Service dogs provide an amazing level of specialized help to many people around the world. They can help guide the blind, search for survivors in the wake of emergencies, retrieve blood sugar testing kits, help detect potential seizures, and even call 911, plus much more. However, they also have their own health needs, and keeping their eyesight keen is essential to many of their duties. This is why it’s vital to provide them with regular eye check-ups–just like a human would do as they get older to see if their vision is degrading and potentially provide treatment to correct it.
Each year, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists partners with numerous veterinary clinics around the country to offer free eye exams for service dogs. Deterioration or loss of vision in dogs can be caused by a wide variety of issue. This includes everything from genetic inheritance of visual problems to diabetes to cataracts to injury, and more. Depending on the specific cause of the vision problems, many treatments are available, including medication and surgery. However, sometimes it can mean the dog must be retired from service in order to give the person they helped the highest level of safety, especially since a service dog usually needs to be extremely aware of visual cues from their human as well as potential environmental threats.
Even should a service dog go blind or have to stop providing their prior service, many can go on to enjoy the rest of their lives with proper care and training. Should you be worried that your service dog’s vision is suffering, be sure to take them to a vet as soon as possible. And get regular check-ups to potentially catch issues before they become too severe to correct. In the end, it’s all about keeping both the service dog and their human as safe and healthy as possible, so be sure to be proactive!
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