A steady flow of service dogs, some with vests clearly marking them thusly, some without, came through the UF Small Animal Hospital’s entrance doors May 3 to receive free eye and heart screening examinations by veterinary specialists during the hospital’s annual Service Dog Eye and Heart Day event.
Approximately 70 dogs received the exams this year.
Although not every dog wore a vest, all have “jobs” assisting their owners or their organizations. A drug-detecting K9 was there, along with dogs used in pet therapy programs and others used to alert their owners of impending seizures. The day-long event is held annually in conjunction with the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists-StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event.
UF has been providing the service for 12 years, according to Dr. Caryn Plummer, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. Plummer joined ophthalmology service chief, Dr. Ralph Hamor, and Dr. Michael Aherne, a clinical professor of cardiology, in providing the exams.