Free screening exams available to service dogs on May 30

Service Dog Eye Day 2013

Dr. Caryn Plummer and opthmology technician Holly Kitchen, standing, pose with three dog owners who brought their service animals for eye screening as part of the National Service Dog Eye Event in 2013. (File photo)

The University of Florida’s Small Animal Hospital will offer free screening eye examinations to service animals May 30 as a part of the seventh annual American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists National Service Dog Eye Exam event.

Service animals typically include guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs and formally trained and certified therapy dogs.

Only active working animals that have been certified by a formal training program or organization, or that are currently enrolled in a formal training program, qualify to receive the exam.

Dr. Caryn Plummer, an assistant professor and board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist at UF, will provide the examinations.

“Healthy eyes and vision are critical for a service animal to be able to perform to the best of its ability,” Plummer said. “Regular screening may help detect problems early that are potentially sight-or comfort-threatening, so that intervention may be possible.”

If, based on the animals’ examinations, veterinarians determine that further tests are needed, owners will have to schedule additional appointments.

For the dogs to receive the eye examinations, owners or their representatives must first fill out a registration form online at Then they must call UF’s Small Animal Hospital at 352-392-2235 to schedule an appointment for either the eye or the heart evaluations.

Callers seeking information about the eye examinations should ask to speak to ophthalmology technician Holly Kitchen, or leave a message requesting a callback for scheduling.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer these screenings for this incredibly important group of animal heroes,” Plummer said.



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Free screening exams available to service dogs on May 30

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