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CARES Offers Free Eye Exams for Service Animals


Registration Takes Place April 1 – 30, 2019

Jackson, a super sweet golden retriever has been bringing smiles and hope to people of all ages for more than five years. A therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International, Jackson visits nursing homes, independent living facilities, schools, universities, daycare and more! He’s trained to lay down while children read to him. Even non-verbal children can use sign language to give him commands like sit or stay.

Jackson was out greeting patients doing therapy work when he was whisked away to visit with someone who was having a nervous breakdown. “This woman had never opened her eyes, while in her nursing home,” says Bob Wharton of Southampton, who is Jackson’s dad. “But, when Jackson came along, she opened her eyes for the first time and had a big smile on her face. Her blood pressure dropped. I had tears in my eyes,” adds Bob.

No doubt Jackson has an important job and that job could not be done, if it wasn’t for his excellent eyesight. That’s why Jackson is helping to spread the word about a free eye exam event for service animals throughout the tri-state area and beyond.

Starting April 1 (through April 30) service animal owners can register online for a free eye exam at CARES in Langhorne, to take place in May.

Jackson reads with students

Dr. Martha Low, board certified veterinary ophthalmologist at CARES will provide free eye exams to eligible service animals throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. They include guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, police dogs and more. Dr. Low’s participation is part of a national effort (organized by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists) of nearly 300 board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico who provide free sight-saving eye exams to thousands of service animals annually. “I love participating in this event,” says Dr. Low. “It allows us to really see the impact of our work and provides a screening for early detection of ocular diseases. With early detection, diseases that can potentially cause blindness may be caught and treated early, helping these important service animals keep their vision.”

“If someone is petting a dog and the dog can’t see well, that can make them react in a negative way,” says Bob. “As dogs get older, they get cataracts and all sorts of things. I find it important to know if there is a problem, you can get it taken care of early. It’s a great program and I appreciate it!”


To qualify, service animals must be active “working animals” that were certified by a formal training program or organization or currently enrolled in a formal training program. Owners of the animal(s) must FIRST register the animal via an online registration form through ACVO’s website beginning April 1. Interested pet owners can visit for a direct link to the registration form. Registration ends April 30th. After registering online, the owner can contact CARES directly to schedule an appointment, during the month of May. Appointment dates and times are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more, visit

About the Center for Animal Referral and Emergency Services (CARES):

CARES’ state-of-the-art veterinary facility in Langhorne, PA is open 24/7 for emergency and specialty needs. Our compassionate, board-certified veterinary specialists and clinicians are dedicated to bringing pet owners the most advanced veterinary care. The CARES team is a group
of exceptional individuals, hand selected over time, with expertise in the areas of Anesthesiology, Cardiology, Clinical Pathology, Diagnostic Imaging, Emergency & Critical Care, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Oncology, Ophthalmology and Surgery. CARES is located at 2010 Cabot Boulevard West, Suite D in Langhorne. For more information, visit

About Dr. Martha Low, DACVO:

Dr. Low of CARES examines a service dog

Dr. Low is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery, followed by a three-year residency at CARES, before coming on board as a full-time member of the ophthalmology staff. She treats a wide range of ophthalmic diseases, utilizing the most advanced technology, including
laser surgery. Dr. Low is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.