Monthly Archives: October 2015

Learn More About Dr. Kathleen Timmins

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 Gobin, 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 and her husband are enjoying parenthood with their daughter Schuyler.

1. Will you tell us more about your background riding on the hunter/jumper circuit?

I grew up in a family who was not involved with horses. At nine years old, I began showing in the hunters/ equitation locally in central Ohio and continued to ride until I went to college. I was fortunate enough to have a couple of nice junior Thoroughbred horses to show. I unfortunately don’t ride very much anymore. I have passed the reins over to my daughter, Schuyler. My daughter began riding at a young age on a medium pony that she has since outgrown. Schuyler is now 13 years old and rides a really nice green hunter. My husband is also a polo player, so she has been fortunate to have grown up with horses her entire life.

2. Were you involved with polo before you met your husband? How involved are you with the sport in Wellington?

I was working in Aiken when I met my husband. I came to Wellington with my husband in 1996 and that was also the year I started working for Palm Beach Equine Clinic. I currently have a nice mix of clientele in all disciplines located in both the Wellington/Virginia areas. My clients are mainly show horses; however, I do have many polo ponies as patients. I am also a member on the USPA (United States Polo Association) Equine Welfare Committee and Drugs & Medication sub-committee that authored the USPA Drugs & Medications Rules Book which was implemented a few years ago.

3. What do you enjoy about being part of the team at PBEC?

I love working at Palm Beach Equine Clinic. All the Doctors and staff are very supportive of each other and always willing to help. All the doctors have our own area of expertise and everyone is always willing to work as a team when necessary. There are many employees that have been there for many years. Additionally, I love having all of the technology available to help with all my veterinary cases. I have worked as an ambulatory tech practitioner in the past where I have had to refer cases to the local hospital. I like being on the referral end and receiving cases to help with rather than having to send clients off for various reasons.

4. When and why did you decide to become a veterinarian?

I was the kid following the vet around the barn when I was young. I was always seriously interested in the sciences and animals; combining the two passions seemed like a natural progression. I just came home one day and said to my mom, ‘I applied to vet school.’ I have never regretted my decision!

Dr. Kathleen Timmins

5. Do you have a specialty or main focus?

In my practice, I do a little bit of everything, but I enjoy the challenge of the difficult medical cases the best. I take many of the patients that enter the hospital, including the seriously ill ones such as pneumonias, colitis, kidney failures, or colics; the types of cases that require problem solving. At Palm Beach Equine Clinic Hospital, I can closely manage their care every day to hopefully recover successfully. I also like working with the geriatric animals. We have seen an increase in the senior performance animals and I enjoy working to keep them comfortable and happy.

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

It really hasn’t been any one person who influenced my career, it has been many. The truth is, you learn something or gain something from everyone, good, bad or otherwise. There are always lessons to be learned and you are always influenced a little bit by everybody in your life.

7. What are some of your other hobbies or interests?

During the summers when school lets out in Florida, my family travels to Middleburg, Virginia. My husband runs Great Meadow Polo Club and also has a polo school up there. I help him with the club when I’m there. I am licensed in VA so I can still work with my clients from the clinic there. We also travel to Aiken as we have a farm and clients there, but we don’t get there very often as we are so busy with the club in VA.

8. What is one of the most interesting cases you have worked on?

Recently, I had a racehorse filly with a case of multi drug-resistant pneumonia that was really tough to treat. Our team had to think outside the box from normal procedures to treat her, but it was successful! She recovered fully from her aggressive case of pneumonia and went home to her owners. In today’s veterinary world, horses, like people, are contracting these drug-resistant bacteria as well.

9. If you were not a vet, what would you be doing?

I would be a chef and run my own restaurant. I really love to cook, it is a passion of mine!

10. Is there anything else that people would like to know about you?

I am an FEI Veterinary Delegate for the past 10 years. I have many close contacts within the FEI and I am knowledgeable with all of their up to date rules. An FEI veterinarian is present at the shows to monitor the care of the horses.

