Three Key Messages
- The goal of the ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event is to provide as many free eye exams as possible to qualified Service Animals across the U.S. and Canada throughout May. (Please refer to the event as the ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event)
- Starting April 1st log on to www.acvoeyeexam.org to register your service dog for the event. (It’s important that people know they MUST register online first, before calling a participating Ophthalmologist.)
- The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and Merial are proud to be top sponsors for this wonderful event.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What are the warning signs a dog may have an eye sight problem?
While we receive some signs of impending problems, many things can be identified before they become unmanageable. At times you might notice your pet bumping into things when outside of their home, or sometimes squinting and rubbing of eyes. Redness. Cloudiness. But many times there are no external warning signs that a problem is developing internally.
Q: What should an owner do if they think their dog has an eye sight problem?
A: Initially they should speak to their primary care veterinarian. Most primary care providers have a relationship with a veterinary ophthalmologist, and will refer a client if they do not feel they can make the diagnosis or prescribe appropriate therapy.
Q: What does the eye exam consist of?
A: A complete exam will not only evaluate the surface of the eye but the structures within the eye as well.
We look for problems including: redness, squinting, cloudy corneas, retinal disease, early cataracts and other serious abnormalities. Early detection and treatment are vital to these working animals. More on what to expect.
Q: How does someone who has a service animal participate in the event?
A: Between April 1st and April 30th, they need to register at www.acvoeyeexam.org. View this link to understand what to expect in the registration process.
Q: What service animal groups are eligible to participate?
A: View qualifications here.
Q: How many veterinary ophthalmologists are participating?
A: Close to 200 annually.
Q: How many veterinary ophthalmologists are boarded in the United States?
A: Approximately 385; 30 of whom practice in other countries, another 20 of whom are retired.
Q: How many dogs do you expect to provide exams to?
Last year the event saw more than 4,200… and we hope that number will increase next year.
Q: How long has the event been running?
A: 2012 is the 5th year.
Q: What happens if a service animal doesn’t 'pass' their eye exam?
This is not a pass fail exam, but one that looks for potential problems which may interfere with the animal's ability to accomplish their task currently or in the future. Many of the problems that have been diagnosed in service animals have been correctable and did not progress to take the dog out of service.
Q: What type of feedback do you hear from the owners who have their dogs seen?
- Mostly positive and appreciative. It is a learning experience for most owners or handlers also.
- One of our doctors diagnosed a seeing-eye dog (Qwest) with optic nerve tumor a couple years ago. Although they were not able to cure the problem, they did diagnose the condition, which gave the owner time to adjust to the idea of needing to get a new dog and to inform the agency providing the dog aware of the need for a dog in the future. Also by treating the dog we extended the service life of the dog at least a little while.