Tag Archives: Palm Beach Equine Clinic

PBEC Veterinarians on Call and Available as Hurricane Irma Approaches Florida

Hurricane Irma is making its way toward Florida, and Palm Beach Equine Clinic is ready and available to help horse owners prepare for and weather the storm. Owners are urged to put their hurricane emergency plans into action and take precautions to ensure their horses’ safety before conditions worsen.

Hurricane Safety Tips Include:

  • Clean up around the barn for debris that may take flight.
  • Put a halter on your horse with a tag stating the horse’s name/contact number in case he or she gets loose for the duration of the storm.
  • Ensure that horses have access to fresh water.
  • Place feed/hay in an easy place to get to and off of the ground.
  • As an owner, perform a physical examination of your horse the day before to make sure all is healthy and have a comparison for after the storm examination.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic is available for all emergencies 24/7. In case of an emergency, please call the main line at (561) 793-1599. Doctors will be on call to drive to farms to assist or treat horses.

Lend a Helping Hand

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, there are several ways members of the equestrian community can help. Click below to donate to American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and U.S. Equestrian Disaster Relief Funds.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation’s Equine Disaster Relief Fund

USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund

Early Response to Equine Joint Disease Improves Career Longevity

Photo courtesy of Palm Beach Equine Clinic.

Wellington, FL – At Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) in Wellington, FL, the team of three Board-Certified surgeons are all experts in minimally invasive surgical techniques, aiming to reduce joint disease, resolve lameness, and improve the longevity of sport horse careers.

Arthroscopy (or arthroscopic surgery) is a minimally invasive surgical technique that can be performed on an injured joint or synovial structure to accurately explore and treat pathology. The surgery generally involves two very small (8mm) keyhole incisions. The first incision is where the surgeon will insert the arthroscope, which is an instrument with a small surgical grade camera installed that allows a complete, clear view of the interior joint surface. The second small incision is created to insert the surgical instrument to perform the procedure.

Arthroscopy is used to treat a broad range of injuries in the joint. Chip fracture removal is a procedure that is particularly commonly in both young Warmbloods with developmental disease and racehorses working at high speeds. A small chip fracture is something that can cause persistent irritation in the joint, as well as arthritis, if left untreated and is best removed immediately so that no further damage is created. The surgeon can easily go into the joint, remove the chip, and clean up the cartilage underneath. Most horses heal quickly and return to their normal athletic activity.

Board-Certified Surgeon Dr. Weston Davis performs many arthroscopic surgeries at PBEC alongside fellow surgeons Dr. Robert Brusie and Dr. Jorge Gomez.

“In many horses, we consider arthroscopy as a prophylactic measure, intervening after injury, but before the development of a generalized degenerative arthritic cycle ensues,” Dr. Davis stated. “Arthroscopy is definitely something that you want to do early in the game if you feel like the horse has joint disease, or a chip, or cartilage disease, or an undefined injury that is not responding appropriately to medical therapy. Arthroscopy can be curative for some of these horses. But if you do not intervene early on in the course of the disease and there is already advanced arthritis, then you have missed your window.

“Arthroscopy is a preferred treatment measure because it is so minimally invasive that most of those horses get right back to sport,” Dr. Davis continued. “In a normal scenario, we thoroughly explore the joint with the arthroscopic camera, we remove a chip or repair a lesion, and the horse is never lame after surgery. Because of the small incisions, there is minimal aftercare and horses are often back to work quickly.”

Other common indications for arthroscopic surgery are meniscal disease in the stifle, subchondral cystic lesions, primary cartilage lesions, and debridement of damaged tendinous/ligamentous tissue (such as deep digital flexor tendon tears in the navicular bursa). The surgeons at PBEC can perform arthroscopy on virtually any joint in the horse. Anything from the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) of the head to the navicular bursa within the hoof capsule can be explored and treated with this minimally invasive approach.

Almost all arthroscopies are performed under general anesthesia with the horse on its back. New renovations at Palm Beach Equine Clinic include a set of stocks of adjustable height adjacent to a surgeon’s pit, allowing the surgeons to have eye-level access to the joint they are working on, enabling many new procedures on the legs of standing horses.

