Monday, March 22, 2010

Visiting the Eye Clinic

Once a year, we take all of our breeding dogs to the eye clinic to have their eyes examined. We always to go to a visiting eye clinic to see Dr. Riis, a veterinary ophthalmologist who is extremely knowledgeable and understands assistance dogs. It's very important that service dogs be in top physical condition, including their eyes, and Dr. Riis is able to tell us whether any eye conditions will affect the dogs' careers as working dogs.

This year, we took our breeding dogs as well as our new puppies and a few of the dogs-in-training that needed to be rechecked. SSD Pearl, Midge, Dixie, Fire, Rio, Aspen, Rusty, Onyx, Slate, Shamrock and Cabo had their eyes checked.

When the dogs first arrived at the eye clinic, which was held at the Dauphin Dog Training Club over PawsAbilities weekend, they had their eyes dilated. Dr. Riis then examined each dog.

If an eye condition is discovered, we ask several important questions. First, we want to know how it will affect the dog's health. How will the condition affect the dog's ability to work as a service dog? How will the eye condition affect the dog's partner once they're matched? (Meaning, will the dog's eye condition worsen at some point in the future, requiring the partner to bring the dog in for additional veterinary care or even causing the dog's early retirement?) Finally, if the dog is a breeding dog, we ask if the dog can be bred without passing on any eye conditions.
Our goal is to make sure all of our breeding dogs and potential service dogs are healthy. When we place service dogs with partners, our hope is that the dogs will be able to work with their partner for 8-10 years.

We have good news! All of our dogs passed their exam!

Thank you so much to Dr. Riis and everyone who helped at the eye clinic!

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