Starting April 1, registration begins for the 8th Annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event which will provide free screening/wellness eye exams to service and therapy dogs. All exams will be conducted in May.
Among the types of service dogs that qualify for the exam are guide dogs, hearing assistance dogs, drug detection dogs police/military dogs, search and rescue dogs, and dogs assisting people with disabilities other than blindness.
Since its inception in 2008 over 30,000 service animals have received free screening eye exams, over 7,000 in 2014 alone. The event is sponsored by the American College of Veterinarian Ophthalmologists.
During the examination, the ophthalmologist will examine the dogs’ eyes to determine if there are any abnormalities. The aim is to identify problems early, and isn’t appropriate for dogs with know eye problems.
Some abnormalities might need to be treated to prevent or delay progression. Other sight-threatening problems such as retinal disease, cataracts, or glaucoma can be identified.
The exam requires no sedation, requires minimal restraint, is non-painful, non-stressful, and usually takes 10-25 minutes.
All dogs must be formally trained, certified, currently working service animals OR formally trained therapy animals with proof of active registration. Click here to see the full list of qualifications dogs must meet to get an exam.
Veterinary ophthalmologists in Seattle, Kirkland, Pullman, Renton, and Spokane will conduct exams. A full contact list with clinic names and numbers will be provided to clients only after you register your dog for an exam. More cities may be added to the list as well.
Here’s how to register:
Step 1 – Check that a clinic is located in the area that the examination will take place.
Step 2 – Register qualifying animals and puppies via the online registration form. The form will be available here beginning April 1st.
Step 3 – Once registered, the owner/agent will be given a link to participating clinics and receive an email confirmation linking to the same information.
Step 4 – Contact the participating clinic to schedule an appointment and provide the registration number to the clinic. The confirmation number will be provided in the instant confirmation window after you complete registration, in addition to an email confirmation.
Step 5 – Important!
Service Animals – Owners/handlers must bring written proof of the Service Animal’s certification paperwork (showing current certification) along with a copy of our program’s confirmation email (showing registration) to the clinic for the appointment. If either documentation is missing, you may forfeit your examination time slot and/or may not be allowed to participate again in the future.
Therapy Animals – Owners/handlers must bring written proof of the current, registered certification paperwork (showing formal training and currently working) along with a copy of our program’s confirmation email (showing pre-registration) to the clinic for the appointment. If either documentation is missing, you may forfeit your examination time slot and/or may not be allowed to participate again in the future.
Click here to find complete registration information details.
If you have a qualified service or therapy dog you should definitely take advantage of this opportunity to get a free eye exam/screening for it. And if you know of people or agencies with service/therapy dogs, please let them know about the free exams.