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During May the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists offers free eye exams for service dogs.

It was set up to help ensure that these valuable assistants to humans get proper health care-and includes dogs, cats, horses, and one donkey!  Launched in 2008, the program has examined more than 96,000 animals and is now in more than 43 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Exams are to detect poor vision, retinal disease, glaucoma, and cataracts, and is a non-invasive procedure that takes less than 15 minutes.

Eligibility guidelines are that the animal be currently working, formally trained service animal*, certified therapy animal with a proof of active registration.

If your pet is eligible, you need to look for a provider near you (this can be done at http://acvoeyeexam.org). You need to complete the application on line, and bring it with you on the day of the exam. The guidelines for formally trained animals are to ensure that data collected can be used to identify potential eye problems that may be related to the animals work, and to prevent people who in the past claimed their pet was a service animal, but was not. Services are provided by volunteer ophthalmologists whose clinical resources may be limited, so the goal is to ensure these volunteers continue to provide their services for those who are most in need.

Registrations for the clinics start on April 1st, and continue for the entire month. Appointments are limited, so early registration on line is recommended.

*Qualified service animal applies to ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event.