Monthly Archives: March 2016

PBEC’s Drs. Steve O’Grady and Bob Brusie Address Foot Soreness in Competition Horses


Foot problems, especially for jumpers, become more noticeable as the winter equestrian season winds down in Florida, according to well-respected veterinarian and farrier Dr. Steve O’Grady of Palm Beach Equine Clinic.

Dr. O’Grady has been treating horses for 45 years in Virginia and Florida. He also travels extensively all over the world, teaching and training other vets and farriers on farriery problems and solutions. It’s obvious to Dr. O’Grady why foot problems are more common later in the season.

“When horses arrive in Wellington in December, (foot care) starts with bar shoes, pads, pour-ins, etc. as a form of prevention for the busy three months. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to start the season by doing a conservative trim (leave horn on the bottom of the foot) and make sure the proper size shoe is selected. The various farrier products may actually add pressure to the structures in the beginning of the season ” says Dr. O’Grady. “When it comes around to March, the structures of the foot have been compromised by the intensity of the competition, the protective farrier products have already been used and there’s nothing more to absorb the shock and energy at the end of the season.”

Dr. O’Grady adds that it is okay to use different medications and anti-inflammatories as long as the proper dosages and rules are followed as prescribed. But to properly fix foot problems, he has one sure solution.

“Time is the best cure,” Dr. O’Grady says. “The feet are the slowest structures on the horse to recover. There isn’t a magical fix.”

However, Dr. O’Grady has an idea that might help if you cannot give your horse sufficient rest despite the numerous classes and repetitive nature of the show schedule.

As the season wears on, whether it’s WEF or HITS, Dr. O’Grady believes that decreasing the amount of warm up, schooling and lunging makes a world of difference in protecting the hooves.

“But if the feet are sore, the feet are sore,” adds Dr. O’Grady. “There’s no quick fix. It’s all about prevention.”

Sore feet can cause numerous problems elsewhere, according to Dr. Bob Brusie, head surgeon at Palm Beach Equine Clinic.

“The horses with sore feet tend to land funny, which can cause strained suspension ligaments or tendons,” says Dr. Brusie. “There also could be sore heels. Sore feet tend to make them short-strided and that could lead to a sore back and/or a sore neck.”

Dr. Brusie says one way to notice a horse with sore feet, especially among jumpers, is their reluctance to jump the fences.

“That can be hard on the riders, too,” adds Dr. Brusie.

The foot is the closest to the environment and if you have a sore-footed horse, it could lead to lameness and poor performance, according to Dr. Brusie. Another possibility that could lead to sore feet is being too wet.

“Horses that are to show or play (polo) sometimes get two or three baths a day,” explains Dr. Brusie. Coupled with rings that are sprayed with water to help the footing can lead to problems, he said.

Both Dr. O’Grady and Dr. Brusie believe that taking proper care of your horse’s feet early helps the horses in the long run by eliminating other problems.

A Day in the Life with Drs. Tyler Davis and Janet Greenfield Davis of Palm Beach Equine Clinic


With a fantastic team of 28 veterinarians, Palm Beach Equine Clinic is one big family. Two doctors at PBEC are even married! Dr. Tyler Davis and Dr. Janet Greenfield Davis are two gifted and knowledgeable veterinarians who call PBEC home. The pair joined the team at PBEC together in 2010. They first met ten years ago while attending vet school at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and have been married six years in September.
While the husband and wife team are both great veterinarians and work in all aspects of sport horse medicine, Dr. Tyler Davis specializes in equine dentistry, and Dr. Janet Greenfield Davis specializes in equine acupuncture.

Adding to the strong family values at PBEC, the duo also has two beautiful daughters. Zella is two-and-a-half years old and Maisie is nine months. The couple successfully shuffles the day-to-day responsibilities of raising two children with two very busy careers. A career in veterinary medicine is very demanding, so finding a balance between home and work can be difficult, but this pair seems to have it all under control.
Take a behind the scenes look at a day in the life of PBEC’s dynamic duo:

Janet and Tyler usually wake up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. They feed the baby, get dressed, and wake up their older child, Zella. They get Zella dressed, feed her breakfast, walk the dog, pack lunches, and are out the door by 10 minutes to 9. Janet drops Zella off at preschool and heads to work, usually arriving at the clinic by 9:15 a.m. to gather her things, and then it is off on farm calls.


