Guide dogs and other service animals are eligible for free eye examinations during the month of May, courtesy of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and Merial.
More than 200 veterinary ophthalmologists in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada have volunteered to participate in the fifth annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event.
Since the event launched in 2008, more than 10,500 service animals have been examined. In addition to dogs, other eligible service animals, including horses and even a service donkey, have participated in the program.
Courtesy of ACVO
During the ocular examination, a veterinary specialist looks for such problems as redness, squinting, cloudy corneas, retinal disease, and early cataracts.
"Our hope is that by checking their vision, we will be able to help a large number of service animals better assist their human friends," said ACVO Executive Director Stacee Daniel.
To qualify for a free eye examination, animals must be "active working animals" with certification from a formal training program or be an enrollee in a training program. Beginning April 1, owners or agents for the animal must first register the animal via an online registration form at www.ACVOeyeexam.org. Registration ends April 30.
Once registered, owners or agents will receive a registration number and will be allowed access to a list of participating veterinary ophthalmologists in their area whom they can contact to schedule an appointment. Appointments will take place during May. Times may vary, depending on the facility, and appointments are provided on a first-come, first-served basis.