Veterinary team eyes the road to provide vision exams for working dogs
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Jessica Meekins, associate professor of opthalmalogy at Kansas State University, gives a dog an eye exam. | Download this photo.
MANHATTAN — As part of a national event, an ophthalmology team from the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University will provide free eye exams in May for guide dogs, disability assistance dogs, detection dogs, military working dogs and other search-and-rescue dogs that selflessly serve the public.
Each year, board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico collectively provide more than 7,500 free eye exams as part of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists/Epicur Pharma National Service Animal Eye Exam event. The Veterinary Health Center has participated in this philanthropic event since 2013. After a two-year hiatus due to the global pandemic, the event resumes in 2022.
The event is sponsored by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and Epicur Pharma, as well as several generous industry sponsors. The doctors and staff at the K-State Veterinary Health Center and 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 year the K-State team of Jessica Meekins, associate professor of ophthalmology, and Amy Rankin, professor of ophthalmology, both in the College of Veterinary Medicine, along with Jennifer Klingele, a registered veterinary technician and a veterinary nurse in the Veterinary Health Center's ophthalmology department, will go on the road in May to conduct eye exams at KSDS Assistance Dogs Inc. in Washington. KSDS is a nonprofit organization that provides guide dogs for the visually impaired, service dogs to assist individuals with physical disabilities, and facility dogs that assist professionals in the field of education, counseling, health care, retirement or the legal system. Meekins, Rankin and Klingele also will go to Wichita and make stops at McConnell Air Force Base and the Wichita Police Department to provide exams for military and police working dogs.
"Our goal is to screen active working animals for eye diseases that could impair their ability to perform their jobs, and in doing so, help them better serve their human owners and handlers," Meekins said.
During the complete eye exam, Meekins and Rankin will 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.
Read more information about American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists/Epicur Pharma National Service Animal Eye Exam events.
Clients may schedule an appointment at the Veterinary Health Center by calling the small animal desk at 785-532-5690.