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National Service Dog Eye Exam Event

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Garden State Veterinary Specialists

Board certified veterinary ophthalmologists across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico provide more than 7,500 Service and Working Animals with free eye exams during the month of May as part of The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO®)’s 11th annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event.

The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists is an approved veterinary specialty organization of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties that board certifies veterinarians as ophthalmologists. The organization developed the ACVO/StokesRX National Service Animal Eye Exam event in 2008, and since its inception, nearly 60,000 Service and Working Animals have received free screening eye exams — including approximately 7,500 in 2017 during the 10th Anniversary event. ACVO received a Veterinary Innovation Council (VIC) Innovation Award from The North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) in 2018 for the program's success, innovation and its saving of Service Animal owners more than $2.6 million since 2008.

Honor, a three-year-old yellow lab Service Dog trained by Freedom Dogs in San Diego, received her first free eye exam during the ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event in the 2017. Like many Service Dogs, Honor works loyally each day to help her handler, Marine Cpl. TJ Melhus, with tasks such as, medication retrieval, retrieval of dropped items, blocking people from approaching, alerting of people approaching from behind, and redirecting anxiety attacks through pressure from her chin.

“It was so important for Honor to take part in the ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event for the first time in 2017,” said Katie Stoll, Honor’s trainer/puppy raiser at Freedom Dogs. “The free eye exams provide Service Animal handlers with the comfort of knowing their animals are healthy — sight is an asset these dogs use each day to keep their handlers safe.”

Garden State Veterinary Specialists ophthalmologist, Dr. Michele Edelmann, is providing free screening exams to Service and Working Animals who had preregistered for the program during the month of May. In addition to dogs, other Service or Working Animals including horses, miniature horses, donkeys, alpacas and cats can receive free sight-saving exams.

The goal of the ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event is to provide as many free screening exams as possible to eligible Service and Working Animals. The following types of Working or Service Animals may qualify: guide, handicapped assistance, detection, military, search and rescue, and current, registered therapy animals – all whom selflessly serve the public. This year’s event is sponsored by ACVO® and Stokes Pharmacy, as well as several generous industry sponsors. Participating board certified ophthalmologists volunteer their services, staff and facilities at no charge for Service and Working Animals and their owners/agents to participate in the event.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the professional advice of your veterinarian.

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