This time of year, Janet busies herself with export, acupuncture, and FEI treatments. Sometimes there is the occasional call for a medical emergency. She also volunteers her time treating the horses at Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center.


Zella has to be picked up from preschool at 3 p.m. Janet then picks the baby up from the babysitter and finishes any calls that she did not get to. Then it is home to make dinner, bathe the kids, put them to bed, and wake up and do it all again.

On the weekends Janet tries to keep calls to a minimum, just going to clients that she knows, as the children ride with her. Plus, the work schedule often interferes with naptime.

Working with your children can be very entertaining. Zella acts as Janet’s veterinary technician, carrying various items, and helping her listen to the horse’s heart beat. She provides the patients with emotional support, often patting them, and saying, ‘good boy.’

Zella and the baby also join dad on barn calls and different jobs. They are learning early!

6 Zella on barn call w dad

Dr. Tyler Davis and Dr. Janet Greenfield Davis are no different than any other working mom and dad, but a glimpse into their day-to-day life shows how a successful veterinary career can be managed, and enhanced, with family by your side.

The team at Palm Beach Equine Clinic is proud to call the doctors family and also considers all of the clients family as well. 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.

Get to Know Palm Beach Equine Clinic ’ s Dr. Selina Passante- Watt

Selina and a patient named Sushi stopping to say hi

Wellington, Florida – Dr. Selina Passante-Watt joined the practice at Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) in the fall of 2013. Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Dr. Passante-Watt graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, SK, in June 2012. After graduation, she moved west to Calgary, Alberta, and completed an internship in equine medicine and surgery at Moore Equine Veterinary Centre. She and her husband Walker Watt, who is also an equine veterinarian, then moved to South Florida in July 2013 in order to pursue their equine veterinary careers.

Dr. Passante-Watt started riding when she was ten years old and was a typical horse crazy child. She took western riding lessons for a few years before finding a love of polo. When she was in high school, she got a job grooming and exercising polo horses in Winnipeg, which continued for six summers.
Dr. Selina Passante Watt and Christmas
After high school, Dr. Passante-Watt was unsure what career path she wanted to take, so she decided to go backpacking in Australia. She traveled and found small jobs along the way. One day, while working on a farm picking mangos, a small dog was found wounded from a fight with another dog. Dr. Passante-Watt took the dog, fixed his wounds, and nursed him back to health. That is when she decided to apply to veterinary school. A veterinary career was something that had always been in her mind, but while unsure of her career path after high school, that event solidified the decision.

While attending vet school in Saskatoon, Dr. Passante-Watt met her husband, Dr. Walker Watt, and the pair got married in October of 2013. During his fourth year of vet school, Dr. Watt attended a conference and met some veterinarians from Teigland, Franklin and Brokken, a racetrack practice at Gulfstream Park in Florida. He went to visit and did an externship there, later receiving a job offer. Dr. Watt and Dr. Passante-Watt then made the decision to move to Florida, where Dr. Watt took the racetrack job, and Dr. Passante-Watt soon found a position at Palm Beach Equine Clinic.

“Palm Beach Equine is a great practice,” Dr. Passante-Watt stated. “I have been working with Dr. Jorge Gomez, who works mainly on sport horses and more specifically on show jumpers, so it has been great getting involved in that world and receiving mentorship from Dr. Gomez. There is a lot of sport horse medicine that we do not see back home in Canada. It is a different world in Wellington; everything is a step ahead.”

The first year Dr. Passante-Watt and her husband moved to Florida, they stayed and worked for the full year. They then decided to split their time between the U.S. and Canada, just traveling to Florida for the winter season. They opened their own mobile practice in Western Canada, which Dr. Watt now runs year-round while his wife soaks up everything she can learn in Wellington throughout the winter.

