Related Story

COLUMBIA - A long morning filled with examining the eye health of service dogs on Friday was a rewarding experience for Dr. Elizabeth Giuilano. For the past 3 years, Guilano has participated in the national free eye exam day for service dogs.

MU veterinarians and veterinary students checked the eye health of guide dogs, therapy dogs, medical alert dogs, police dogs, as well as search and rescue dogs.

Eye health is especially important for service dogs and the work they do for the community said Guilano. 

This event helped identify eye problems that could become serious if left untreated.

Maud Campbell traveled from Jefferson City to have her dogs' eyes checked. Mason a 4-year-old golden retriever needs his eyes to help Campbell on a daily basis. Campbell has been blind since birth.  Additionally, she has a medical alert dog to assist her with other medical disabilities.

"Without my dogs I wouldn't be able to get around," Campbell said.

Keeping up with the overall health of service dogs is important as well. Most guide dogs last five to seven years, but can last longer if in good health.

Some signs of eye infection in dogs are pain, a film over the eye or discharge.

To qualify for the free exams, dogs must be certified by a national, regional, or local formal training program or organization. Dogs currently enrolled in a formal training program qualified as well. 

MU veterinarians will provide more eye exams Saturday and again on May 20. But the deadline to sign up service dogs has passed.