Minimally invasive surgery allows for a simple and quick recovery for the horse. The traditional horse would be on stall rest with a bandage on until the sutures come out at two weeks, and then start doing some light hand walking and physical therapy. Barring severe damage in the joint or associated tendon/ligament disruption, most cases will undergo a six-week rest and rehabilitation protocol, then return to normal work.

As always, the advanced diagnostic imaging at PBEC permits the surgeons to get a complete evaluation of an injury involving a joint to ensure the best possible outcome. Depending on the injury type, digital radiographs, ultrasound, MRI, and Nuclear Scintigraphy, or a combination thereof, may be used for pre-operative diagnosis and planning. Ultrasound and digital radiography are available for intra-operative use. Intra-operative CT scanning will also be available in the future with the new additions at Palm Beach Equine.

“When you are inside the joint with an arthroscopic camera, you have the most complete picture of the surface and health of that joint,” Dr. Davis noted.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic provides experience, knowledge, availability, and the very best care for its clients. To find out more, please visit www.equineclinic.com or call 561-793-1599.

Contact: Lauren Fisher
Jump Media
lauren@jumpmediallc.com

ESP and PBEC Remind Wellington Equestrian Community of Proper Biosecurity Procedures

Wellington, FL – March 31, 2017 – Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) and Palm Beach Equine Clinic, the official veterinarians of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, remind the Wellington equestrian community to follow strict biosecurity procedures as horses are prepared for long-distance travel in the coming weeks.

As a result of the positive equine influenza test reported at WEF on March 14, veterinarians have implemented biosecurity procedures, and those in contact with horses in Wellington are encouraged to do the same. Because of the presence of equine influenza in Wellington, we remind all competitors of the importance of regular temperature checks, proper hygiene, and biosecurity, with suggested protocols listed below.

While there have been confirmed cases of equine influenza in Wellington, there are still NO confirmed cases of equine herpes or other infectious diseases.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact your veterinarian or the horse show office at 561-793-5867. Questions may also be directed to Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561-793-1599.

Further information will be updated as it becomes available.

BIOSECURITY PROCEDURES

An integral part of a showing environment includes healthy horses.  Exhibitors, especially those traveling long distances, can contribute to that healthy environment by following some basic recommendations listed below.

  1. A current negative Coggins test. Please renew before it expires, and not just before it is necessary to leave the state. It is strongly recommended that all horses be vaccinated for Equine EHV-1 (either modified live or killed vaccine) no sooner than 7 days prior and no later than 90 days prior to entering the show grounds. Most EHV-1 vaccines are only considered effective for 90 days. Check with your veterinarian about which vaccine you use.
  2. A health certificate within 48 hours is required for all horses shipping onto the property. All horses should be able to produce proof of vaccine, preferably labeled on these health certificates. Those who need health certificates when they arrive can contact Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561-793-1599 or contact PBEC vets on the show grounds.
  3. You should be able to document your horse’s normal temperature before arrival. Please do not ship horses with elevated temperatures. It is recommended that you establish a log of temperatures taken at least twice daily. If there is an elevated temperature for more than a 24-hour period, please consult your local Veterinarian immediately.
  4. Every effort should be made to minimize stress and commingling of horses shipped long distances. Extra hours on a horse van, or moving from stable to stable, is the fastest way to compromise your horses’ and your neighbors’ horses’ health.
  5. Any horse on the show grounds with a fever of unknown origin or of suspicious origin should be reported to Equestrian Sport Productions Management. It is always better to err on the side of safety. Isolation stalls will either be available on the grounds or at a local veterinary practice if the need arises.
  6. Please take the time to review equine good hygiene practices and express its importance to your grooms in everyday care.

Please visit www.PBIEC.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Twenty-Five Dollars Could Save a Horse’s Life

Photo by Jump Media.

