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April 19, 2013

Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine offers free eye exams for service dogs

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine will offer free eye exams for certified service dogs on May 6. 

"These dogs are such an important part of their owner's and handler's everyday life that it is critical to make sure the dogs have healthy vision so they can perform their jobs well," said Wendy Townsend, an assistant professor of veterinary ophthalmology. "Ophthalmologists are going to be able to help prevent long-term problems because they'll be able to see smaller issues that owners or handlers may not notice until they become big problems."

To qualify for the free exam, dogs must be certified, actively working or currently enrolled in a formal training program. Types of working dogs that would be eligible include guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, and those used by police and fire departments for detection and search and rescue.

This free service is being offered as part of the sixth annual American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO)/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam event, during which ACVO ophthalmologists donate their time to provide the screening to qualified service dogs. The ACVO is an approved veterinary specialty organization of the American Board of Veterinary Specialists and is recognized by the American Veterinarian Medical Association.

To schedule an exam, owners must first register online before April 30 by visiting the ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam website at http://www.acvoeyeexam.org/. Follow the links for "Dog Owners/Participants" and "Registration and Qualifications." Once a dog is registered, the appointment can be scheduled at the Purdue Veterinary Teaching Hospital by calling 765-494-1107. The available exam slots will be filled on a first-come basis.

The Purdue Veterinary Teaching Hospital is part of the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine, which was established in 1959. The hospital provides services to both large and small animals and is the only veterinary teaching hospital in Indiana. The hospital serves as a full-service veterinary medical referral center, providing specialty services that include, but are not limited to, ophthalmology, internal medicine, surgery, emergency and wellness care. 

Writer: Morgan Stephens, 765-490-4855, morganlstephens@gmail.com

Sources: Kevin Doerr, 765-494-8216, doerrkr@purdue.edu

Wendy Townsend, 765-494-1107, townsenw@purdue.edu