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September 15, 2013

Birdneck Animal Hospital – a family-run business for your pet-care needs


By Gregory Wright

It’s a Shore Thing Correspondent

Birdneck Animal Hospital is easy to spot – just look for the cat-like dolphin statue out front. Doctor Wayne Johnson and his wife, Kimberly, decided to open the practice in 2008 because it brought them to Virginia Beach and to the Atlantic Ocean.

Located on North Birdneck Road, just north of Interstate 264, Birdneck Animal Hospital is a fully equipped, family-run practice with modern equipment and treatments usually found in much larger animal hospitals. It’s close to the Oceanfront and the North End, and is open for business.

Dr. Johnson has always loved animals. At a young age, he admired a vet and thought at the time: “What a wonderful job to have. He spends all day making animals feel better.”

Besides dogs and cats, Wayne treats “pocket pets” such as hamsters, gerbils and rats, and reptiles, sugar gliders, chinchillas and ferrets. He has treated an alligator, a binturong (a “bear cat” from southeast Asia that smells like popcorn), monitor lizards and a snapping turtle whose shell had been crushed. He does not usually treat sick birds, although he is called upon to give them beak, wing and nail trims.

Dr. Johnson has approximately 2,000 active clients for whose pets he provides routine, preventative and emergency care. His staff takes photos of his new patients and Kimberly posts them on the hospital’s Facebook page. New patients – and their owners – will also see a sign welcoming them when they appear for their first appointment.

The practice has examination rooms, a pharmacy, a radiology facility, an in-house laboratory, a treatment room with a boarding and bathing facility and an operating room.  Its equipment includes a surgical laser, a therapeutic laser and an X-ray machine. The cat examination room is used exclusively for cats and comes with a pheromone dispenser that helps soothe the feline patients during their examinations. The hospital operates during normal business hours but Dr. Johnson provides his cell phone number to clients and keeps himself “on call” until 10 p.m. If he cannot care for an animal during non-business hours, he will refer the pet owner to a 24-hour facility.

Not only does Dr. Johnson pride himself on being a family doctor, his hospital is also a family affair. Kimberly manages the books and runs the website and Facebook page. His son, Adam, who attends Kellam High School, works in the hospital part-time and intends to become a veterinarian like his dad. The staff makes up the rest of the family and conveys this feeling to every client who walks through the front door. Even the pets seem to know that they are welcome.

Recently, Kimberly became a wildlife rehabilitator; she is raising three baby opossums that were found in their dead mother’s pouch. Two have been flourishing under her tender loving care. The third has had developmental problems, but is responding well to Kim’s ministrations and therapeutic laser treatments.

Dr. Johnson obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont, his master’s degree at Rutgers University and his Veterinary Medical Degree from the University of Pennsylvania. HE interned in Darian, Conn., for one year before commencing his practice. He has been at it for 26 years.

He is active locally with the Virginia Beach Angler’s Club and The Virginia Beach Noblemen. Dr. Johnson helped find and assists in running the Noblepet chapter of the Noblemen. (More information may be found at

Birdneck Animal Hospital also offers several levels of affordable health care plans. The plans provide for services such as basic care, spaying and neutering, unlimited visits, vaccines and heartworm tests. Pet owners may contact the hospital by calling 757-425-9426 or by going to



About the Author

It's a Shore Thing
If you happen to live near the shore, you already know many of the amazing businesses, shops, services and restaurants around. But, you don't know them all! This is where you learn about the unique places you haven't tried as well as special messages and deals from those you love! Your community resource to find the local things important to you, online, mobile, and your iPad.



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