Wellington, FL – Several regions across the U.S. have reached the peak of the winter show season, and with the increase in equine travel, as well as large populations of horses in close contact with one another, proper vaccination protocols are as important as ever.

Dr. Kathleen Timmins of Palm Beach Equine Clinic in Wellington, FL is often asked why proper equine vaccination protocols are imperative for all horses, and her answer voices directly to the welfare of the horse.

“You could save your horse’s life!” she said. “It is really important from an infectious disease standpoint, but also for mosquito-borne diseases or rabies; these are diseases that are life-threatening for lack of a $25 vaccine.”

Vaccinations: When, What, and How

According to Dr. Timmins, recommended vaccination protocols vary by vaccine and by the location of the horse, but the core group of vaccines is relatively standardized. As a rule, horses should receive vaccines to prevent against mosquito-borne diseases like Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE), and West Nile Virus twice a year. Equine Encephalitis is characterized by the swelling of the brain in an infected horse, while West Nile Virus infects the central nervous system and may cause signs of Encephalitis, including those ranging from fever to weakness and paralysis of the hind limbs.

“Vaccinations against mosquito-borne diseases become very important in south Florida because we have mosquitoes year-round,” said Dr. Timmins. “As you go further north, owners may sometimes choose to only vaccinate against those once a year.”

Included in the twice-a-year vaccination program is a Flu/Rhino dose. The Flu vaccination prevents the illness in horses much the same way it does in humans, while the Rhino vaccine is key in helping to prevent the Equine Herpesvirus (Rhinopneumonitis). Equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) and Equine herpesvirus type 4 (EHV-4) most commonly result in respiratory disease in horses and can progress to neurological disease.

East and West Equine Encephalitis, West Nile, and Flu/Rhino can all be administered as a combination vaccine requiring only one injection.

In addition to vaccinations given twice a year, annual vaccinations include those to prevent Potomac horse fever, a potentially-fatal illness that affects the digestive system and is caused by the intracellular bacterium Neorickettsia risticii; Strangles, a bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract; and Tetanus, an acute, often fatal disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani found in soil.

Much like the vaccinations administered to humans, the companies that produce the vaccines are in constant transition, adapting each vaccine to the most common strains to ensure the most accurate prevention of disease.

The Role of the Horse Show

To combat the rise of infectious disease outbreaks, many horse show organizers have taken a proactive step to reduce the spread of disease by developing vaccination requirements for the show grounds. This is a step towards preventing disease as an organized community, according to Dr. Timmins.

“No one wants sick horses,” she said. “All horse show organizers can do is put the requirements out there and hope that people comply and that they understand why vaccinations are so important.

“When a horse pops with a fever at a show everyone is alarmed,” continued Dr. Timmins. “If proper vaccination protocols are followed, it is easier for us to figure out why that horse has a fever and treat them quickly and appropriately.”

Negative Reactions

There are occasional cases of horses reacting negatively to certain vaccinations, making a regular schedule difficult. After receiving a vaccine intramuscularly, some horses experience local muscular swelling and soreness or signs including fever, anorexia, and lethargy. Severe reactions such as anaphylaxis can also occur in rare, extreme cases.

According to Dr. Timmins, there are procedures in place to help keep horses that suffer reactions on a systematic vaccination plan without threatening their health or competition schedules.

“What I will do first is break up the vaccinations so we can figure out which one is bothering the horse,” said Dr. Timmins. “Then sometimes all it takes is a change in the vaccine company because the particular horse is reacting to their preservative or their carrier. Veterinarians can also pretreat with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to avoid really bad reactions. Finally, there is always an option to administer intranasal vaccines rather than using an injectable.

“Very few horses have severe reactions to vaccines and for the most part, the horses traveling to shows are part of young and healthy populations,” continued Dr. Timmins.

As the winter horse show season continues throughout the U.S., horse health must be a priority and vaccinations are a simple way for the equine community to do their part.

“Vaccinations are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to prevent infectious disease outbreaks, and keep our horses healthy and safe,” she said. “There’s just no reason not to vaccinate.”

