Animal Shelter Receives Grant For Shelter Dogs’ Eye Health

The San Francisco SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) received a $5,000 grant from Petco Foundation to help with eye exams and treatment for dogs in their care.

The San Francisco SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) received a $5,000 grant from Petco Foundation to help with eye exams and treatment for dogs in their care.

Dogs require a yearly eye exam regardless of whether or not they have an existing eye condition. This helps detect any changes in vision early so that treatment can begin promptly if needed. The grant money will be used over the next year to fund 10-15 eye exams and treatments per month, which will help both shelter dogs and those owned by clients who attend SF SPCA’s Animal Assisted Therapy program.

The grant will aid in early detection of treatable eye conditions.

A local animal shelter has received a grant to help care for dogs in the shelter system and increase their chances of finding a home. The money will go toward funding opthalmology exams and treatment for common eye conditions, such as cataracts and dry eye. Early detection of these conditions allows for quick action, resulting in improved wellness that can also make the dogs more adoptable.

Dogs with undiagnosed vision issues may experience stress or anxiety, especially when placed into an unfamiliar environment like a shelter. By addressing previously unknown vision issues early on, the dogs’ quality of life improves and they have a better chance at adoption.

Early detection is especially important because shelter dogs are often stressed, which can exacerbate conditions such as dry eye, corneal ulcers and foreign bodies stuck in the eyes.

Dogs in shelters are often older and may have other medical conditions, making it even more important to catch eye problems early. Once the issues are detected, however, they can be treated.

“Dry eye is a treatable condition if caught early enough,” said Dr. Michael Davidson of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Clinical Studies-Philadelphia in an interview with NBC News. “We’re not talking about laser surgery or anything like that. These dogs will just go home with eyedrops for the rest of their lives. It’s a small cost but could make a huge difference for these animals.”

Eye disease can make it harder for shelter dogs to find homes, as potential adopters may think the dog’s behavior is a problem when really it’s just painful vision impairment.

If you’ve recently adopted a dog or are considering adopting one, it’s important to be aware of vision impairment and how it can affect your pet’s behavior. If you notice that your dog is exhibiting the following symptoms while walking on a leash:

  • pulling constantly and hardly moving forward
  • stopping short when moving forward seems possible
  • making sudden turns while walking straight
  • freezing in place and standing very still when not at all afraid, startled, or spooked

it could be that they are having vision trouble. A common cause is a condition known as entropion, in which the eyelashes fold inward against the eye and cause pain, irritation, and reduced vision. It’s best to have any issues like this examined by a vet as soon as possible.

The SFSPCA team has developed some expertise in treating eyes and hope their experience will benefit other shelters around the country as well.

Eye care is an important part of the overall health and wellbeing of any animal, but it’s also one that many shelters simply don’t have the specialized skills to provide. We hope that our expertise and experience can be shared with other shelters around the country so they too can treat eye problems in their shelter dogs. Ultimately, we hope this grant will help us develop a new way of thinking about how we approach this issue on a broader scale, especially as overcrowded shelters struggle with finding enough funding for basic medical needs.

Shelter dogs need our help!

Are you interested in getting involved? If so, there are many ways to help. Check out the list below to find out how.

  • Foster a dog or cat- You can foster an animal at your own home while it waits to be adopted. Fostering is a wonderful experience that lets you bond with a pet, and it also frees up space in the shelter for other animals in need of care. Contact the shelter for more information about fostering.
  • Make a donation- The shelter needs all the supplies (blankets, toys, food) and financial assistance (from grant money to donations from ordinary citizens) that they can get! Donations of any size make a difference. Visit their website for more information about donating

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