 

 

Caring for the Senior Performance Horse, Part Two

IMG_6053

Palm Beach Equine Clinic emphasizes the importance of proper care for our equine athletes as horses age into their senior years and advances in equine medicine are enabling horses to perform longer at their specific careers.

Last month, we discussed the importance of routine veterinary examinations to ensure top health, appropriate fitness programs to maintain stamina and muscle mass, treatments for physical discomfort, and proper care throughout the hot summer months. This month we would like to continue this discussion by highlighting the evaluation of metabolic function, organ function, and proper parasite control in the senior horse.

Horses from the ages of 12 and older are considered “seniors”. Many horses that are in the prime of their careers are considered “seniors” and may require extra maintenance in order to continue performing at their best. To maintain these athletes in peak condition requires a little more work on the owner’s part with the help of their veterinarian. Preemptive attention for your aging athlete’s needs will keep your equine partner performing longer.

An important component to physical health within the aging equine is metabolic function. As horses age, they are more prone to develop a metabolic disease known as Cushing’s disease. Cushing’s disease, also known as Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), is a dysfunction of the pituitary gland increasing the production of Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone (ACTH) ultimately resulting in an overproduction of the hormone Cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone and a surplus of this hormone effects the body negatively. Veterinarians use the fasting test of ACTH that evaluates the hormone levels to screen for possible Cushing’s disease. This hormone test should be conducted every six-months to monitor hormone production, especially in horse’s currently battling the disease.

Cushing’s disease is often detected in older horses typically between 16 to 23 years of age, but it has been documented in horses as young as 8 years old. A few of the clinical signs of Cushing’s disease include change in body conformation such as development of a swayback and pot belly, lethargic attitude and in some horses, the growth of long, “curly” hair with delayed shedding. Horses suffering from Cushing’s disease are at serious risk to develop laminitis without any specific predisposing causes. Occasionally, horses may have Cushing’s disease without showing any outward clinical signs as the onset is quite slow. A simple blood test will be extremely helpful in the early detection of Cushing’s and other metabolic diseases. Additional blood tests can also be evaluated to determine whether your horse has anemia (low red blood cells). Serum chemistry testing can evaluate liver and kidney function to insure these organ systems are working properly. Palm Beach Equine Clinic has the laboratory equipment on site to run the vast majority of these tests for rapid same day results.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic strongly suggests a fecal test to evaluate your horse’s internal parasite count. In Florida, the peak worm season is year round due to the lack of frost. The effectiveness of different dewormers can be measured using a fecal egg count reduction test, which involves performing a fecal egg count before and after deworming your horse. Equine tapeworms are also difficult to identify in fecal examinations. Deworming for tapeworms is strongly recommended annually with a product containing praziquantel, available in products such as Zimectrin Gold®, Equimax®, and Quest Plus®.

Establishing an effective deworming program for equine parasites has become an open topic for discussion on which method is most effective. Veterinarians have changed their views on worming in recent years, noting that minimal parasite load within the horse’s hind gut is actually helpful in producing a natural immunity; however, it is crucial to control the parasitic load. Due to the emergence of new resistant parasites, the recommended method is adding proper barn management for prevention and control to routine rotational treatment with anthelmintic medications. Environmental management is imperative to equine parasite control. Veterinarians recommend removing manure in the pasture at least twice weekly. Mowing and harrowing pastures regularly will break up manure and expose parasite eggs to the sun. If possible, rotate the use of pastures by providing a period of rest or allowing other livestock to graze them. Grouping horses by age in a pasture can reduce exposure to certain parasites. Additionally, reducing the number of horses per acre to a minimum can prevent overgrazing and reducing fecal contamination of the grazing area. Owners should consider feeding horses in a feeder for hay and grain rather than on the ground. Lastly, caregivers should routinely groom all horses to remove bot eggs from the hair to prevent possible ingestion. For parasite control, contact your Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarian and he/she will provide you with specific parasite control protocol recommendations.

It is important for owners to consider all of these issues in the senior horse and coordinate with their veterinarian for routine testing in horses 12 years and older. For more information on caring for your senior horse, please contact Palm Beach Equine Clinic at (561) 793-1599.