Ophthalmologists at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine are participating in the National Service Dog Eye Exam Program and will be offering free eye examinations to qualified working or service dogs throughout May.
Organized by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) and animal health company Merial, the program is designed to support the ocular health of working dogs through examinations by board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists who donate their time and veterinary medical facilities.
Animals that may be qualified by their owners or handlers include guide dogs, hearing dogs, dogs assisting people with disabilities other than blindness, drug detection dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and formally trained and certified therapy dogs that are currently active.
“We are pleased to join ACVO and Merial in this effort,” says Dr. Brian Gilger, a professor of ophthalmology with NC State’s Veterinary Health Complex. “These dogs are dedicated and highly trained animals that perform invaluable services. We will check their eyes for redness, squinting, cloudy corneas, retinal disease, early cataracts, and other abnormalities during a complete exam. Early detection is vital and this program is an opportunity to ensure the animal’s eye health by allowing us to diagnose an ocular concern before it becomes a major issue.”
Owners and handlers have the month of April to register for the national program which involves more than 250 veterinary ophthalmologists throughout the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. A service animal other than a dog also may participate and NC State ophthalmologists will also examine these animals. Nearly 16,000 service animals have been examined since the program began in 2008.
The NC State Veterinary Health Complex Ophthalmology Service encourages those with service animals to register for a complimentary service animal eye examination at www.ACVOEyeExam.org