Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists 01425 485615

Free Eye Tests for Service Dogs

We’re offering free eye tests to working service dogs this May. Vets at Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists (SCVS), are donating their time to check the eyes of local service dogs whose eyesight is essential to the jobs that they do. 

The ACVO (American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists) Epicur National Service Animal Eye Exam is an annual event where service dogs are invited to get their eyes tested by a host of participating practices who donate their time and skills in recognition of the work that these animals do.

The eye tests are available to working service dogs and some qualified assistance and therapy dogs. Service dogs are those who have been trained to perform tasks to assist their owners, for example guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for deaf people or assistance dogs for disabled people. The initiative also extends to police dogs, fire dogs and other dogs that are in active service.

Since it started in 2000 the program has provided more than 81,000 free screening eye exams across the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, and Spain. SCVS is the first and only hospital in the UK to take part in the event and its participation is driven by Canadian vet James Histed, who is head of the ophthalmology division at SCVS and an ACVO specialist.

James, who along with his team is doing the tests in his free time, is hoping to see 20 dogs over the course of the event.

“Looking after your own eyes is incredibly important, and that applies to animals too, especially working dogs who provide guidance, assistance and comfort to their owners,” says James.

“These are sight-preserving tests and are invaluable for detecting potential issues or early warning signs.”

Owners are invited to register their dog by emailing