MERIDIAN, Idaho (March 26, 2015) – In the spring of 2012, Jenine Stanley and her dog, Swap, participated in the ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event just as they had each year since the program’s inception in 2008. It again took place in a participating ophthalmologist’s office, but this time ‘Swap’ was diagnosed with Pigmentary Uveitis, a condition that would affect his vision later in his career.
“The wonderful veterinary ophthalmologists saw him every six months thereafter and we monitored the condition for changes,” said Stanley. “Had I not gone to the event and had Swap’s eyes checked, the condition could have become much worse, including painful inflammation. I also would not have known what to look for in terms of changes in his work and how his actual vision is affected.”
Swap’s story is just one amongst hundreds, where this screening process has helped these amazing Service Animals and their owners manage or overcome a previously undiagnosed ophthalmic condition. 2015 marks the 8th Annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event. During April 1-30, Service Animal owners and handlers can register to receive a free screening eye exam.
Since the event’s inception in 2008, more than 30,000 Service Animals have received free screening eye exams – over 7,000 in 2014 alone. In the beginning, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® (ACVO) public relations chair, Dr. Bill Miller, recognized the good that was already being done by many members; the majority of whom already provided similar free exams across the country. He, too, employed such a program in his clinics, but he had a vision to combine and expand these individual events into something with much more of an impact.
The goal of the ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event is to provide as many free screening exams as possible to eligible Service Animals across the U.S. and Canada throughout the month of May. These Service Animals include formally trained guide, handicapped assistance, detection, military, search and rescue, and certified-current, registered therapy animals, which all selflessly serve the public. Currently, there are more than 200 participating ophthalmologists in close to 40 states across the U.S. and five provinces across Canada.
HOW TO REGISTER FOR THE 2015 EVENT:
To qualify, Service Animals must be “active working animals” that were certified by a formal training program or organization, or are currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying organization could be national, regional or local in nature. Check qualification requirements to be certain. Owners/agents for the animal(s) must FIRST register the animal via an online registration form beginning April 1 at www.ACVOeyeexam.org. Registration ends April 30.
Once registered online, the owner/agent will receive a registration number and will be allowed access to a list of participating ophthalmologists in their area. Then, they may contact a specialist to schedule an appointment, which will take place during the month of May. Times may vary depending on the facility and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so clients should try to register and make appointments early.
This year’s event is sponsored by ACVO® and Stokes Pharmacy, as well as several generous industry sponsors, volunteer ophthalmologists and staff. Participating doctors volunteer their services, staff and facilities at no charge to participate in the event.
About the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists®
The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® (ACVO®) is an approved veterinary specialty organization of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties, and is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Its mission is “to advance the quality of veterinary medicine through certification of veterinarians who demonstrate excellence as specialists in veterinary ophthalmology.” To become board certified, a candidate must successfully complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, a one-year internship, a three-year ACVO® approved residency and pass a series of credentials and examinations. For more information, please visit www.ACVO.org.
About Stokes Pharmacy
Stokes Pharmacy is a national, full-service compounding pharmacy specializing in the art and science of the custom formulation of prescription medicines for humans and animals. Leading the way in innovation, Stokes invites veterinarians to prescribe compounded medications online securely, quickly, and accurately via iFill, a cloud-based prescription management system. For more information, visit stokesrx.com.
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