Note to Reporters: The following release contained an incorrect date for the exam day. The eye exams will be given on May 21, not May 22 as originally stated. The information in the release below is correct.
Colorado State University veterinarians will provide free eye exams to service dogs on May 21 at the university’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs and search and rescue dogs can participate in the eye exam event with an appointment. Registration for appointments ends May 16. The hospital is at 300 W. Drake Road in Fort Collins.
The day, sponsored by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, is a national event. To qualify, dogs must be active working dogs who are certified by a formal training program or organization or currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying organization must be national, regional or local.
To obtain a free exam on May 21, service dog owners must complete two separate steps. Owners must first register their animal via an online registration form at www.acvoeyeexam.org by May 16. Once registered online, the owner should contact the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital at (970)-297-4137. Appointments are available from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Last year, CSU veterinarians gave exams to 60 service dogs as part of the special day. In 2008, more than 1,500 service dogs in the United States and in Canada had free eye exams, and veterinary ophthalmologists performed $500,000 worth of services. At Colorado State, canine eye exams are normally an $85 service.
Dogs will be examined by a board certified ophthalmologist with the assistance of CSU veterinary students. The free exams will be provided by specialized veterinarians in the university’s ophthalmology section at the hospital and veterinary students will assist. The complimentary eye exam will screen guide dogs for vision problems. Additional services are optional and regular fees will apply.
Qualifying service dog groups include guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs, police dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, and certified, trained therapy dogs from the Delta Society. Qualifying dogs also include, but are not limited to, those from local pet therapy groups including the Larimer Animal People Partnership and Human Animal Bond in Colorado. Dogs must be active working dogs certified by a formal training program or organization or currently enrolled in a formal training program to qualify.
As part of the day, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists will use information derived from appointments to developing a database to study potential eye problems associated with jobs that certain service dogs perform.