The University of Florida’s Small Animal Hospital will offer free eye screenings and heart examinations to service animals on May 8 as a part of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists’ National Service Dog Eye Exam event. Service animals typically include guide dogs, disability assistance dogs, detection dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and formally trained and certified therapy dogs.
Only active working animals that have been certified by a formal training program or organization, or those enrolled in a formal training program, qualify for the exam. Caryn Plummer, D.V.M, an assistant professor and board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, will provide the eye examinations. Simon Swift, Vet.M.B., an assistant professor and board-certified veterinary cardiologist, will provide the heart screening examinations.
“Healthy eyes and vision are critical for a service animal to be able to perform to the best of its ability,” Plummer said. “Regular screening may help detect problems early that are potentially sight- or comfort-threatening, so that intervention may be possible.”
If veterinarians determine that further tests are needed, owners will be able to schedule additional appointments for their service animals.
Owners or their representatives are required to fill out a registration form at www.acvoeyeexam.org and then should call UF’s Small Animal Hospital at 352-392-2235 to schedule an appointment for the eye evaluations.
“We are very pleased to be able to offer these screenings for this incredibly important group of animal heroes,” Plummer said.