Service Animals to Receive Free, Sight-Saving Screening Exams
Thousands of Service Animals to Receive Free, Sight-Saving Screening Exams during 7th Annual ACVO® National Service Animal Eye Exam Event
Service animal owners and handlers can register April 1-30 for a free exam in May
MERIDIAN, Idaho (Jan. 28, 2014) – Service animals including: Guide, handicapped assistance, detection, military, search and rescue, and registered therapy animals, selflessly serve the public. To honor these animals and their work, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) is launching the 7th Annual ACVO® National Service Animal Eye Exam Event throughout the month of May. More than 250 board certified veterinary ophthalmologists throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico will donate their time and resources to provide free eye exam screenings to thousands of eligible service animals. Registration for service animal owners and handlers runs from April 1 – 30 at www.ACVOeyeexam.org.Since the program’s launch in 2008, nearly 22,000 service animals have been examined. In addition to dogs, other service animals including horses and even a service donkey named Henry have received free sight-saving exams.“Early detection and treatment are vital to these working animals,” Stacee Daniel, executive director of ACVO, said. “Our hope is that by checking their vision early and often, we will be able to help a large number of service animals better assist their human friends.”Ben is a black American Field Labrador who can climb a three-story ladder, unassisted. Ben’s eyesight is vital to his job. He is a search and rescue dog from Ventura, Calif. that can be called upon at any time to rescue someone who is alive, during a disaster. Ben’s handler, Eric Darling, has brought Ben to participate in the ACVO National Service Animal Eye Exam Event for three years in a row. “Catching something early is huge!” Darling said. “This event ensures that we have the opportunity to get this exam done, with no excuses.”The event is sponsored by ACVO and generous industry sponsors. Other non-profit supporters that endorse the event include the American Veterinary Medical Association, most state veterinary medical associations in the U.S. and Canada, the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives, and other national service animal organizations.
HOW TO REGISTER FOR THE 2014 EVENT:
To qualify, animals must be “active working animals” that were certified by a formal training program or organization, or are currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying organization could be national, regional or local in nature. Owners/agents for the animal(s) must FIRST register the animal via an online registration form beginning April 1 at www.ACVOeyeexam.org. Registration ends April 30. Once registered online, the owner/agent will receive a registration number and will be allowed access to a list of participating ophthalmologists in their area. Then, they may contact a specialist to schedule an appointment, which will take place during the month of May. Times may vary depending on the facility and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
About the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists®
The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® (ACVO) is an approved veterinary specialty organization of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties, and is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Its mission is “to advance the quality of veterinary medicine through certification of veterinarians who demonstrate excellence as specialists in veterinary ophthalmology.” To become board certified, a candidate must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, a one-year internship, a three-year approved residency and pass a series of credentials and examinations. For more information, please visit www.acvo.org.