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K-State Today

May 8, 2019

Veterinary team eyes the road to provide vision exams for service dogs

Submitted by Joe Montgomery

Jessica Meekins performs eye exam on a dog

As part of a national event, an ophthalmology team from the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University will provide free eye exams this May for guide dogs, handicap 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, or ACVO's ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event. The Veterinary Health Center has been proud to participate in this philanthropic event since 2013.

The event is sponsored by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and Stokes Pharmacy, as well as several generous industry sponsors. The doctors and staff at the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University 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 in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Anna "Katie" Huyer, a veterinary nurse, will go on the road May 14 to conduct eye exams at KSDS in Washington and at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita on May 22. 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, healthcare, retirement or the legal system.

"Our goal is to screen active working animals for eye diseases that could impair the ability to perform their job, and in doing so help them better serve their human owners and handlers," Meekins said.

During the complete ocular exam, Meekins 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/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam events online.

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