Colorado State University veterinarians and veterinary students will provide free eye exams to service dogs on Friday, May 4, at the university’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
To qualify, dogs must have been trained by a formal training program or organization in accordance with the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology guidelines. Qualifying service dog groups may be national, regional or local and include guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs, police dogs, search-and-rescue dogs and certified, trained therapy dogs.
To schedule a free exam, service dog owners must complete two separate steps. Owners must first register their animal via an online registration form at www.acvoeyeexam.org. Registration is open until April 30. Once registered online, the owner will be assigned a number and should then contact CSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital at (970) 297-4136 with the registration number to schedule the exam. Appointments are available from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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. The complimentary eye exam will screen guide dogs for vision problems. Additional services are optional and regular fees will apply.
The day is a national event that is sponsored by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. Last year, CSU veterinarians gave exams to 60 service dogs as part of the special day. In 2010, more than 3,200 service dogs nationally and in Canada had free eye exams. At Colorado State, canine eye exams are normally an $85 service.
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.