Palm Beach Equine Clinic Leads the Industry in Veterinary Referrals and Sport Horse Care

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Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC), of Wellington, FL, is located in the epicenter of the world’s leading winter equestrian destination. With horses and riders traveling from around the globe to compete in various disciplines, the top equestrians need look no further than PBEC’s state-of-the-art hospital for all of their sport horse needs. PBEC has been the premier surgical facility in Wellington for over three decades and continues to expand!

PBEC serves as the official veterinary hospital of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, and is proud to serve as the local headquarters for emergency services and equine diagnostics.

During the 2015-2016 season, PBEC added a support Annex Veterinary Office located on the show grounds at the Winter Equestrian Festival. The wooden barn located at the beginning of the north grounds entrance offers an on-site office space, a pharmacy for supplies and medication pick up, as well as examination areas. Veterinarians from PBEC are always on the grounds when competition is underway, and are always available for daily lameness evaluations, pre-purchase examinations, medical assessments, or any other needs.
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The Referral Relationship

Palm Beach Equine Clinic has a team of 30 veterinarians, which includes three Board-Certified Surgeons, one of the world’s only Board-Certified equine Radiologists, and numerous other experts in their fields. All competitors and their traveling veterinarians are welcome for consultations and other services throughout the season.

Dr. Richard Wheeler and many of the vets from PBEC travel around the country and the world to provide support services for clientele throughout the year. While abroad, PBEC veterinarians consult with various veterinarians and utilize the support services from their home base clinics. As the veterinarians of the world have shown generous hospitality for PBEC into their home locales, PBEC reciprocates the hospitality to all visiting veterinarians in Wellington.

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“In our travels, we work with veterinarians around the world,” Dr. Wheeler explained. “We may share clients with people who spend their summers in Europe or the northeast, some of which we will fly to take care of throughout the year. We often consult with other veterinarians, and it is always interesting and rewarding to share views on different cases. We get to meet people from different countries with different opinions and techniques. I think it is always beneficial for all of us to broaden our horizons a bit by working together with people in different areas of the world. We are able to glean expertise from them and hopefully help them out with their clients as well.

“At PBEC we welcome a lot of team veterinarians and veterinarians from around the country, and we work alongside them with their clients,” Dr. Wheeler continued. “We reciprocate what we do over the summer. The equine vet world is pretty small, so we know most of these veterinarians pretty well and have worked with them a lot. It is a good relationship that goes both ways.”

The referring relationship between veterinarians is most commonly seen in the specialty departments of surgery, internal medicine, ophthalmology, and radiology or diagnostic imaging. At PBEC, the advanced imaging and surgical technology is unmatched, and the three Board-Certified Surgeons are skilled in many procedures that require high levels of expertise and advanced equipment. Therefore, many veterinarians refer their clients to the facility for specialty services.

One equine professional that PBEC works with closely is Dr. Kit Miller, of Miller & Associates, based in Brewster, NY. Dr. Miller travels to Wellington each winter to work with his many clients that are there to compete, and he maintains a great relationship with PBEC. Alternately, when the veterinarians of PBEC are in New York, they are always welcomed to the support of Miller & Associates.

“I have worked with PBEC since I started going to Wellington in the early 90s. They are a valuable resource; they are good friends and good colleagues,” Dr. Miller stated. “Mainly, we refer horses in for imaging and for surgeries. PBEC has been very progressive in getting some of the best imaging equipment available. It helps our practice provide better care for our clients in terms of the quality of the diagnostics, and also just the resources in terms of veterinarians there.”

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Dr. Miller added, “We have a facility in New York, and we do make it available to any of PBEC’s veterinarians when they are in the area. Ours is not a full hospital, so it is really more of an outpatient facility, but just as PBEC’s doors are open for us in Wellington, our doors are open for them when they are up here. We collaborate well. If we have clients that are in locations that we are not, then we routinely call on PBEC vets. If they are available, then we are happy and comfortable to have them taking care of any of our clients, and vice-versa.”

Sport Horse Maintenance

Top international competitors are happy to have the amazing resources of PBEC at their fingertips while competing in Wellington.

Top professional show jumper Georgina Bloomberg uses Palm Beach Equine Clinic to keep her horses in the best shape for the Wellington winter season and year-round.

“Palm Beach Equine Clinic is incredibly helpful in keeping our horses healthy and sound. We work very hard to make sure they feel good and are happy in their jobs, but if any lameness or issue does come up, they are always there to get a quick diagnosis and a plan to treat them. Proper preventative maintenance is key for our equine athletes,” she said.

