National Service Animal Eye Exam Month
Service animals are everything to the people who they live with and assist. To help service animals who selflessly make the lives of so many people easier, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) declared the month of May as National Service Animal Eye Exam Month. The ACVO will be celebrating their 11th annual event this year across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
Once the ACVO started to recognize that its board certified members were providing free exams to service animals across the country, they decided to expand on the idea and make it an occasion, called the ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event. Now, any and all exams are performed by members of the ACVO who choose to participate, and continues to gain more participants each year. Along with the financial and promotional support of the ACVO’s partner, Stokes Pharmacy, the event has grown enough to involve international members. Exams take place at many members’ clinics across the country, the full participation list is available to those that register online.
The program has three goals in the month of May. The first goal is to preserve the sight of animals who have served their owners faithfully. The second is to strengthen referral relationships with general practice veterinarians, and the last is to assist the individuals who rely on their service animals. The monthly event provides eye wellness exams to qualified service animals who provide the following services: guide, hearing assistance, drug detection, police/military, search and rescue, therapy, and those assisting people with disabilities other than blindness. All animals must be formally trained service, working or trained therapy animals that are currently working and have written proof of training.
Since 2008, nearly 60,000 working and service animals have received free exams through the program and every year, about 7,500 animals take part in the program to better their vision. Likewise, about 270 veterinary ophthalmologists in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico get involved in the program every year. This service doesn’t just help animals eyesight, but their owners finances too, $2,600,000 in total over the past ten years. That is a lot of money and animals that the ACVO has helped so far, and they are hoping that more people will learn of what they do and what their hard working members can accomplish together. By visiting the webpage of the event at https://www.acvoeyeexam.org/, you can see photos of some very happy service animals who have benefitted from this event.
Recognizing the tremendous need for service dogs among veterans of the United States military, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) has selected K9s For Warriors as its official charity.