UF Small Animal Hospital to offer free eye, heart screenings for service animals

Dr. Caryn Plummer examines the eye of K9 Boomer, while his owner, Officer Dale Holmes, looks on. (File photo)The University of Florida’s Small Animal Hospital will offer free eye and heart screenings for service animals on May 20 as 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 certified by or enrolled in a formal training program or organization qualify for the exam.

Caryn Plummer, D.V.M, a professor and board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, will perform the eye examinations. Board-certified veterinary cardiology faculty member Michael Aherne, D.V.M., will provide the heart screening 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 intervention may be possible,” Plummer said.

If the veterinarians determine further tests are needed, the service animals’ owners will be able to schedule appointments.

Owners or their representatives should call the UF Small Animal Hospital at 352-392-2235 and ask for Jaime Wilson to schedule an appointment for the eye and heart evaluations. Appointments will be scheduled between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Registration through the sponsor via their website, acvoeyeexam.org, is also required between April 1 and April 30.

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

 The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is supported through funding from UF Health and the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. 

Media contact: Ken Garcia at kdgarcia@ufl.edu or 352-265-9408

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Sarah Carey

Public Relations Director, College of Veterinary Medicine

Sarah Carey, M.A., A.P.R., is director of communications at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, a job she has held since 1990. Sarah holds a master’s degree in...Read More