“There is a lack of equine veterinarians in Southern Alberta where we live,” Dr. Passante-Watt explained. “There are a lot of mixed animal practitioners, but not a lot of specific equine practitioners, let alone in performance horses. That is why we decided to open a practice and just work on horses, and it has been going really well so far.”

A veterinarian at just 29 years of age, Dr. Passante-Watt enjoys the team oriented aspect and vast resources that working at PBEC offers.

“There are a lot of specialists and very intelligent people at that practice, so the continual learning is incredibly valuable, especially as a young vet,” she acknowledged. “I learn every day. It is an amazing experience to be able to walk down the hall and knock on the door of one of the best board-certified equine radiologists and say, ‘Hey Dr. Puchalski, can you help me with this?’ Or walk one door down to talk to a board-certified surgeon or any of the other specialists. You do not realize how beneficial that is until you leave and you are in the middle of Western Canada and you wish that you had that.”

“It is also a great way to build connections because nowadays, if you have made those connections, you can easily email people, send images, and pick up the phone and call someone with questions,” Dr. Passante-Watt stated. “I find everyone at Palm Beach Equine to be very helpful. As a vet early in my career, I think it is a great thing to work in a practice like that because it definitely pushes you to learn and be your best because you are working with the best.”

Having the state-of-the-art facility and equipment at PBEC at her disposal throughout the winter is also a huge advantage.
Dr. Passante eye exam
“It is an amazing difference,” Dr. Passante-Watt noted. “I see both sides of it, because I am in Canada in the summer in my own small mobile practice with no bells and whistles, and then I come down to Palm Beach Equine and you have everything you could want at your fingertips. Every sort of pharmaceutical need, every tool, every cutting edge technology, they just have it all right here. For the hospital, there are technicians and interns to monitor your cases overnight, and the 24-hour Intensive Care Unit is state-of-the-art. It is definitely set up to be successful, and with 28 veterinarians, everyone is great about helping one another.”

Dr. Passante-Watt has many different veterinary interests, including diagnostic imaging, ophthalmology, lameness, dentistry and internal medicine. She really enjoys general practice, specializing in a little bit of everything. She is also certified in acupuncture.

As far as future goals, Dr. Passante-Watt plans to take it year-by-year, continuing to come to Palm Beach Equine Clinic in the winters, continuing to learn, and being the best veterinarian that she can be.

When she is not working, Dr. Passante spends time with her husband and their two dogs. She also enjoys outdoor activities such as running, snowboarding, scuba diving, and playing polo. She purchased a few polo ponies up in Canada this fall and also bought a few new ponies in Wellington this winter, which she plans to take home to Canada so that she has a full string to play over the summer. She also enjoys running half marathons.


Palm Beach Equine Clinic Offers the Best in Alternative Equine Therapies

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For over 30 years, Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) has offered an unwavering commitment to the care of your horse, whether an Olympic athlete or reliable trail horse. PBEC’s goal is to keep your horse healthy and happy while extending their performance career. PBEC offers innovative veterinary services with the assistance of state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and surgical equipment. They also offer several alternative therapies that can optimize your horse’s health and increase the longevity of their career.

Veterinary chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine are three alternatives to standard medical treatments offered at PBEC. While all of PBEC’s 28 veterinarians are versed in all methodologies of equine medicine, several of the doctors have studied extensively in alternative therapies. Dr. Natalia Novoa treats horses with chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine. Dr. Janet Greenfield-Davis focuses specifically in acupuncture treatment and also uses Chinese herbal medicine to bring out the best in her patients.
PBEC’s Dr. Richard Wheeler spoke of how alternative medicine can be used to improve your horse’s chance for success and treat many different issues.

“The line between success and failure is very thin for performance horses, and a lot of these alternative therapies can be very useful to give the horse that little bit more,” Dr. Wheeler explained. “Chiropractic and acupuncture are two alternative therapies that we offer. They are both conjunctive therapies that can keep horses comfortable, happy and performing well.”

