Service animal eye event offers free eye exams in May

Service animal eye event offers free eye exams in May

Free screenings for service animals help keep an eye on the eyesight of these hardworking animals.
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Mar 09, 2016

Martha Low, DVM, DACVO, a veterinary ophthalmologist at Center for Animal Referral Services (CARES) in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, is one of more than 250 veterinary ophthalmologists from the United States and Canada who will participate in the month-long event.They say eyes are windows to the soul. And for service animals, the eyes are more than a glimpse into the gentle souls of these hardworking creatures—they’re a critical tool they use to perform their work, whether they’re serving as K-9 officers patrolling the city streets, working as Diabetic Alert Dogs or working in countless other service fields.

Regular checkups are an important part of preserving these animals’ sight, and the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) is gearing up for the 9th Annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event in May. The goal: To provide as many free eye exams as possible for qualifying service animals from May 1 to May 31.

Martha Low, DVM, DACVO, a veterinary ophthalmologist at Center for Animal Referral and Emergency Services (CARES) in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, is one of the veterinarians who plans to volunteer her services to provide free eye exams to qualified service animals.

“I love participating in this event,” Low said in a hospital press release. “It allows us to really see the impact of our work and provides a screening for early detection of ocular diseases. With early detection, diseases that can potentially cause blindness may be caught and treated early, helping these important service animals keep their vision.” 

Recon, a Belgian Malinois, poses with his human partner, Officer Scherf. Recon, who is already scent-certified and soon to be a patrol and narcotics dog, received a free eye exam at CARES in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Qualified service animals may work in the following fields:

• Guide dog services

• Handicapped assistance

• Drug detection

• Military and police

• Hearing services

• Search and rescue services

• Certified and currently registered therapy animal services

The free screenings have helped more than 45,000 service animals since the program was first launched in 2008. Registration runs from April 1 to April 30. People with service dogs can check eligibility and sign up at ACVOeyeexam.org