Monday, April 13, 2015

2015 Free Sight Saving Exams for Service Animals


HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - (April 10, 2015) - VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital (VCA HAH) and Animal Eye Guys (AEG) of South Florida are proud to announce their participation in the ACVO National Service Dog Eye Exam program. Now in its 8th year, the program offers free eye exams for service and therapy animals during the month of May by more than 250 board certified veterinary ophthalmologists from around the United States (including Puerto Rico) and Canada.

Sunday, May 17th from 10a-4p, the VCA HAH will open its doors exclusively for these exams and host therapy animals from local individuals and community service organizations.

 Guardians and handlers of all qualified service animals are invited to visit the clinic on Sunday, May 17th for a free eye exam provided by Robert Swinger, D.V.M., Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologist.  Dr. Swinger will be checking for problems including redness, squinting, cloudy corneas, retinal disease, early cataracts and other serious abnormalities. “

“Early detection of problems and treatment is vital to the success of these working animals," said Dr. Swinger. "It is truly an honor to provide exams for animals that so selflessly provide support to their people and communities."

Mandy, a 4-year-old dachshund, who serves as a therapy dog in local assisted living facilities, took advantage of the 2014 event at VCA HAH. "I would not leave anything uncheck on her,” said her owner, Judy McCard “She is my child”.  Dr. Swinger gave Mandy a clean bill of health!  

To qualify for a free exam, animals must be active working animals such as guide dogs, handicapped assistance animals, detection dogs, therapy animals and search and rescue animals that have been certified by a formal training program or organization or are currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying organization could be national, regional or local in nature. Owners/agents for the animal(s) must first register the animal via an online registration form beginning April 1, 2015 at

Registration ends April 30th. Once registered online, the owner/agent will receive a registration number. They can then simply call (954) 826-8871 to schedule an appointment for the month of May. 

“Our practice has been serving this community for over 67 years. We could not be happier to partner with Dr. Swinger and once again provide this service.”
Dr. James Herrington l VCAHAH l Medical Director

About ACVO Free Eye Exams
 Since the program launched in 2008, nearly 30,000 Service Animals have received free screening eye exams, over 7,000 in 2014 alone. In addition to dogs, other service animals including a service donkey named Henry and our very own local HSBC’s miniature pony named, Lil’Man have received free sight saving exams.  

A sampling of groups served since the ACVO National Service Dog Eye Exam Event include: Transportation Security Agency (TSA) and military working dogs from Lackland Air Force Base in Texas; Puppies Behind Bars, an organization providing psychiatric service dogs to soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan; local fire, rescue and police agencies; and also individual service animal owners and handlers who rely on these amazing animals daily.  

The event is primarily sponsored by ACVO and generous industry support.  Other non-profit supporters include the American Veterinary Medical Association, most state veterinary medical associations in the U.S. and Canada, the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives, and other national service animal organizations.   Visit for more information. 

About VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital
VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital has earned a solid reputation for offering the very best in veterinary medicine as well as the latest technological advances and therapies. Founded in 1947, VCA HAH features 21 veterinarians and more than 100 highly trained technical and support staff members. For more information about our practice, please visit or call 954.920.3556.

About Dr. Robert Swinger, ACVO
Dr. Robert Swinger completed his undergraduate work and received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois in 2003.  After completing an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Veterinary Specialists of South Florida in Cooper City, he went on to complete both an ophthalmology internship in 2005 and residency in 2009 at the Animal Eye Specialty Clinics in Miami, Deerfield Beach, and West Palm Beach.  Soon thereafter, he joined the VCA Aurora Animal Hospital outside of Chicago and developed a successful ophthalmology service where he continues to actively consult.  In 2011, Dr. Swinger launched Animal Eye Guys and joined the Hollywood Animal Hospital veterinary team.  Dr. Swinger is board certified and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.
In his work environment, Dr. Swinger enjoys teaching and taking active roles in the hospital’s internship program.  His special interests include surgical and medical management of glaucoma, cataract surgery, and corneal physiology.  Outside of the veterinary arena, Dr. Swinger enjoys spending time with his family; his pets (a poodle, Sophie and a pug, Chuck; an African Grey parrot, Paco; and several saltwater fish); and enjoys fishing, cooking, and traveling.

 About Humane Society of Broward County Animal Assisted Therapy Program 
The Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) program uses volunteers and their companion animals to provide social therapy to comfort children and adults with special needs or those experiencing life’s stresses.  In addition to reaching out to residents of senior retirement homes, hospitals, hospice, mental health facilities and children’s facilities they established their Wags & Tales Reading Program in 2003 which strives to strengthen reading skills in children throughout the community. Wags & Tales is a research based reading motivation program for children with reading difficulties. Certified Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) dogs and their handlers visit students at selected schools and libraries to help strengthen reading skills. For more information, please visit

About Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc. (“C.A.T.”) 
Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc. (“C.A.T.”) is a non-profit organization founded in 2009. “C.A.T” is dedicated to providing pet therapy to children and adults who have developmental and physical challenges as well as those who desire comfort and companionship of a loving pet. These Canine Assistants are a regular fixture at our Broward County Courthouse offering comfort to children as they face decision about their future in the judge’s chambers.

About the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® is an approved veterinary specialty organization of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties, and is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association.  Its mission is “to advance the quality of veterinary medicine through certification of veterinarians who demonstrate excellence as specialists in veterinary ophthalmology.” To become board certified, a candidate must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, a one year internship, a three year approved residency and pass a series of credentials and examinations. For more information, please visit


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    1. Thank you. We very much enjoy being a leader in providing the best in veterinary care and education. We feel lucky to do what we do and love being a part of our community.