“Both chiropractic manipulation and acupuncture can get the horse moving a little bit better and can help to maintain some minor chronic problems that they may have, therefore avoiding more invasive treatments,” Dr. Wheeler continued. “For neck or back pain, once we diagnose a problem, we may treat it and then follow up with a program of alternative therapies. These therapies are used with the aim of keeping the horse supple, and moving with ease, and helping the musculature to work correctly. We work with the trainers to optimize muscle development so that we can fix the problem and keep the horse moving forward and performing at the top level.”

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Dr. Janet Greenfield-Davis is one of the veterinarians at PBEC that is skilled in acupuncture and herbal medicine. Acupuncture is a form of treatment used in both traditional and classical Chinese medicine. It is based on the principle that there are energetic pathways, or channels, throughout the body that influence associated internal organs and structures. Energy from these pathways surface at various points on the body, identified as acupuncture points. Extremely fine gauge needles are inserted at selected points, stimulating these points and thereby activating the body’s natural healing abilities.

We offer acupuncture, chiropractic and herbal medicine as an alternative or adjunct therapy to your current veterinary protocol,” Dr. Greenfield-Davis explained. “With acupuncture, we stimulate particular points that can relieve pain, increase endorphins, calm, and improve health and body function in horses. These specific points have a high capacity of nerve endings, lymphatic vessels, and blood vessels, as well as hormone stimulation.”
acu 2
Clinical trials indicate that acupuncture may be an effective adjunct therapy for musculoskeletal problems, such as muscle soreness, back pain, disc problems, osteoarthritis, and degenerative joint disease. Acupuncture may help neurological disorders, such as laryngeal hemiplegia, and facial and radial nerve paralysis. It can help with gastrointestinal disorders, such as diarrhea, gastric ulcers, colic, and impaction. Acupuncture may also help with respiratory diseases, metabolic and endocrine diseases, and other chronic conditions, such as anhidrosis, heaves, asthma, cough, uveitis, and behavioral problems.

Alternative therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic manipulation have gained popularity over the past years. Offering these therapies allows PBEC to treat horses in other ways in addition to their standard practices of equine medicine. Dr. Natalia Novoa is one of the veterinarians at PBEC who offers both chiropractic and acupuncture therapies for clients.

“Chiropractic is an excellent complementary modality that can be used for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of selected neuromusculoskeletal disorders,” Dr. Novoa explained. “The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primary spinal column) and function (coordinated by the nervous system) to restore it. The goal is to treat soft tissue injuries or articular dysfunction to optimize health through manual therapy and to detect and treat abnormalities and alleviate pain.”
Veterinary chiropractic manipulation is thought to optimize equine health by restoring the normal joint motion, reversing mild pathology, and helping to slow the progression of degenerative joint and spine disease. Over the years, this therapy has become a valuable adjunct for competition horses.

Chiropractic manipulation is also a great treatment option for horses that suffer neck and back pain, nerve damage, poor performance, behavioral problems, muscle spasms, localized or regional joint stiffness, unexplained lameness, gait abnormalities asymmetry/muscle imbalance/atrophy, injuries resulting from falls, trauma (such as slips, getting cast in the stall, or missteps), or poor fitting equipment.

“I identify the restricted movement or subluxations by manipulating and evaluating the joint mobilization. Then I restore the joint motion with an adjustment which is a manual controlled force applied to a specific joint,” Dr. Novoa said of the process.

Chiropractic and acupuncture therapies are complementary treatments for lameness problems and other issue. They are alternative methods and do not replace conventional veterinary medicine or surgery, but can be very useful in maintaining top performance levels in your horse.

“There has been an increase of interest in non-traditional therapy, and PBEC is aware of its great value, so we provide the services to allow our horses to reach maximum performance potential and overall health,” Dr. Novoa concluded.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic provides experience, knowledge, availability, and the very best care for the horses of Wellington. Have them be a part of your team!  To find out more, please visit or call 561-793-1599. “Like” them on Facebook to follow along on what happens in Wellington and more, and get news from their Twitter!

