Signs that your pet may have an eye problem:

  • Increased Redness or Swelling of the Eye(s)
  • Increased Discharge Around the Eyes (especially green or yellow)
  • Cloudiness of the Eye(s)
  • Squinting or Holding the Eye(s) Closed
  • Scratching or Pawing at the Eye(s)
  • Decreased Vision in General, or Bumping into Objects at Home

Regular cleaning is important to the health of your pet’s eyes. It takes just a few minutes and helps to prevent many problems later in their lives.

Simply use a warm, clean washcloth or ocular wipe to clean the area around the eye. Other than getting rid of any dirt and debris, this keeps the eyes free of any discharge and medication buildup.

A veterinary ophthalmologist is a veterinarian that is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO). To become board-certified and receive Diplomate status in the ACVO, the candidate must pass a series of rigorous written and practical examinations. To be eligible to take the examination, the candidate first completes the four years of veterinary school required to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), followed by three or four additional years of training that are required to gain the medical and surgical expertise necessary to be an ophthalmology specialist.

The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® (ACVO®) is an organization, not an actual physical location, that (through the American Board of Veterinary Ophthalmology® or ABVO®) has established certifying criteria for Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (DACVO®) and residents in training to become Diplomates. To become a DACVO, a person must first graduate from veterinary school, attain a minimum of 12 months full-time clinical practice as a veterinarian, and complete a 3-year or longer residency training program in veterinary ophthalmology under the supervision of at least one DACVO. A number of the resident’s credentials are monitored by committees of the ABVO before, during, and after the residency training program is completed. The applicant must then submit credentials for approval, if approved permission to take the ABVO certifying examination will be granted. The exam is a multi-day process consisting of multiple written and practical components. After achieving all of these criteria, a veterinarian is recognized as a “Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists” and is board-certified in veterinary ophthalmology. No one may use this title unless they have successfully completed all of these steps.

Certification Requirements:

  1. Be a veterinarian.
  2. Have attained the minimum required veterinary experience. (currently 48 months; 12 months of which must be prior to residency training)
  3. Have completed or be scheduled to complete an ABVO-approved residency training program by August 1st of the year in which the examination is to be taken.
  4. Be of satisfactory ethical standing.
  5. Have completed and submitted by the deadline all documentation and fees required as part of the credentialing process.
  6. Pass a series of examinations.
  7. Maintain Certification through the MOC program (Diplomates boarded 2015 or later)

Just as with human medicine, veterinary medical specialists are becoming a valuable resource in treating your pet. Your general practice veterinarian has excellent training in veterinary medicine and acts as a family practice physician to your pet. But just as with human medicine, there are occasions when your veterinarian might want assistance or suggest a referral to a specialist to better meet your pet’s needs. Specialists should be board certified by the appropriate agency and are available in ophthalmology, internal medicine, surgery, pathology, oncology and radiology, cardiology, to name a few. You should not be shy about asking your general practice veterinarian for a referral to a specialist if you feel one might be helpful. Your veterinarian and the veterinary specialist will work together as a team to treat your beloved pet.

The bond between man and man’s best friend is stronger than ever, according to a survey of pet owners from the American Animal Hospital Association. It’s no surprise – looking at these numbers, at least – that folks now require their pets’ medical attention to be as good as their kids’.

  • 64% expect a pet to come to their rescue if they were in distress
  • 93% would risk their life for their pet
  • 67% travel with their pet
  • 30% say their pet is emotionally sensitive
  • 36% say their pet enjoys watching television
  • 58% visit their vets more than their own doctors
  • 53% spend more on their pets now than three years ago

SOURCE: Survey of 1,238 pet owners in the United States and Canada who use AAHA-accredited veterinary hospitals.

Genetic testing for several inherited canine vision disorders is available to dog owners and breeders. Among the tests available are those for several forms of progressive retinal atrophy, retinal dysplasia, primary lens luxation and cataracts. Unfortunately, not all inherited eye disease in all breeds can be tested for at this time.

Breeders will no longer have to remove affected or carrier dogs from the breeding program. These tests allow for selective breeding to genetically clear dogs, significantly decreasing the risk of producing affected puppies.

Tests are available to breeders, owners, and veterinary specialists. The tests require either a blood sample or a cheek swab. Your veterinary ophthalmologist will be able to help you determine which tests would be best suited for your pet.

  • Cataracts
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Chronic Superficial Keratitis (“Pannus”)
  • Distichiasis
  • Entropion
  • Glaucoma
  • Goniodysgenesis
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (“PRA”)
  • Prolapsed Gland of the Third Eyelid (“cherry eye”)
  • Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (“SARDS”)
  • Uveitis

When applying topical medications, only 1 drop per eye, per treatment is required. It is often times helpful to elevate the patient (if possible) onto a table or countertop to bring them out of their natural environment and better under your control. Place a towel or blanket on the surface to help your pet feel secure. It is always a good idea to clean around the eye and remove any mucus or discharge from the eye by using a clean warm washcloth or ocular wipe before administering medications.

Hold your pet gently, but firmly in front of you with their back towards you. Use your nondominant hand to elevate the chin upwards and pull back the top eyelid. Use your dominant hand to apply 1 drop of the medication. As long as the medication lands anywhere between the eyelids, you have successfully administered the medication!

  • Help them memorize their environment by taking care not to move furniture or objects in the home.
  • Keep their food and water bowl in the same location, to facilitate their ability to find these objects without sight.
  • Train your pet on a leash inside and outside on frequent walks. Guide them using frequent voice commands like “step up”, “step down”, “to the left”, and “to the right”. This helps your pet understand these terms when not on the leash.
  • Train your pet to navigate stairs in the home using the above voice commands and leash guidance. Access to stairs should be limited until your pet can handle the steps supervised without difficulty.
  • Regular access to a body of water or pool should be restricted to prevent inadvertent falls into the water and potential inability to find their way back out.


Our goal is to provide the best ocular care possible for all animals.
Don’t just take our word for it, check out our reviews and testimonials from referring veterinarians and pet parents.


For any consultation or referral request, use the convenient form below. You can also download a paper form and fax it to our office.


Sometimes all you need is a quick question answered or need a second opinion to help a patient. Dr. Heather is happy to give you both.


We will gladly provide ophthalmic consultations for your patients at YOUR veterinary practice. Due to increased time allotments, please allow up to one week for these appointments.


We appreciate and accept any animal in need of ocular care. In our hands, your patients will receive the best diagnosis and care possible.