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UF Small Animal Hospital to offer free eye screenings to service animals

Officer Dale Holmes of the University of Florida Police Department is shown with Boomer, an explosives detective K9, as they awaited Boomer's eye examination at the UF Small Animal Hospital in May 2016. (Photo by Sarah Carey)

The University of Florida’s Small Animal Hospital will offer free eye screenings to service animals on May 12 as a part of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists-StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event.

Service animals typically include guide dogs, disability assistance dogs, detection dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and formally trained and certified therapy dogs.

Only active working animals that have been certified by or enrolled in a formal training program or organization qualify for the exam.

Caryn Plummer, D.V.M, an assistant professor and board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, will provide the eye examinations.

“Healthy eyes and vision are critical for a service animal to be able to perform to the best of its ability. Regular screening may help detect problems early that are potentially sight- or comfort-threatening, so that intervention may be possible,” Plummer said.

If veterinarians determine that further tests are needed, owners will be able to schedule additional appointments for their service animals.

Owners or their representatives should call the UF Small Animal Hospital at 352-392-2235 and ask for Katherine Devine of the ophthalmology service to schedule an appointment for the eye evaluations. Registration through the sponsor via the website acvoeyeexam.org is also required April 1-30.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer these screenings for this incredibly important group of animal heroes,” Plummer said.

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