Dear Daisy Dog
Our physically handicapped son has a service dog, Luke. Last year, an ophthalmologist examined Luke’s eyes at no charge, as part of a national service dog program. Do you know if the program will be repeated this year?
Yes, it will. In May, more than 160 board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists in the U.S. and Canada will donate their time to conduct complimentary eye examinations on active service dogs.
To qualify, the dog must be formally trained or certified -– or in training -– to assist the handicapped, guide visually impaired people, detect drugs or explosives, assist police officers, aid fire fighters or search for lost people. Certified therapy dogs also qualify.
The National Service Dog Eye Exam is sponsored by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology (ACVO), Merial and other veterinary organizations. Last year, more than 1600 dogs were checked.
For this year’s exam, register Luke between April 1 and May 16 at www.acvoeyeexam.org. During registration, ACVO will direct you to a participating veterinary ophthalmologist near you.
The specialist will screen Luke for eye problems that might affect his vision, such as cataracts, retinal abnormalities or even an eyelash rubbing against the surface of his eye. I hope that, like most active service dogs, Luke has healthy eyes.
The results of all the service dog eye exams conducted over the years will be compiled to determine whether particular working dogs’ activities present risks to their eyes.