The eye exams will be provided free of charge to eligible service animals including detection dogs, guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs and therapy animals.
To qualify, animals must be “active working animals” that were certified by a formal training program or organization or are currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying organization can be national, regional or local in nature.
“Service animals are one of the best examples of the benefits that the human-animal bond brings to people, and they need excellent vision to continue their important work,” says Douglas Aspros, DVM, president of the AVMA.
Nearly 16,000 service animals, ranging from guide dogs and detection dogs to horses and even a donkey, have been examined since the program launched in 2008.
“The ACVO has had the privilege of working with military working dogs, animals that help secure our airports, an organization providing psychiatric service dogs to soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, local fire, rescue and police agencies, and also individual service animals that help people with disabilities,” says the organization’s Bill Miller, DVM, Dipl. ACVO. “Early detection and treatment are vital to these working animals and the important work they do.”
Ophthalmologists from BluePearl Veterinary Partners will be conducting free eye exams for service dogs during this year’s 6th Annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event in May. Registration for the free eye exams must be completed by service animal owners or handlers at AcvoEyeExam.com by April 30.
“I have been participating in this event since the beginning and I love it,” says Dr. Jennifer Welser, a board-certified specialist in veterinary ophthalmology and medical director of BluePearl in Manhattan. “It is such a great opportunity to provide care to our dedicated and invaluable service animals.”
Once registered online, the owner/agent will receive a registration number and will be allowed access to a list of participating ophthalmologists in their area. Then they may contact a specialist to schedule an appointment. Appointments will take place during the month of May. Times may vary depending on the facility and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information or to register for the event, click here.
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