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30+ Years of Combined Equine Exclusive Veterinary Experience

Paragon Equine was created by three similar-minded equine professionals that shared the desire to create a small, privately owned practice focused on providing personalized service to owners that desire the best for their horses. 

Our Team

Alexis Theiss, DVM


Dr. Theiss was born and raised in the McLean/Great Falls area with three sisters and a variety of pets from horses to boa constrictors to exotic parrots. There she learned to ride horses at a young age and competed on the local show circuit. Dr. Theiss participated with the local pony club and taught children to ride in summer camps for several years. She spent multiple summers working on a thoroughbred breeding farm where she discovered her love of breeding horses. Dr. Theiss graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Biology before attending the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, where she received her DVM in 2004. Dr. Theiss was an associate equine veterinarian at The Piedmont Equine Practice in the Plains, Virginia from 2004 until 2022.


In addition to her regular ambulatory equine practice, Dr. Theiss’ special interest centers around reproduction, foals and sports medicine. Current interests involve riding her mare Nebelfee, gardening and her eclectic mix of farm poultry. Her hobbies include a toucan named TinTin, never-ending farm projects and re-establishing the Silken Windhound breeding program to the East Coast. Dr. Theiss lives in Upperville Virginia on a horse farm with her husband, three kids and an assortment of beloved pets.  


Jena Porto, DVM



Dr. Porto grew up in a small steel mill town outside of Pittsburgh, PA. Animals were always a source of love and inspiration for her but she didn’t discover her fascination with horses until she attended college. Dr. Porto obtained a bachelor's degree in Animal Science from Penn State University during which time she worked for the campus Quarter Horse breeding farm as a foal team member, veterinary assistant and farm hand. She then completed her education with a veterinary degree from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012.


Dr. Porto moved to The Plains, Virginia following graduation to enlist as a veterinarian at The Piedmont Equine Practice in 2012. Dr. Porto remained an associate equine veterinarian at Piedmont Equine until 2022. Dr. Porto specializes in sports medicine, dentistry and emergency medicine but prides herself in excelling as a general practitioner. Over the years Dr Porto has mastered the art of in depth anatomical diagnostic ultrasound to assist with diagnosis of a variety of musculoskeletal issues.  Using advanced imaging techniques, regenerative medicine and her sports medicine skills, Dr Porto succeeds in keeping our equine athletes


Other passions include her Weimaraner, Daphne who accompanies her on farm calls; hiking, biking, reading and woodworking with her husband David. Dr. Porto lives in Purcellville, Virginia in the house she and her husband built together. Dr Porto and her husband also own a few thoroughbred racehorses.

Amanda "Mandy" Steinhoff

Practice Manager


Mandy was born and raised in Thomson, Georgia amongst Pine Top Eventing and the Belle Meade Hunt. Mandy’s obsession with horses began at age 4 after she took her first riding lesson and has only grown throughout the years. Mandy has worked professionally with horses predominantly in the eventing, show jumping and fox hunting disciplines.  She is an active member of Piedmont Foxhounds and periodically shows at Twilight Jumpers and the Upperville Horse Show.  Mandy also owns several warmblood broodmares and greatly enjoys producing sport horses for her and her husband to ride.  

In 2007 Mandy was invited to Middleburg, VA by a family friend and was offered a position working with foxhunters and polo ponies at a local barn. Excited by the opportunity, Mandy accepted the job.  Following her graduation from Augusta University with a degree in Business Management in 2008, she moved to Middleburg. 


In 2011 Mandy was looking for a change professionally and accepted the opportunity to join The Piedmont Equine Practice, located in The Plains, Virginia as a receptionist. Over time Mandy continued to take on more management responsibility which led to her role as the Practice Manager from 2013 until 2020.   Mandy and her husband, Steve Steinhoff live in Bluemont, Va with their two children Payton and Preston. They own and operate Vista Farms East where the focus is on young horse development and foxhunters. 

In 2022, Mandy was approached by her former colleagues, Dr. Alexis Theiss and Dr. Jena Porto, to help them start their own mobile equine practice and she eagerly accepted.


Erika Offutt


Veterinary Assistant

Erika Offutt was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. Although surrounded by family who were into every kind of sport, at the age of five, she was the one who caught the “horse fever.” As the only family member to ride horses, she grew up taking lessons and becoming a working student outside of school to be around horses any chance she could. Throughout high school, college, and nursing school, Erika worked full time to support keeping her horses. Visiting Middleburg frequently and attending the Upperville horse show made it a dream to one day move to the area.

