Colorado State University veterinarians will provide free eye exams to service dogs on May 21 at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs, and search and rescue dogs can participate in the eye exam event with an appointment. Registration for appointments ends May 16. The hospital is at 300 W. Drake Road in Fort Collins.
The day, sponsored by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, is a national event. To qualify, dogs must be active working dogs that are certified by a formal training program or organization or currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying organization must be national, regional or local.
To obtain a free exam on May 21, service dog owners must complete two separate steps. Owners must first register their animal via an online registration form at www.acvoeyeexam.org by May 16. Once registered online, the owner should contact the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital at (970) 297-4137. Appointments are available from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Last year, CSU veterinarians gave exams to 60 service dogs as part of the special day. In 2008, more than 1,500 service dogs in the United States and in Canada had free eye exams, and veterinary ophthalmologists performed $500,000 worth of services. At Colorado State, canine eye exams are normally an $85 service.
As part of the day, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists will use information derived from appointments to developing a database to study potential eye problems associated with jobs that certain service dogs perform.