More about Dr. Timmins

Dr. Kathleen A. Timmins is a 1993 graduate of the Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine. She completed her internship in equine medicine and surgery at the Illinois Equine Hospital near Chicago. Prior to coming to Florida, Dr. Timmins practiced in Aiken, South Carolina, where she met her husband, John, who plays polo professionally. Growing up in Central Ohio, Dr. Timmins began her relationship with horses as a child on the hunter/jumper circuit. She continues to ride and show as much as possible. She and her husband are enjoying parenthood with their daughter Schuyler.

About Palm Beach Equine Clinic

The veterinarians and staff of PBEC are respected throughout the industry for their advanced level of care and steadfast commitment to horses and owners. With 28 skilled veterinarians on staff, including three board-certified surgeons, internal medicine specialists, and one of very few board-certified equine radiologists in the country, PBEC leads the way in new, innovative diagnostic imaging and treatments. Palm Beach Equine Clinic provides experience, knowledge, availability, and the very best care for its clients. To find out more, please visit www.equineclinic.com or call 561-793-1599.

Contact: Lauren Fisher
Jump Media
lauren@jumpmediallc.com

Palm Beach Equine Clinic Saves Horse Owners Time and Money through Early Diagnosis

The Equine Standing MRI produces highly detailed images in several different planes to capture a complete image of a desired area. Photo by Jump Media.

Wellington, FL – Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) in Wellington, FL has the most advanced state-of-the-art surgical and diagnostic imaging equipment available. With board-certified Radiologist Dr. Sarah Puchalski, PBEC uses their Equine Standing MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and a Nuclear Scintigraphy camera to quickly and accurately diagnose injuries for their clients.

Every horse owner dreads seeing signs of lameness or discomfort in any horse, whether it is a backyard companion or a top-caliber sport horse. For performance horses, however, one of the first questions many owners ask upon contacting a veterinarian about a problem is: ‘Can the horse safely and comfortably return to work?’ Using PBEC’s cutting-edge technology, Dr. Puchalski can quickly and accurately answer that question.

The Equine Standing MRI produces highly detailed images in several different planes to capture a complete image of a desired area. An MRI is best used to further define a specific area of both bony or soft tissue that has been pinpointed as the origin of lameness. The process can be completed while the horse is in a standing position and requires only light sedation.

Similarly, the process of a Nuclear Scintigraphy is a bone scan that begins with the injection of a radioactive isotope, specifically named Technetium 99. The isotope attaches to the phosphorous proteins localized within the bone and is absorbed over a few hours’ time. A specialized nuclear isotope gamma ray camera is used to capture images of the skeletal anatomy with a 360-degree view. Points of interest “light up” on the image to indicate increased metabolic activity and the site of injury.

Lameness or performance problems are most frequently approached through routine x-rays and ultrasounds, which can appear normal. Thus, it is difficult to diagnose subtle problems because the most common tools are not sensitive enough to diagnose in every case. At PBEC, the Equine Standing MRI and Nuclear Scintigraphy equip veterinarians with an advantage when troubleshooting a lameness issue and helps them to determine a correct diagnosis in a timely manner.

Coupled with advanced technology, PBEC is also one of very few equine practices in the U.S. with a Board Certified Radiologist on staff, and thanks to Dr. Puchalski, hundreds of MRI and bone scans are read each year at PBEC. In addition to being state-of-the art diagnostic tools, the technology also affords economic benefits to owners.

“MRIs can give a definitive diagnosis, and that saves time and money in the long run,” said Dr. Puchalski. “For example, if a horse goes lame and is examined and treated empirically, which is a diagnosis based on likely problems through common diagnostic procedures, it either stays sound or it becomes lame again or even non-functional in three to six months. This method sets back the commencement of the appropriate therapy.

“What the MRI does is allow the horse to be treated early and correctly,” continued Dr. Puchalski. “Otherwise, you may not be treating the correct issue, and the horse could end up lame again very soon.”

Nuclear Scintigraphy does not produce a scan that is as specific, but it gives Dr. Puchalski the opportunity to procure a concrete diagnosis, as well as evaluate the whole horse for secondary problems.

