Thanks to the generosity and resources of more than 300 board certified veterinary ophthalmologists across the U.S., Canada, Spain and Puerto Rico, more than 8,000 Service and Working Animals, including, guide, hearing assistance, disability assistance, drug detection, police/military, search and rescue, and registered therapy animals, received free sight-saving eye exams in May.
For one guide dog in particular, a loyal German Shepherd named Tulsa, the annual event has proven to be life-saving. Veterinary Ophthalmologist, Dr. Cassandra Bliss, from Bliss Animal Eye Care clinic in Central Point, Oregon, noticed abnormalities in both of Tulsa’s eyes the first time she participated in the Annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event in 2018. Impaired vision can be detrimental to Service Dogs like Tulsa, whose owner Corinne Vieville, experienced a stroke that left her unable to walk in a straight line without assistance. This German Shepherd’s eyes are especially important because she is seeing for two.
“Thanks to ACVO’s annual eye exams, we were able to detect Tulsa’s melanoma at an early stage last year and treated her using cryotherapy to stop the tumor’s growth,” said Dr. Cassandra Bliss. “This year, we were excited to have her return and are ecstatic to report that she is now cancer-free.”
Thanks to Dr. Bliss and the Annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event, Tulsa can continue to work, guiding her companion Corinne. Each May, The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® (ACVO®) holds the Annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event. The 2019 event marked the 12th year of the program and resulted in a record number of both veterinary ophthalmologist participants and Service and Working Animal eye exams. Since the program began in 2008, it has helped provide over 76,000 free sight-saving eye exams.
“Positive and life changing stories like Tulsa’s are what encourage our ophthalmologists to keep volunteering their time for this great program,” said Stacee Daniel, Executive Director of ACVO. “Each year, a growing number of our doctors and their staff dedicate their resources to make the program possible. We can’t thank them enough.”
The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists is an approved veterinary specialty organization of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties that board certifies veterinarians as ophthalmologists. Participating ophthalmologists volunteer their services, staff, and facilities at no charge to participate in the event.