Registration is now open for the 6th Annual ACVO/Merial Service Dog Eye Exam Event, which offers free eye exams for service animals during the month of May.
Online registration is open until April 30 for the free exams, which are conducted by 250 board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists at locations across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The event is sponsored by the American College of Veterinary Opthalmologists.
Guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs and other service animals (including horses) “selflessly serve the public,” say the event organizers, and the free exams are a way to help the animals stay healthy and productive, and keep to their human partners safe.
To qualify for a free exam, service animals must be active “working animals” that were certified by a formal training program or organization or currently enrolled in a formal training program.
Once the animal has been registered for a free exam, the human partner will receive a registration number and can then contact a participating veterinary ophthalmologist directly to schedule an appointment during the month of May. Appointment dates and times are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
In 2012, some 5,000 animals were seen by volunteer veterinarians in May. Since the program launched in 2008, nearly 16,000 service animals have been examined.