Specialized Eye Care for Pets with Ocular Issues
By working closely with your pet's primary care veterinarian, our board-certified vet ophthalmologist can offer comprehensive and compassionate eye care for your pet.
Eye conditions that can potentially impact your pet's vision, comfort, and quality of life range from minor to severe. If detected early, treatment can reduce pain and protect your pet's eyesight.
At VRCC, we're able to diagnose and treat virtually any eye disease or condition, including infections, cherry eye, tumors, cataracts, corneal ulcers, glaucoma, and more.
Board-Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologists
A board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist's training after veterinary school focuses exclusively on treating eye disorders in animals. An ophthalmologist completes an internship and specialized residency, passes comprehensive exams, and completes publication requirements to become board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO).
What to Expect at Your Pet’s Appointment
Knowing what you can expect from your pet's ophthalmology appointment will make your visit more smooth and less stressful for each of you.
- Schedule Your Appointment
Please call our department to schedule your appointment. We will collect information about you and your pet over the phone when you schedule your appointment.
- Medical Records & Registration Forms
Please bring any pertinent information (i.e. records from your family veterinarian, a list of your pet’s past and current medications) that may help us to help your pet.
Also, complete and bring in our Ophthalmology Form. You'll also be asked to fill out the Patient Intake Form when you arrive. If you are unable to complete this intake form please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment time to allow time to complete the form.
- Call Us Upon Arrival
When you arrive, please call the front desk at (303) 874-7387 from your vehicle. A member of our staff will greet you promptly.
- Initial Eye Exam
You can expect to spend 30-45 minutes in your pet’s initial comprehensive eye exam.
- Discharge & Next Steps
When your visit is completed, you will be provided with discharge instructions containing a diagnosis, directions for medical therapy, and a description of the current ocular condition.
The ophthalmologist will also send your primary care veterinarian a referral letter to inform them of their findings. We strive to work with your veterinarian to provide the best comprehensive care possible.
Is this your pet's first vet ophthalmology appointment? Here are some commonly asked questions about appointments at VRCC Ophthalmology:
- When are appointments available?
To schedule an appointment with one of the VRCC Ophthalmologists, please call the Ophthalmology department directly at (303) 874-2070.
Appointments are scheduled Monday to Friday between 8:00 am - 3:00 pm and are booked several days to one week in advance.
Surgeries are performed Wednesdays and Thursdays and are scheduled one to two weeks in advance.
- What if my pet requires overnight care?
If your pet needs to stay with us in the hospital, we will be happy to show you the accommodations once your pet gets settled. During your pet’s stay, we provide fresh, comfortable bedding, along with food and water as medically appropriate. We monitor temperature and provide blankets or fans to keep your pet comfortable.
We recommend against leaving any personal belongings with your pet during their stay, as it is possible these items may get misplaced.
If you wish to provide a specific diet for your pet during their stay, please bring it in a sealed, leak-proof container (no plastic baggies of any kind will be accepted), and make sure its contents are clearly labeled with: type of food, your pet’s name, and the date.
- What are your patient visiting hours and guidelines?
We understand that pets are a part of the family. Being separated from your pet can be extremely difficult and stressful for everyone. Although we do not have set visiting hours at our hospital, you are able to visit your pet during their stay in the hospital.
Please observe the following guidelines for visiting with your pet:
- To set up a time to visit with your pet, call to speak with your pet's care team.
- We request that you limit your visit to 15 minutes – consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis to allow for extended visitation time.
- If you visit your pet after-hours, keep in mind that your pet's primary care team will not be available for questions. Any questions you have will be addressed the following day when the primary care team is back in the hospital.
- All necessary safety protocols must be followed in cases when your pet is being hospitalized in our isolation unit.
- In some situations, our Patient Care staff may request that you return to the lobby. We will reunite you with your pet as soon as possible.
- Although you will not be allowed to stay overnight with your pet, we welcome you to call and check in with our patient care staff at any time to learn the status of your pet.
- For privacy purposes, patient status for pets other than your own cannot be shared.
- How do I pick up my pet's prescription or food order?
Prescriptions may be refilled by speaking with one of our staff members or by simply leaving a message on our department voice mail at (303) 874-2070.
Prescriptions are filled Monday-Friday with a same-day turnaround. Prescription refills are available for pick up during regular business hours. Note, prescription requests called in over the weekend will be available for pickup on the next business day.
If requested, we can mail your pet’s medications directly to you using standard United States Postal Service mail. Priority Mail is available upon request.
Our Ophthalmologists examine all patients on an annual basis (or more frequently) to refill prescriptions. If your pet is examined by your family veterinarian, they may be able to refill prescriptions for you.
- When should I book my checkup/recheck appointment?
After one year, a recheck appointment must be scheduled to continue the doctor/patient relationship with our opthalmologist, or with your primary care veterinarian who can then refill your medications if they feel comfortable doing so.
Diagnostics & Tools
We have a comprehensive range of diagnostic eye tests and technologies at our disposal to allow us to offer an accurate diagnosis. These include:
An ERG is like an EKG and measures the electrical activity of the retina. It allows ophthalmologists to test the retina for proper function when they suspect retinal disease or when they cannot see the retina due to opacification of the eye.
Skull radiographs can help detect orbital disease involving the bones around the eye. Skull radiographs are also used to identify foreign, metal material in the orbit.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI is ideal for imaging structures within the orbit and offers ophthalmologists valuable information regarding treatment options for the patient. MRI allows us to detect and measure soft-tissue masses or abnormalities in areas of the body that cannot be easily visualized.
Ocular or orbital ultrasound can be helpful in imaging ocular anatomy, detecting retrobulbar cysts, masses or infections, retinal detachments and intraocular tumors. An ultrasound can often be performed on short notice with a patient either awake or under mild sedation.
- CT Scan
The Vimago CT Scanner is a mobile, high definition, computed tomography-fluoroscopy-digital radiography platform capable of imaging an entire patient in a single series. The system operates with the speed equivalent to a 4-slice conventional CT.
- Lab Work
Your pet's blood, urine, or tissue samples may be very important in reaching a rapid and accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition. Accurate diagnosis assures proper treatment and gives your pet the best possible chance for a full recovery. Antech is our state-of-the-art in-house regional laboratory (ANTECH diagnostic labs).
Vet Ophthalmology Services
Our ophthalmologists at VRCC offer a range of services that can be tailored to your pet's needs. These include:
- Comprehensive Eye Exams
Comprehensive eye exams are performed Monday-Friday by ophthalmologists. Comprehensive testing includes high-magnification slit-lamp examination, Schirmer tear test, fluorescein dye test, tonometry (to measure intraocular pressure), and indirect ophthalmoscopy (to visualize the retina).
- Canine Eye Certification Exams
Breeders are encouraged to contact their breed-specific clubs or the AKC to find breed recommendations for the age and frequency of eye certification exams. Eye certifications are performed on breeding dogs in an attempt to minimize the frequency of inherited eye disease in a certain breed. Breed clubs recommend dogs used for breeding should be re-examined annually.
- Diode Laser Retinopexy
LASER retinopexy is available to pets to prevent retinal detachment and vision loss. This procedure is performed using light sedation as an outpatient procedure.
Most ocular surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis. Patients are typically admitted to the hospital in the morning and discharged the same afternoon. Surgeries range from minor eyelid tumor removals under mild sedation to cataract surgeries under general anesthesia.