Great Opportunity for Washington Service Dogs
This May, more than 7,500 Service and Working Animals will receive free sight-saving eye exams in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
Service Animals that may qualify include: guide, disability assistance, detection, military, search and rescue, and also certified-current, registered therapy animals.
The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO®) developed the annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event as a national platform to address eye health, which is critical for the safety of the animals and their handlers.
The event was originally prompted by ACVO’s recognition that many of its board-certified ophthalmology specialists were providing free eye exams for eligible service dogs.
“It’s super powerful and rewarding,” said Beth Rivard, Executive Director Prison Pet Partnership. “The ACVO/StokesRx eye exam program saves so much in providing veterinary care so we can continue to place Service Dogs with no cost to the client while giving back to the community at the same time.”
The goal of the ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event is to provide as many free screening exams as possible to eligible Service Animals across the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, throughout the month of May.
And for the first time ever, other international members across the globe have been invited to participate.
Qualifications for Free Eye Exam
To qualify, Service Animals must be “active working animals” certified by a formal training program or organization. Or they can currently be in a formal training program.
The certifying organization can be national, regional or local in nature.
Click here for more qualification details, including requirements for testing on puppies and non-canine assistance animals.
Clinics in the following cities in Washington will participate in the event: Kirkland, Olympia, Renton, Spokane, and Tacoma.
ACVO® and Stokes Pharmacy sponsored the event, as well as several generous industry sponsors. Participating board-certified ophthalmologists volunteer their services, staff and facilities at no charge for Service Animals and their owners/agents to participate in the event.
What Happens During Your Dog’s Eye Exam?
During the examination, the ophthalmologist will examine the eyes to determine if there are any abnormalities. The aim is to identify problems early.
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.
Ophthalmologist Dr. Nathan Kice personally provided eye exams through the ACVO’s program for more than 300 Service Animals including Liam in the past nine years at his clinic, Summit Veterinary Referral Center in Tacoma, Washington.
“It is an absolute feel-good experience to clear a healthy dog and provide peace of mind for their handlers. Early diagnosis is key to treating ocular disease,” said Dr. Kice. ”
Registration Begins April 1
Owners/agents for the animal(s) must first register the animal via an online registration form beginning April 1 at www.ACVOeyeexam.org.
Registration begins at 8AM Mountain Standard Time (6PM Pacific Standard Time) on April 1 through the end of the month
After registering, dog owners/agents will receive a registration number and can access to a list of participating ophthalmologists.
They may then contact a specialist to schedule an appointment, which will take place in May.
A limited number of appointments will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, so don’t put off registering for too long or you may not get one.