MU College of Veterinary Medicine Ophthalmologists
Giving Free Eye Exams to Service Dogs
Guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs and search and rescue dogs selflessly serve the public with no compensation. On May 7 and 8, the ophthalmology team at University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital is giving back to these dedicated animals by participating in the Service Dog Eye Exam Day. MU CVM ophthalmologists Dr. Cecil Moore, Dr. Elizabeth Giuliano and Dr. Jacqueline Pearce will participate in the event to provide free potentially sight-saving eye exams to area service dogs. The three MU CVM veterinarians are board certified through the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.
The goal of Service Dogs Eye Exam Day is to screen service dogs to identify if any of them are affected by conditions that might potentially impact their ability to perform in various service capacities, such as guide dogs for the blind, other assistance dogs, police dogs, etc. The screening also helps breeders to avoid perpetuating potentially serious genetic eye conditions within their breeding programs.
“Our objective in participating in Service Dogs Eye Exam Day is two-fold,” Giuliano noted. “If we do identify an ocular condition in one of these extraordinary animals, the human partner who depends on the dog can determine if they would be better served by retiring the dog from active service. And, of course, as veterinary ophthalmologists, we want to make the owners of the dogs aware of medical or surgical interventions that might preserve vision to extend duration of service as well as quality of life.”
National Service Dog Eye Exam Day is sponsored by Merial, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, OPTIGEN, and Kong Veterinary Products. To qualify, dogs must be “working dogs” certified through a formal training program or organization.
How to Register
Dogs must be active “working dogs” that are certified by a formal training program or organization or currently enrolled in a formal training program to qualify. The certifying organization could be national, regional or local in nature. Specific service groups are listed at www.ACVOeyeexam.org. Owners/agents for the dog(s) will register the animal via an online registration form beginning April 1. Once registered, the owner/agent can call the MU CVM Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at 573-882-7821 to schedule an appointment.
About the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® 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 DVM degree, a one-year internship, a three-year approved residency and pass a series of credentials and examinations. For more information, visit www.ACVO.org.
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