“Oftentimes the primary problem in one place is making a horse sore in other places,” she said. “Owners like to know the root problem, but to also quickly diagnose secondary problems so the entire horse can be treated at once.”

As the official veterinary hospital of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), PBEC sees a high concentration of sport horses in need of care. In turn, owners of those horses are eager to see their horses quickly and happily return to competition.

“The biggest benefit to PBEC and the Wellington community as a result of these MRI and Nuclear Scintigraphy scans is accessibility,” concluded Puchalski. “Anyone can call from the horse show to the clinic, get a scan scheduled quickly, in and out, get results fast, and then their training program can be changed immediately.”

About Dr. Sarah Puchalski
Dr. Puchalski is from Davis, CA, where she was an associate professor at the University of California in their Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences. In 1995, she received her BS in biology from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, and in 1999 earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where she received the ACVS Outstanding Large Animal Surgery Student award that same year. Dr. Puchalski interned in Field Service and Sports Medicine at New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania in 2001, and completed her residency in radiology at UC Davis in 2005.

Dr. Puchalski has devoted her career to teaching and improving equine health through the development and refinement of diagnostic techniques. In 2011, she contributed to two books on the topic of equine lameness. Her recent contributions include chapters in “Diagnosis and Management of Lameness in the Horse,” edited by Ross and Dyson, as well as in “Veterinary Computed Tomography and the Clinical Veterinary Advisor: The Horse, Equine Colic and Veterinary Clinics of North America.” She also has contributed close to 50 scientific articles concerning the diagnosis of equine lameness to many periodic journals, including Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound: the official journal of the American College of Veterinary Radiology and the International Veterinary Radiology Association; Veterinary Pathology; Equine Veterinary Journal; the American Journal of Veterinary Research; Equine Veterinary Education; Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association; and Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

About Palm Beach Equine Clinic
The veterinarians and staff of PBEC are respected throughout the industry for their advanced level of care and steadfast commitment to horses and owners. With 28 skilled veterinarians on staff, including three board-certified surgeons, internal medicine specialists, and one of very few board-certified equine radiologists in the country, PBEC leads the way in new, innovative diagnostic imaging and treatments. Palm Beach Equine Clinic provides experience, knowledge, availability, and the very best care for its clients. To find out more, please visit www.equineclinic.com or call 561-793-1599.

Contact: Lauren Fisher
Jump Media
lauren@jumpmediallc.com

Palm Beach Equine Clinic Warns Fla. Horse Owners to Check Pastures for Toxic Creeping Indigo

Wellington, Florida – The veterinarians at Palm Beach Equine Clinic in Wellington, FL caution horse owners of recent toxicity cases that have arisen in South Florida suspected by the low growing weed, Creeping Indigo. Although Creeping Indigo is not native to Florida and has been reportedly growing in the state since the 1920s, the plant has recently spread from the past summer’s humid conditions. Most toxic plants are not palatable to horses and therefore do not pose as much risk; however, it appears that horses are eating Creeping Indigo with suspected fatal effects. The only real treatment is to recognize and remove the poisonous plant from all grazing areas.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic’s Dr. Kathleen Timmins explained that veterinarians in South Florida are suspecting Creeping Indigo cases more often and in more places than ever before. Many people are unaware of the problems this toxic plant can cause.

“Toxicity from Creeping Indigo can present itself through a number of different symptoms, which can make it difficult to recognize and definitively diagnose,” Dr. Timmins noted. “There is no test or treatment, and the damage that it causes can be irreversible. The only true treatment is limiting their exposure to it.”

The most important step to avoid illness is to eradicate the plant from all pastures and grazing areas. Horse owners should walk through their property and review grass areas for the plant. Creeping Indigo is a prostrate plant that is commonly found in high traffic areas of grass, such as parking lots, turf, roadsides, medians, and overgrazed pastures. Flowers arise from the base of the leaves and are pink to salmon in color. It often grows under the grass, and when it is not flowering, it can be difficult to see. It also has a very deep root, so it is not easy to pull up.

