UF Small Animal Hospital will offer free eye and heart screenings to service animals

the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital will be offering free eye and heart screenings for service animals on May 20 as part of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists-StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Examination event.

Service animals generally include guide dogs, disability service dogs, detection dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and formally trained and certified therapy dogs. Only active working animals certified by or enrolled in an official training program or organization are eligible for examination.

Caryn Plummer, DMV, a professor and board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist from the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, will perform the eye exams. Board Certified Veterinary Cardiology Faculty Member Michael Aherne, DVMwill provide cardiac screening exams.

“Healthy eyes and vision are essential for a service animal to perform at its best. Regular screening can help catch potentially sight- or comfort-threatening issues early, so intervention may be possible,” Plummer said.

If veterinarians determine that further testing is needed, service animal owners will be able to schedule appointments.

Owners or their representatives should call UF Small Animal Hospital at 352-392-2235 and ask Jaime Wilson to schedule eye and heart evaluations. Appointments will be scheduled between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Registration through the sponsor through its website, acvoeyeexam.org, is also required between April 1 and April 30.

“We’re so excited to be able to bring these screenings to this incredibly important group of animal heroes,” Plummer said.

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is supported by funding from UF Health and the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Media contact: Ken Garcia at [email protected] or 352-265-9408

Benjamin M. Yerger