Free Eye Exams Foster VTH Awareness

May 15, 2015

Veterinary Ophthalmology Technologist Cassandra Cords assists as Associate Professor of Ophthalmology Wendy Townsend examines the eyes of Séamus, an assistance dog for Kristine Rhodes of Logansport.

Veterinary Ophthalmology Technologist Cassandra Cords assists as Associate Professor of Ophthalmology Wendy Townsend examines the eyes of Séamus, an assistance dog for Kristine Rhodes of Logansport.

More than a dozen service dogs received free eye exams Monday (May 11) courtesy of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital's Ophthalmology Service, which again participated in the annual American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO)/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event. Through the program, ACVO ophthalmologists donate their time to provide screening to qualified service dogs.

Dr. Wendy Townsend, associate professor of veterinary ophthalmology, said the eye exams are vital because early detection and treatment are very important to these working dogs, which need good vision to fulfill their roles in assisting their human companions. The dogs examined Monday included police dogs, therapy dogs and assistance dogs. Among them was Séamus, a yellow Lab that assists Kristine Rhodes of Logansport. Rhodes has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and Séamus helps her maintain her balance while walking and also can retrieve items for her. Séamus completed two training programs, including the program conducted by the Indiana Canine Assistance Network (ICAN). Rhodes was very pleased to hear a good report on Séamus’ eye health after the exam.

The day of free eye exams was covered by Lafayette TV station WLFI. Click here to view the story, which includes the case of an assistance dog for an Army veteran who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Writer: Kevin Doerr, pvmnews@purdue.edu


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