7,700 SERVICE ANIMALS RECEIVE FREE EYE EXAMS DURING THE 6th ANNUAL ACVO/MERIAL NATIONAL SERVICE DOG EYE EXAM EVENT
Meridian, ID (June 24, 2013) – The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) today announced another consecutive year of record breaking results from the 6th Annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event. With the help of more than 250 volunteer, board certified veterinary ophthalmologists throughout the U.S., as well as Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia, more than 7,700 service and therapy animals were examined during the event. Included in that number are 52 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Department of Defense dogs examined at Lackland Air Force Base this year. The 2013 total is far beyond the projection and goal of 6,000 participants this year. Guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs, search and rescue dogs, registered therapy animals and other service animals including horses received free sight saving exams.
“I am genuinely touched by the gratitude we have received from the participants of this year’s event. The letters and Facebook posts that have been sent to us regarding the generosity of our sponsors and ophthalmologists have been heartfelt and amazing,” said Stacee Daniel, Executive Director of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. “I am honored to work with such quality individuals and enjoy knowing that the ACVO and Merial are able to ‘help just a little’ those that are so deserving. Educating people about the importance of animal eye health has never been more rewarding.”
Tootie Tatum and her Service Dog, ‘Moose’, (photo on the left) participated this year. Tatum says, “My FEMA urban search and rescue dog, Moose, and I want to thank you for sponsoring this event. He had his exam today and got a clean bill of health. It means a great deal to all of us handlers. As you know, it’s expensive to maintain our dogs so events like this are a godsend!”
One dog owner also reported in on the exam by sending ACVO a note written directly from their dog, Sadie (photo on the right). “Thank you for the opportunity to get my eyes checked by a specialist. It was great and we learned why my one eye runs a little, it is nothing to worry about. We were worried, so thank you!!! Here is a picture of me in the exam room snoozing while waiting for my eyes to dilate. Xoxo”
The goals of the annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event are: to benefit individuals and society who rely on Service Dogs, strengthen referral relationships between veterinary ophthalmologists and general practice veterinarians, to gather data relative to work performance for future work recommendations and to preserve the sight of those animals who serve us selflessly.
About the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® 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 promote excellence in veterinary ophthalmology through advanced training, certification, research and education.” To become board certified, a candidate must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, a one year internship, a three year approved residency and pass a series of credentials and examinations.
The event is primarily sponsored by ACVO and Merial. Other sponsors included OcuGlo Vision Supplement, Eye Care for Animals, Optigen and WelchAllyn. Several non-profit supporters include the American Veterinary Medical Association, most state veterinary medical associations in the U.S. and Canada, American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives, and dozens of national and regional service animal organizations.
Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 6,000 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2012 sales were $2.8 billion (€2.2 billion). Merial is a Sanofi company. For more information, please see http://www.merial.com.
For more information, event photos and interviews with Stacee Daniel, Executive Director of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, please contact Audrey Strong at 720.324.8689 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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