Colorado service dogs stay healthy via free eye exams from Veterinary Referral Center

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Posted 5/21/13

Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado ophthalmologists are teaming up with a national campaign to offer free eye exams for service dogs during the month of May.

Veterinary  Referral Center of Colorado ophthalmologists are teaming up with a national campaign to offer free eye exams for service dogs during the month of May.

Three of VRCC’s board certified specialists are providing checkups for dozens of area service dogs as part of the program sponsored by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.

Drs. Matthew Chavkin, Tanja Nuhsbaum and Bradley Graham examine eligible dogs which include guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, and police detection dogs.

VRCC’s team is assisting the Lakewood Police department’s narcotic detection K-9 unit this year. VRCC has assisted the department for the past several years in maintaining the K-9’s eye health.  Colorado’s Guild Assistance dog Partners or GAP Service Dogs, as it is known, is taking part, bringing their dogs into the facility to be examined. GAP is a non-profit organization dedicated to placing trained dogs with individuals with varying disabilities.

Angel Service Dogs out of Monument, Colorado had their dogs in VRCC’s facility earlier this month. Angel Service Dogs help people with life threatening food allergies, with dogs able to detect peanuts, tree nuts, egg, dairy, soy, wheat, and other allergens that can cause anaphylaxis.

"These dogs improve lives and provide critical support to their owners and members of law enforcement," Chavkin said. "Eyesight is paramount to the dog being able to continue working and helping people stay independent.”

All the VRCC ophthalmology exams are key in early detection of eye disease, when treatment is more likely to aid in a faster recovery.

ACVO’s national program includes more than 200 board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico who will provide free sight-saving eye exams to thousands of service dogs. 

For more information on veterinary ophthalmology and eye health for pets, visit the ophthalmology articles section on VRCC’s website.