovery.
During her recovery, Dr. Brookshire personally called to check up on her. Because of Dr. Brookshire our beloved pet did not lose her eye and has regained her vision. We will NEVER be able to thank her enough.”
“We want to extend to you our congratulations on your new endeavor. The only problem is that it will not be in Brevard County. We were so impressed with you and your colleagues at the clinic in Viera. You were all so caring and very knowledgeable. Billy knew he was in good hands. We will have to start out a day earlier for his re-check next year. It’s a little further to drive to Virginia. We will miss you, but wish you the very best. You are a very caring, competent Veterinarian. Your new patients are very lucky. All the best. Billy sends his love.”
“In December 2014, I received Lisa from a rescue agency. She came with almost no history and was found on the street. She was around 12 years old and blind in one eye with cataracts on both eyes.
Wanting to increase the quality of Lisa’s life I took her in for a vision check by Dr. Brookshire. Dr. Brookshire’s empathic nature instantly relaxed Lisa. She began to wag her tail! We had found the right eye Doctor! While she offered no guarantee, she told me there was a very good chance she could restore Lisa’s vision.
The results were beyond all expectations. Both cataracts had been removed and Lisa had her vision back in both eyes. Both of us will be forever grateful to Dr. Brookshire and her professional and caring staff.
Dr. Brookshire gave Lisa back her life!”
“I met Dr. Heather Brookshire and her awesome team during an emergency. They saw my Taffy immediately and provided treatment and information along with a short and long term plan of care. The team’s efficiency, receptiveness and professionalism have extended way beyond this initial visit as Taffy and I continue to see the doctor regularly. I cannot say enough good things about everyone there. If Taffy and I must make this journey, I am so glad Dr. Brookshire is mapping the course.”
“Dr. Heather was recommended to me by my vets at Animal Medical Center. Our beagle, Scooter, had completely lost his eyesight in both eyes due to cataracts. Scooter had been diagnosed as diabetic a few months prior to losing his sight. I was so impressed with Dr. Heather and all of her staff after our first visit. They were so professional and caring. All my questions and concerns were addressed. Scooter had bilateral cataract extraction the following week. Scooter was able to see immediately after his surgery! I am so thankful for all the love and care Dr. Heather and her staff provided Scooter! They are truly angels!”
“Anyone who has a Boston Terrier knows how we felt when Rooney couldn’t see the cookies we tossed on the floor for him. He tripped on curbs, missed steps…it was painful. We were referred to Dr. Brookshire for evaluation and got a diagnosis of cataracts on both eyes. I’ll be honest, the cost was a drawback for my husband, but as usual he deferred to my opinion that this was necessary to improve Rooney’s quality of life. The surgery was fairly smooth in spite of an episode under anesthesia, which is not uncommon with an 11 year old dog, but Dr. Brookshire handled it expertly and the final result was life changing for our little dog. He now sees all the cookies, all the birds, and he is now the little guy we brought home so many years ago. Albeit with a gray face and a little more chubby. My husband and I agree that it was well worth the care and expense to have our Rooney back and happy. The care and love provided by Dr. Brookshire and her staff are genuine and we are certain, if its possible, that they love our dog as much as we do and are focused on improving the lives of all her patients and their owners. I say owners, but we dog people know I really meant parents. I would refer and recommend her and her practice to anyone without reservation.”
CONSULTATION AND REFERRAL SERVICES
For any consultation or referral request, use the convenient form below. You can also download a paper form and fax it to our office.
Sometimes all you need is a quick question answered or need a second opinion to help a patient. Dr. Heather is happy to give you both.
We will gladly provide ophthalmic consultations for your patients at YOUR veterinary practice. Due to increased time allotments, please allow up to one week for these appointments.
We appreciate and accept any animal in need of ocular care. In our hands, your patients will receive the best diagnosis and care possible.