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The 9th Annual ACVO National Service Dog Eye Exam Event brings Veterinary Ophthalmologists and thousands of service animals together.

Garden City, Idaho – During May, WestVet staff members enjoy meeting some of southwestern Idaho’s four-legged heroes when service dogs receive a free eye exam as part of the ACVO National Service Animal Eye Exam Event. Since its inception in 2008, more than 45,000 Service Animals in the United States and Canada have received complimentary vision screenings; last year 40 dogs were seen at WestVet.

The free exams are performed by Carrie Breaux, DVM, MVSc, DACVO, and Amber Labelle, DVM, MS, DACVO, Idaho’s only board certified veterinary ophthalmologists. The doctors evaluate potential problems which may interfere with the animal’s ability to accomplish their tasks. Many of the problems that are diagnosed in service animals have been correctable.

WHAT A VISION SCREENING EXAMINATION ENTAILS. A detailed eye examination is performed on each service animal.  Drs. Breaux and Labelle not only evaluate the surface of the eye but the structures within the eye. Examination findings are discussed with each service animal’s human partner.

A dog may exhibit some symptoms of eye or vision issues. A handler/agent may notice that the animal begins bumping into things when outside of a familiar environment. However, other times there are no external warning signs that a problem is developing internally. A thorough exam provided by a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist can offer a proactive approach to ensuring the health of Service Animals’ eyes. Family veterinarians often refer both service dogs and family pets to a WestVet specialist if extensive therapy or treatment is deemed necessary.

National Service Animal Free Eye Exam held at WestVet for area service dogs.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE 2016 EVENT. To qualify for a free vision screening, Service Animals must be classified “active working animals” that were certified by a formal training program or organization, or are currently enrolled in a formal training program. Certifying organizations may be national, regional, or local in nature.

Registration is held April 1—30 at  www.acvoeyeexam.org.

Upon successful registration, the handler/agent will receive a registration code and then may contact a veterinary ophthalmologist at WestVet at 208.345.1600 to make an appointment.The 9th Annual National Free Service Animal Eye Exam Event takes place in May 2016

Exams take place throughout the month of May 2016; times vary and appointments are filled on a first come, first-served basis.

The goal of the ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event is to provide as many free screening exams as possible to eligible Service Animals across the U.S. and Canada. Service Animals that qualify include guide, handicapped assistance, detection, military, search and rescue, and certified-current, registered therapy animals. This year’s event is sponsored by ACVO® and Stokes Pharmacy, as well as several generous industry sponsors, and volunteer ophthalmologists. Participating ophthalmologists volunteer their services, staff members, and facilities at no charge to participate in the event.

ABOUT THE ACVO. 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 (AVMA). Its mission is “to advance the quality of veterinary medicine through certification of veterinarians who demonstrate excellence as specialists in veterinary ophthalmology.”

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