Palm Beach Equine Clinic Welcomes International Veterinarians Throughout CSIO Nations’ Cup Week in Wellington


Wellington, Florida – As the official veterinarians of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL, Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) welcomes all veterinarians, local and worldwide, to utilize their services and facilities throughout the winter season.

Located just down the road from the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), PBEC offers state-of-the-art surgical tools, highly advanced diagnostic imaging equipment, three board-certified surgeons, one of the top board-certified equine radiologists in the country, and 28 accomplished and knowledgeable veterinarians available to treat clientele of any discipline.

During the winter season, the veterinarians of PBEC donate their time and services to the world-class competitors of the Winter Equestrian Festival. Week eight of the 12-week WEF circuit is currently underway with CSIO competition, and PBEC welcomes the international team veterinarians to make use of their services as horses and riders compete in the prestigious Nations’ Cup classes.


Horse and rider teams from all around the world will be competing in the esteemed senior Nations’ Cup on Friday night, March 4, beginning at 7 p.m. Hollow Creek Farm will be hosting the Children’s, Junior and Young Rider FEI Nations’ Cup team events on Saturday evening, March 5, 2016. The teams have flown from over ten different countries throughout South America, North America, and abroad to compete this week.

For PBEC President, Dr. Scott Swerdlin, the Nations’ Cup events provide some of the most exciting competition of the circuit and he is proud to have his veterinarians well-represented.

“Those two nights that we have the Nations’ Cup classes, everyone is so competitive and proud of their country and proud of the horses in their country,” said Dr. Swerdlin. “Nations’ Cup week is one of the highlights of WEF and we really appreciate having the opportunity to be supportive of all of the teams. For us, it is just a privilege to be a part of such special competition. We enjoy working with the different veterinarians and they are always welcome to come to PBEC if they are traveling with a team. Our motto is ‘Make us a part of your team,’ and we hope that visiting doctors will take advantage of the world-class services that we have to offer.”

PBEC’s Dr. Richard Wheeler spoke of the support that the clinic is able to provide to the teams as they compete throughout the week in Nations’ Cup classes.

“Being a full-service facility, we are proud to provide support to the international teams,” said Dr. Wheeler. “It is great to see the international horse community come together and it is fun for us to build relationships with vets from all over the world. We often have vets come to visit us and spend time in our hospital, and likewise, we visit them in their facilities.

“We are here to support them,” Dr. Wheeler continued. “In an emergency situation, we are here to provide hospitalization and ambulatory services. We offer advanced imaging services such as MRI and Nuclear Scintigraphy, we have a fantastic team of internal medicine specialists that includes three board-certified surgeons, and we have one of very few board certified equine radiologists in the world.”

Dr. Wheeler added, “PBEC always has a veterinarian on the show grounds any time competition is going on. We also have a new Annex office on the show grounds this year so that the doctors can quickly and safely treat horses in a clean environment. The hospital is then ready for emergencies 24/7, with specialists, equipment, and personnel ready to handle any situation.”

PBEC Staff Surgeon Dr. Jorge Gomez serves as the team veterinarian for Colombia and Venezuela. Dr. Gomez finds his partnership with PBEC very important throughout the season.

Dr. Gomez explained his responsibilities as team vet, stating, “I am in charge of the health and soundness of the horses in the team. Before the events, and once the horses for the team are chosen, I look at all of the team horses individually to make sure the horses are in good condition to compete. We check all the health papers and passports to make sure they are up to date. During the competition days, I perform horse inspections before and after every class.  In conjunction with the grooms, we also make sure that the horses are in normal condition with no modifications of their normal behavior.”

If there are any concerns of a horse’s well-being, Dr. Gomez and all of the team veterinarians have the diagnostic services of PBEC at their fingertips. Along with the advanced imaging capabilities and emergency surgical services, teams can make use of PBEC’s niche offerings, such as chiropractic care or acupuncture as well.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic provides experience, knowledge, availability, and the very best care for the horses of Wellington. Have them be a part of your team!  To find out more, please visit or call 561-793-1599. “Like” them on Facebook to follow along on what happens in Wellington and more, and get news from their Twitter!