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ACVO steps up to serve service animals

7,625 patients received free eye exams from board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists.

ACVO steps up to serve service animals
Dr. Daniel Brown examines a service dog in Jacksonville, Florida, during the ACVO/StokesRx National Eye Exam Event.
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Just over 300 board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists teamed up in May to check the eyesight of 7,625 service and working animals.

The 11th annual National Service Animal Eye Exam Event was organized by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and Stokes Pharmacy.

The service is an important money saver for charitable groups like Florida Service Dogs, which delivered patients to Daniel Brown, DVM, DACVO, at Animal Eye Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

“As a nonprofit, we need to save money wherever we can so that it can go to training our dogs for those in need,” said Carol Christopherson, founder of Florida Service Dogs. “A program like this, where 40 to 60 of our dogs can be screened for such an important exam — free-of-charge, no less — has been so invaluable to our organization.”

Veterinary ophthalmologists from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Spain volunteered their time and resources to conduct the screenings.

The 2018 event was instrumental in flagging a problem with Woodie, a 5-year-old standard poodle trained to assist Colorado owner Mark Carnes with his balance.

Woodie’s screening revealed bleeding and lesions on his retinas. The condition would lead to blindness if left untreated, the ACVO reported.

“Had we not gone … I wouldn’t have known anything was wrong because he wasn’t exhibiting any other symptoms,” Carnes said. “We are now scheduled for a follow-up appointment in the coming weeks to treat Woodie’s condition before it progresses.”

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