Archived News


April 16, 2008

What's New ImageEditor's note: The following announcement is an adaptation of a press release distributed by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. At the School of Veterinary Medicine, faculty of the Ophthalmology Service in the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital will participate in this service event May 12.

The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) and Pet Health Systems (PHS) are launching the ACVO National Service Dog Eye Exam event the week of May 12.  This unprecedented event will provide free sight-saving eye exams and preventative health reports to 5,000-10,000 Service Dogs. 

More than 140 board certified veterinary ophthalmologists, including UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and 1,300 general veterinarians across the US, will work together to provide these services at no cost to service dog groups including: guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs, and search and rescue dogs. 

With this event, the ACVO, PHS, Merial and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine hope to give back to these animals who selflessly serve the public for no compensation. They will accomplish this goal while donating nearly $1 million dollars in services to the 5,000 -10,000 service dogs anticipated to participate.

Merial, makers of HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel) and FRONTLINE®, is the official event sponsor.

An ACVO Diplomate recently hosted a local ‘test’ event in Memphis, TN and examined 87 service dogs.  The local event was so successful that the organization decided to offer the  program on a national scale.  One seeing-eye dog, “Quest”*, was diagnosed with a possible sight-robbing tumor, which would be devastating to both him and his owner, Mr. Ron McKenney. Through the partnership of a veterinary oncologist and veterinary ophthalmologist, Quest may be able to retain his sight.

Does your dog qualify?

Dogs must be 'working dogs' certified through a formal training program or organization to qualify. 

Free eye exam and more

In addition to the eye exam, participants will receive a Pet Wellness Report (preventative health diagnosis) and blood panel through their primary care veterinarian (no cost to these doctors), sponsored by Pet Health Systems. The system is an internet site which enables the pet owner to register and agree to receive information regarding their pet’s health. Within these updates are veterinarian-recommended products and services to address the individual pet’s wellness needs.

About the organization

The 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 complete the DVM program, a one-year internship, a three-year residency--and pass a series of credentials and examinations. 

The following non-profit organizations are supporting this effort: American Animal Hospital Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, state veterinary medical associations (USA and Canada), American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives, Veterinary Hospital Managers Association, Veterinary Ophthalmic Technicians Society, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, North American Police Dog Association, National Narcotic Detection Dog Association, Patriot Paws Service Dogs, and Service Dogs of America. More organizational support is pending.

Register online before May 1

Learn if your dog qualifies and register to participate in the national program by visiting

After registering, make an appointment at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in Davis:

Call (530) 752-1393 and select the "Ophthalmology Clinic" option.


In the Ophthalmology Service at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, two board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists, Steven Hollingsworth and David Maggs, provide specialized eye care for dogs, cats, and horses. Faculty members, resident veterinarians and highly trained staff also consult with the Companion Avian and Exotic Pet Service, the California Raptor Center and the Sacramento Zoo on eye problems in a variety of birds and exotic animals. Commonly treated conditions include cataracts, glaucoma, dry eye, eyelid abnormalities, corneal disease, retinal disease, and eye injuries. Faculty members teach residents and veterinary students while conducting research projects on eye-related health issues.

See related story, "Cataract Surgery Improves Zoo Eagle's Quality of Life"