Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Importance of Hydration

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As the summer heats up around the country and especially in Florida, Palm Beach Equine Clinic would like to remind all equine owners to keep their horses well hydrated. The average horse drinks between 5 to 10 gallons of water per day. It is important to provide clean, fresh water at all times and be aware of increased water necessities during extremely hot days.

Sodium in your horse’s diet is also very important to maintaining proper hydration. Providing a salt block or supplementing with electrolytes can help ensure that your horse is meeting their sodium requirements.

Especially in the extreme summer heat, horse owners should pay attention to the amount of sweat their horse is producing. Anhidrosis, or the inability to sweat normally, can be a common challenge for our equine partners in the summer months, particularly in hot, humid climates. A horse with Anhidrosis is often called a “non‐sweater.”

In addition to lack of sweat, signs of Anhidrosis can include increased respiratory rate, elevated temperature, areas of hair loss, or dry, flaky skin. If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Treatment of Anhidrosis includes several simple changes. All horses should have access to shade and cool water throughout the day. Any exercise should be scheduled when the temperatures are lower, usually earlier or later in the day. Turnout should be limited to the night or cooler portions of the day. Fans can be provided indoors during extreme heat and the supplementation of electrolytes can be very helpful. Another common treatment for Anhidrosis is providing the horse with dark beer. Some cases require more significant treatment, and commercial products are available to help as well. Contact one of the veterinarians at Palm Beach Equine Clinic to learn more about effective treatments for your horse.

Get to Know Dr. Ryan Lukens

Dr. Ryan Lukens

Dr. Lukens became interested in horses at an early age growing up on a horse farm in Lebanon, Ohio. He performed his undergraduate studies and earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University. After graduating with his DVM in June of 2012, he became the fourth generation veterinarian in the Lukens’ family, dating back to his great-grandfather’s graduation from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1912. Dr. Lukens interests include sports medicine, lameness, and ultrasound.

Q: What was your background growing up with horses?

A: I grew up on a 30-acre boarding farm in Lebanon, OH.  I spent many summers cleaning stalls and grooming horses. I took some hunter/jumper lessons and would regularly trail ride my thoroughbred Dexter through my neighbor’s 200 acres of land. My father was an equine veterinarian and I was hooked as soon as I realized my dad’s profession was to work with horses all day.

Q: You are a fourth generation veterinarian – did you always know you wanted to be a vet?

A: I can’t remember a time wanting to be anything but a veterinarian. My father, Bill, was my inspiration for becoming a vet. Since I was in a car seat, he would take me on farm calls with him. One time specifically when I was 13, I remember helping him with a field castration. I also remember him teaching and questioning me about where a horse was showing lameness. I enjoyed the challenge of finding the origin of the lameness with the difficult cases and that helped me to where I am today, specializing in lameness.

Q: Who has been the biggest influence in your life or career? What did they teach you?

A: There are many people that have had an impact on my career and some that continue to make an impact every day. My mother, who had a large impact, allowed me to ride horses in the back woods when I was young, all the way to my sports coaches who taught me discipline and relentless determination. My father taught me basic horse skills and began my veterinary training at a young age. To this day, he refines my veterinary skills whenever we discuss cases. My career would not be possible without the support of my wife, Jess, who understands the long hours that I need to work to be available for my clients and supports me always.

Q: When did you join PBEC? Did you work anywhere else?

A: I joined the PBEC team in July, 2012. I graduated from Ohio State University CVM and started my internship at PBEC a month later. My mentors, the entire staff and clients are the reasons I stayed following the completion of my internship year.

Q: What is your main role at PBEC?

A: I work with a large number of lameness cases at PBEC. It is important to me to keep horses healthy and sound during the strenuous show circuits. I am a member of ISELP (International Society of Equine Locomotor Pathology) and currently working towards my certification.


Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: I love being able to work on a wide variety of horses and different disciplines all available in Wellington. The clients are interactive and really care for their horses at a high level.

Q: What are some of your other hobbies or interests?

A: During my time away from work, I enjoy taking my wife and two dogs, Lacie and Cincinnati, kayaking. I also like surfing, golfing, and shooting.

Q: What is one of the most interesting cases you have worked on?

A: I am currently involved in treating a miniature horse with a subluxated lens within the eye due to trauma. The initial prognosis was poor for being able to keep the eye. The mini is currently responding better than expected to topical treatment and prognosis has improved.




Benefits of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) in Tendon Injuries

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A leader in Sport Horse Medicine, Palm Beach Equine Clinic is always on the forefront of advances in regenerative therapy. One treatment that has become widely used in modern equine medicine is the use of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) for soft tissue injuries.

Platelets are very small blood cells that are a crucial part of our body. Platelets are an integral part of the blood clotting process to stop hemorrhage from any wound. Platelets also contain Growth Factors – the elements that aid in healing and stimulate specified tissue to heal at an increased rate.

In order to treat your horse with Platelet Rich Plasma, the veterinarians at PBEC are able to take a sample of the horse’s blood and concentrate the platelets in high-speed centrifuge using procedures, filters and equipment. The concentrated platelet rich sample is injected back into your horse at the specific area of injury in a sterile procedure usually ultrasound guided.

