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Penn Vet Ophthalmologists to Conduct Free Eye Exams for Service Dogs

Date: Apr 24, 2013

Registration for the 6th annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam event at Penn Vet now open

[April 16, 2013; Philadelphia, PA] – The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s Ryan Hospital is once again participating in the National Service Dog Eye Exam sponsored by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) and Merial.

From May 20 – 24, Penn Vet’s Dr. Gustavo Aguirre, professor of ophthalmology; Dr. William Crumley, staff ophthalmologist; and Dr. Stephen Gross, staff ophthalmologist, will join 190 ACVO board-certified ophthalmologists conducting eye examinations.

The ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam is a philanthropic effort generously provided to the public by the board-certified Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, who donate their time and services to provide free ocular exams to qualified service animals.

As a way to serve dogs who dedicate their lives to serving us, these exams are free to registered service dogs across the United States and Canada. Through these efforts, service dog health can be improved and potential disease averted.

How to Make an Appointment

To qualify, animals must be “active working animals” that were certified by a formal training program or organization or currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying organization could be national, regional or local in nature.

  1. Owners/agents for the animal(s) must FIRST register the animal via an online registration form at Registration ends April 30th.
  2. Once registered online, the owner/agent will receive a registration number and will be allowed access to a list of participating ophthalmologists in their area.
  3. Owner/agent may then contact Ryan Hospital’s appointment desk (215.746.8387) to schedule an appointment.

Appointments will take place between May 20 – 24 at Penn Vet and throughout the month of May at other participating locations. On May, 21 Dr. Aguirre will make a special trip to Penn Vet’s Working Dog Center to give eye exams to all 12 training dogs.

Appointments are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

What Veterinary Ophthalmologists Look for During the Exam

During the complete ocular exam, veterinary specialists look for problems including: redness, squinting, cloudy corneas, retinal disease, early cataracts and other serious abnormalities. Early detection and treatment are vital to these working animals.

About the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists

The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® is an approved veterinary specialty organization of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties, and is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Its mission is “to advance the quality of veterinary medicine through certification of veterinarians who demonstrate excellence as specialists in veterinary ophthalmology.” To become board certified, a candidate must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, a one-year internship, a three year approved residency and pass a series of credentials and examinations.

Sponsors of the ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event include: Merial, Ocu-Glo Rx Canine Vision Supplement, Welch Allyn, Aventix Animal Health and Eye Care for Animals as well as many non-profit supporters including the American Veterinary Medical Association, most state veterinary medical associations in the U.S. and Canada, American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives, and other national service animal organizations.

About Merial

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 5,600 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2010 sales were more than $2.6 billion. Merial is the animal health division of sanofi-aventis. For more information, please see