Ophthalmologists in the 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. Among the conditions being checked are redness, squinting, cloudy corneas, retinal disease, early cataracts and other abnormalities.
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. Service animals other than dogs may also be examined.
“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,” says Brian Gilger, a professor of ophthalmology in the Veterinary Health Complex.
Owners and handlers may register their animals during April.
The program is organized by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and animal health company Merial. Nearly 16,000 service animals have been examined since the program began in 2008.