Both neurologic and non-neurologic signs are documented, and researchers are uncertain how much Creeping Indigo a horse needs to consume before clinical signs appear.

The most notable signs are neurologic; horses may seem lethargic or have less energy than usual. Head carriage is often low, and there may be rhythmic blinking and jerking eye movements. An abnormal gait may be noticed, characterized by incoordination and weakness in all limbs.

Non-neurologic signs may include high heart and respiratory rates, high temperature, watery discharge from the eyes, discoloration of the cornea or corneal ulceration, or ulceration of the tongue and gums.

“There are so many varied symptoms that it is often not the first diagnosis you would think of,” Dr. Timmins explained. “There are also many other toxic plants, but if horses have access to good quality feed or grazing, they will not usually eat the toxic plants. The best solution is to find the plant, get rid of it, and not have to find out if it has been consumed.”

Horses that are quickly removed from the plants may recover completely, but there is no effective treatment, and symptoms may persist. The best way to prevent poisoning is to stop access to paddocks where Creeping Indigo is present and to remove plants by physical means or herbicide application.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic suggests that horse owners check their paddocks and grazing areas prior to use. For more information, call PBEC at 561-793-1599.

About Palm Beach Equine Clinic
The veterinarians and staff of PBEC are respected throughout the industry for their advanced level of care and steadfast commitment to horses and owners. With 28 skilled veterinarians on staff, including three board-certified surgeons, internal medicine specialists, and one of very few board-certified equine radiologists in the country, PBEC leads the way in new, innovative diagnostic imaging and treatments. Palm Beach Equine Clinic provides experience, knowledge, availability, and the very best care for its clients. To find out more, please visit www.equineclinic.com.

Contact: Lauren Fisher
Jump Media
lauren@jumpmediallc.com

Palm Beach Equine Clinic Veterinarians On-Call and Available as Hurricane Matthew Approaches

Wellington, FL – Hurricane Matthew is making its path toward South Florida, and Palm Beach Equine Clinic is ready and available to help horse owners as the storm is projected to hit the East Coast. Owners are urged to put their hurricane emergency plans into action and take precautions to ensure their horse’s safety before conditions worsen.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic is available for all emergencies 24/7. In case of an emergency, please call the main line at (561) 793-1599. Doctors will be on-call to drive to farms to assist or treat horses. PBEC also suggests some important steps for owners to take for their horse’s well-being before the storm hits.

Suggestions for safety include:

  • Clean up around the barn for debris that may take flight.
  • Put a halter on your horse with a tag stating the horse’s name/contact number in case they get loose for the duration of the storm.
  • Ensure that horses have access to fresh water.
  • If needed, ACE tabs to calm horses can be picked up at the clinic before 12:00 noon tomorrow (Thursday, October 6).
  • Place feed/hay in an easy place to get to and off of the ground.
  • As an owner, perform a physical examination of your horse the day before to make sure all is healthy and have a comparison for after the storm examination.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic is renowned for its full-service surgical center and intensive care hospital located in the heart of Wellington, Florida. Board certified surgeons, primary care veterinarians, and hospital technicians are scheduled 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to treat, monitor, and care for critical cases. With world-class veterinarians and a full staff of highly trained technicians, both clients and patients of PBEC are in the best hands possible.

In case of an emergency, please call (561) 793-1599 to contact an on-call veterinarian.

About Palm Beach Equine Clinic

The veterinarians and staff of PBEC are respected throughout the industry for their advanced level of care and steadfast commitment to horses and owners. With 28 skilled veterinarians on staff, including three board-certified surgeons, internal medicine specialists, and one of very few board-certified equine radiologists in the country, PBEC leads the way in new, innovative diagnostic imaging and treatments. Palm Beach Equine Clinic provides experience, knowledge, availability, and the very best care for its clients. To find out more, please visit www.equineclinic.com or call 561-793-1599.

Lauren Fisher
Jump Media
lauren@jumpmediallc.com