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A sample is pulled from the bloodstream in the exact method one would draw blood from the jugular vein. The pulled blood sample is then processed in the sterile laboratory on site at Palm Beach Equine Clinic to extract and concentrate the platelets in a condensed sample. The prepared PRP sample is injected into a tendon lesion or ligament or even into the joint space to provide natural growth factors to increase the tendon rate of healing and aid in the repair of the injury.
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PRP treatment has had repeated great success in tendon and suspensory ligament injuries and is increasingly used in the treatment of intra-articular joint injuries. It can be very helpful to help repair cartilage and soft tissue injuries within the joint space.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic prides itself on continuing to remain State of the Art on continuing medical advancements. Along with PRP, Stem Cells are also frequently used with PRP. The growth Factors are combined with regenerative Progenitor Cells. This cutting edge therapy is part of a continually advancing field that has made exciting developments in both human and equine sports medicine.

PBEC veterinarian Dr. Richard Wheeler considers PRP to be one of the best-studied regenerative therapies offered.

“The nice thing about PRP is that you are using the body’s own healing mechanisms,” Dr. Wheeler explained. “It is very natural; it is all endogenous. You are using the horse’s own cells to repair injuries, and it can be really useful.”

“Regenerative medicine is a very explosive field at the moment,” Dr. Wheeler continued. “We are improving and finding out new things all of the time. PRP is being used extensively in human medicine as well. It has good science behind it, so I think it will stand the test of time.”

Every regenerative therapy program is different and it is important to consult your veterinarian and understand the options and specific applications for each treatment. To find out if PRP therapy is right for your horse, contact Palm Beach Equine Clinic for more information at 561 793 1599.

Advances in Imaging at PBEC – MRI vs. Nuclear Scintigraphy

Palm Beach Equine Clinic prides itself as a consistent leader in horse sport medicine and recently upgraded its scanning technologies to provide better equine diagnostic imaging services for their clients.

Last fall, PBEC installed a state-of-the-art MRI lab containing the Equine Standing MRI manufactured by Hallmarq, which allows scans of the equine foot and distal limb to be imaged in a standing position requiring only light sedation.

Also, last summer PBEC renovated the existing Nuclear Scintigraphy lab, including the installation of the new top of-the-line MiE Equine Nuclear Scintigraphy camera. This new gamma ray camera is designed with sharper contours for more precise imaging and lameness diagnosis. The advanced technology software provides the ability to acquire high quality images regardless of small patient movements, alleviating the necessity for re-scans and reduces the time required to complete a scan.

Both MRI and Nuclear Scintigraphy can be extremely useful in diagnosing lameness origins and determining appropriate, effective treatment for your horse; but it is important to know the difference between the two imaging modalities and how both are most effectively utilized.

Nuclear Scintigraphy, also known as a bone scan, is typically used to diagnosis the injuries or bone remodeling within the skeletal anatomy of the horse. In comparison, MRI can be more useful to further diagnose a known lameness origin to acquire more defined, precise images of both boney and soft tissue structures.

The process of a Nuclear Scintigraphy scan begins with the horse injected with a radioactive isotope, specifically named Technetium 99, which attaches to the phosphorous proteins localized within the bone. The absorption of the isotope into the bones takes several hours. After the isotope has been absorbed, a specialized nuclear isotope gamma ray camera is used to capture images of the skeletal anatomy and produce diagnostic images. Points of interest on the images that “light up” are defined as areas of increased metabolic activity indicating a site of injury or active bone remodeling. Depending on the amount of uptake within an area it can indicate the severity of the injury, from a fracture to mild exercise induced remodeling within a joint.

Bone scans are also very useful in defining multi limb lameness origins. Our gamma ray camera has the capability to allow for 360 degree imaging around the horse, including dorsal views (images looking down from above the horse, i.e. full pelvis images). The camera has a wide range of view as well as capabilities for easy imaging of the cervical vertebrae (neck), and pelvic views of which are difficult to capture with standard radiographs. Typically, Nuclear Scintigraphy scans isolate points of injury to be identified further with other diagnostic techniques.

The process of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, also known as MRI, works based off of basic physics: aligning atoms created by frequency pulses omitted from the magnetic field within the lab equipment. MRI produces highly detailed images in several different planes (sagittal, transverse and frontal views) and varying slice thickness to image a desired area completely. The biggest difference between a bone scan and MRI is that MRI is best used to further define an injury/ specific area that your veterinarian has already pinpointed as the origin of lameness. An exploratory MRI scan to diagnose the entire distal limb is not the most economical for diagnosis. For example, if your veterinarian notes an irregularity within the tendons surrounding the Right Fore Fetloc, PBEC would scan the right fore fetlock region to better identify the confirmed irregularity noted on the Ultrasound.


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PBEC has both MRI and Nuclear Scintigraphy labs on site at the hospital that can assist with the complete diagnosis of your horse’s lameness. We are also one of very few equine practices in the U.S. with a Board Certified Radiologist on staff. World-renowned Radiologist, Dr. Sarah Puchalski, is on site during our busiest season to interpret images so clients have results as quickly as possible as well as to make sure the client has a complete, diagnostic study prior to the horse leaving the clinic.