Free eye exams for service dogs at Purdue Small Animal Hospital

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine will offer free eye exams May 12-16 for active working dogs.

The exams will be available at the Small Animal Hospital to service dogs for the blind, assistance dogs for the handicapped, police dogs and specially trained search-and-rescue dogs. Dogs must be active “working dogs” in their service area and certified through a formal training program or organization to qualify for the free exam.

Jean Stiles, associate professor of veterinary ophthalmology, said exams are being offered nationwide through the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and Merial, a pet health product manufacturer.

Dog owners can qualify their dogs for an exam by preregistering at Owners are required to complete a short form online and must call the Small Animal Hospital at (765) 494-1107 for an appointment. Printouts of the form must be taken to the hospital or another participating veterinary ophthalmologist for an appointment.

“Most dogs do have good vision, but there’s a lot of eye disease in dogs, especially with many purebreds,” Stiles said.

Cataracts and retinal degeneration are common in dogs, but unlike humans, inherited eye diseases dogs experience can occur from their first year through old age, Stiles said.

Service dogs also require other veterinary care, she said.

“They certainly should have, even at the very minimum, a yearly examination by their primary care veterinarian,” she said.

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