 In 2007, Erika and her now husband, Woody, bought a horse farm in Middleburg, Va. Woody introduced Erika to foxhunting in Maryland, but once they had a taste of hunting with Piedmont, shifted their focus on becoming immersed in the tradition. For several years Erika continued to commute between Maryland and Virginia for work, with the goal of transitioning full time to this area.
With the opportunity to be a part of the Paragon "dream team" of women, whom she came to know and admire through being previous clients of, she was absolutely thrilled to join them on their new venture and work with women so compassionate about their clients and patients.

Referral Specialists

Piedmont Equine

Piedmont Vet Logo

Equine Vet & Hospital 

Piedmont Equine is our hospital of choice for referral cases. The Piedmont Equine Practice provides comprehensive care for equine athletes at all levels – from performance horses to trail horses, companions and retirees through ambulatory farm calls or in our state of the art hospital. Coverage for emergencies is available 24/7.

Veterinarians in the practice have special interests in sports medicine and reproduction. Piedmont has two boarded surgeons who are critical care specialists, as well as staff doctors who have obtained national certification to provide alternative modalities such as acupuncture and chiropractic. We have top boarded referral specialists available in many fields including internal medicine and ophthalmology.

It is the goal of The Piedmont Equine Practice to make cutting edge medical care available to every horse owner.

Catherine Nunnery, DVM, DACVO

Ophthalmology Specialist

Dr. Nunnery was raised in Bowie, Maryland and started riding hunt seat as a young teen. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Equine Studies from Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ.  Dr. Nunnery found her passion for veterinary medicine while managing both Ri-Arm Farm in Franklin Lakes, NJ and Centenary College Equestrian Facility in Long Valley, NJ after college. She completed post-baccalaureate work at the University of Maryland, College Park and was awarded her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree by Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, VA. 


After graduation, Dr. Nunnery completed a surgery and medicine internship at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, KY. During her internship Dr. Nunnery was dedicated to learning more about the eye and spent free time with Dr. Claire Latimer one of the only solely equine ophthalmologists. Directly after her internship Dr. Nunnery completed a three year residency in comparative ophthalmology at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, FL.  During her residency she was trained, mentored and complete research with Dr. Dennis Brooks the world renowned equine ophthalmologist.  She was honored with the "Jules & Lucy Silver Animal Bedside Manner Award" given by the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2009. Dr. Nunnery was board certified and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology in 2010.


In 2011 she return home and started Equine Veterinary Vision, Inc. to serve the equine community in the DC area, while practicing ophthalmology at Veterinary Referral Associates in Gaithersburg, MD.  Dr. Nunnery was the head of Large Animal Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center from 2014-2017.  She now is one of a few board certified veterinary ophthalmologist that solely practices equine and the only one in the Mid-Atlantic region. Dr. Nunnery lectures to veterinarians, veterinary students and equine enthusiasts, locally, nationally and internationally on large variety of equine ocular conditions.


Amy Polkes, DVM


Internal Medicine Specialist

Dr. Amy Polkes is a board certified Equine Internal Medicine specialist. Dr. Polkes received her Bachelor in Science from Cornell University and her degree in Veterinary Medicine from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. She was in private equine practice for several years before continuing her training at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine with a residency in Large Animal Internal Medicine. In 2002, after completing her residency program, she established an Equine internal medicine mobile consulting practice in Maryland and Virginia as well as providing consultation for Antech Diagnostics on equine medicine cases. Dr. Polkes has now grown her referral practice, Equine Internal Medicine and Diagnostic Services (Equine imed), to provide mobile equine internal medicine services in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. Her goal is to provide an alternative to referral institutions, allowing for evaluation at your farm or at your primary veterinarian’s facility.


The most common cases that are referred for an internal medicine consultation are: Respiratory disease – including poor performance, chronic cough and difficult respiratory cases. Gastrointestinal diseases- gastroscopy, weight loss, colic, chronic colic, other. Neurological disease- Comprehensive neurological evaluations, CSF taps. Ophthalmology-difficult ophthalmology cases. Cardiac- evaluation of murmurs, arrhythmia’s, PPE including echocardiography, ECG and holter monitor.


Dr. Polkes is also the Medical Director at Antech Diagnostics. She has helped to facilitate the expansion of Equine Diagnostic testing within Antech Diagnostics to provide more comprehensive and advanced equine diagnostic testing. She continues to work with Antech to offer quality and affordable diagnostic testing to equine practitioners and provide continuing education on equine diagnostic testing.


Dr. Polkes resides in Maryland with her husband (who specializes in small animal internal medicine), her 2 teenage children and her 3 dogs. She enjoys hiking, biking and skiing and spending time with her family at all of the various sports activities!

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