There’s a little veterinary practice tucked in at a bend in Rt. 360 as it winds through Heathsville. Countless cats, dogs, an occasional goat, and even a hedgehog, have come through the doors of Heathsville Animal Hospital since 1956, when Dr. Jim Hundley first built and ran the practice. Dr. Bill Armstrong is the veterinarian now and has been for over 30 years. But other than that, little has changed at the practice. Even some of the office staff has been there for decades.
Armstrong, who has been described by some as a “friendly country doctor,” is originally from Cumberland, Maryland. He began coming to the Northern Neck as a child, spending summers on his great-uncle’s small farm in Smith Point. After receiving his veterinary degree in 1984 from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, he ended up back in Heathsville, a full-fledged doctor at the practice where he had previously interned.
His warm demeanor and pragmatic approach to animal care has earned him supporters of both the two and four-legged variety, creating a bustling practice that has, over the decades, outgrown the footprint of the building and the abilities of one doctor to handle.
“I’ve been thinking about expanding for some time,” Armstrong said. That expansion comes in the form of a brand new facility being built just down the road, next to the Heathsville YMCA. The new Heathsville Animal Clinic, scheduled to open in spring of 2019, will include three exam rooms (up from a single room at the current office), a lab, dedicated space for surgery and dentistry, boarding facilities and most importantly, new radiology capabilities. Having x-rays on-site will allow Armstrong to further diagnose and treat animals at the practice, where normally he would have to send them down the road to either Kilmarnock or Warsaw. It’s a convenience that both pets and their owners will appreciate.
Expansion of the practice has also come from the addition of a new doctor, and it’s no coincidence that he’s also named Dr. Armstrong. Daniel Armstrong has been accompanying his father to work and on calls since “he was in a car seat” says Bill. After many summers working at the veterinary clinic in Kilmarnock as a teen, Daniel knew veterinary medicine was in his future, “but there was never any pressure” to come back to the practice. In fact, Bill didn’t “count on him joining me until he actually showed up.” Daniel started in mid-June after receiving his veterinary degree at Mississippi State. It’s been a wonderful learning experience for the father and son team. “He’s given me leeway when I needed it and advice when it’s been asked for, Daniel said.
For the full article, pick up the latest Northumberland Echo 1/9/19
Together, Dr. Bill Armstrong and his son Dr. Daniel Armstrong run Heathsville Animal Hospital.