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Service Dogs Qualify For Free Eye Exams In The U.S. And Canada

Free eye exams for service dogs.

Dr. Robert Peiffer of the Center for Animal Referral and Emergency Services examins "Eagle" during the 2009 event.

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The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, or ACVO, plans to launch the 3rd Annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam event. Thousands of guide dogs, assistance dogs, detection dogs and search and rescue dogs receive free sight-saving eye exams in the United States and Canada during the month of May.

As part of the event, more than 150 board certified veterinary ophthalmologists participate in providing free eye exams to service dogs. The goal is to make sure that these animals are being represented so they are able to keep working, according to event organizers.

Dr. Robert Peiffer says these ocular exams offer an opportunity to identify any health issues before major complications develop. “Early detection and treatment are keys to fast recovery,” he adds.

During an exam, doctors look for any retinal disease or early cataracts. They also check for things that will limit a dog’s vision down the road, such as an ingrown hair or anything that can result in a scratch of the cornea.

Registration for the event begins April 1. To qualify, dogs must be active “working dogs” that were certified by a formal training program or organization, or are enrolled in a formal training program.

Click here for more information and an online registration form. Registration ends May 16.

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