In addition to her equine athletes, Palm Beach Equine Clinic also cares for the rescue pig and goat that Bloomberg has at her Wellington and New York farms.

Australian top professional dressage rider Kelly Layne moved to Wellington in 2009 and stables her horses at the Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex at PBEC. From the central location, Layne has easy access to both the clinic and the show grounds of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival.

“It is such a luxury to have all of their services available,” Layne stated. “If I have an ill horse at 5 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon, I just walk it over to the clinic, and I know that the horse will be taken care of amazingly. There is always someone available. You’re not staying up all night worrying and checking on the horses. That is just such a nice service that they have, and it is definitely one of the advantages of being in this location.”

Layne continued, “Palm Beach Equine has amazing equipment for completing MRI, bone scans, and of course they have Dr. Sarah Puchalski, who is absolutely one of the best in the world for Radiology. To have her here during the season is incredible. She is a very knowledgeable horse person because she rides high level show jumping horses herself. We are so spoiled to have everything in one location. In the summer, I went to Germany for three months and we were so isolated. I would have to travel to get an MRI or I would have to travel to a certain vet that maybe had a shock wave machine. You couldn’t get everything in one location.”

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Layne also appreciates the many experienced veterinarians that PBEC has to choose from, with various specialties and areas of expertise.

“I think it is just amazing to have so many great minds all in one place,” she acknowledged. “One of the reasons I moved to Wellington is because the resources are amazing. At Palm Beach Equine Clinic, you have a lot of veterinarians to choose from. You have a vet for every different specialty. I use a lot of different vets at the clinic – a certain vet for lameness, another vet for internal health, and it is nice to have that variety.”

Among the extensive list of services offered by PBEC, on-call veterinarians are available for 24-hour emergency coverage and intensive care, 365 days a year. The state-of-the-art hospital features comprehensive surgical and medical resources, including the latest in surgical technology for less invasive operations that result in faster recovery times for the horse. The advanced on-site diagnostic imaging resources are also unparalleled, including a standing MRI unit, a Nuclear Scintigraphy gamma ray camera, ultrasonography, radiography, and a bevy of additional equipment.

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

photos by Jump Media

 

 

 

Palm Beach Equine Clinic Helps to Bring Chinese Herbal Medicine West

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Chinese herbal medicine is a relatively new treatment among equine veterinarians in the western world, but the philosophy of herbals for healing has existed for thousands of years as part of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). Helping to lead the Chinese herbal medicine charge westward, Palm Beach Equine Clinic has incorporated the use of herbs and herbal treatments as an integral part of their alternative therapy options for patients.

As humans adapt to using all-natural methods to treat illness, herbal medicine for animals also utilizes ancient Chinese formulas aimed at treating the underlying causes of a disease or illness to help the body heal itself, rather than only temporarily treating the presented symptoms.

One Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarian who has found these all natural methods as an benefit in her treatments is Dr. Janet Greenfield-Davis, who specializes in both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

“There is an herbal product for anything,” said Dr. Greenfield-Davis, who found herbal medicine six years ago when she started specializing in acupuncture, which joins Chinese herbal medicine as two of the most common forms of TCVM therapies. “Herbals treat a variety of ailments from sore muscles to problems affecting the liver, heart, kidneys, joints, and more. I pair the herbals with my acupuncture, which is traditionally the ancient Chinese way.”

In TCVM, once a symptom of disharmony in the body or disease is identified, treatment proceeds through four possible branches, including acupuncture, food therapy, a form of Chinese medical massage called Tui-na, and Chinese herbal medicine. From topical treatments, including salves and powders, to edible treatments; Chinese herbal medicine not only draws on natural products, but also on the natural tendencies of the horse itself. Being herbivores, horses ingest herbs found in the wild while they are grazing.

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While the traditional methods date back thousands of years, the treatments developed within Chinese herbal medicine are ever-evolving and coupled with modern technology, historical and ancient Chinese wisdom are still very effective. In addition, the treatments utilize the properties of many common herbs with widely known uses. Such as ginseng for fatigue, chamomile for calming, garlic as an antibiotic, and arnica as an anti-inflammatory, the recipes used in herbal medicine draw from only natural sources. This fact is making herbal treatments more common among sport horses that undergo drug testing for banned substances while competing.

“The competitive world is accepting herbal medicine more and more every year,” said Dr. Greenfield-Davis. “It provides an alternative for horses at high levels, especially in FEI, that need a little extra support. They aren’t drugs, they don’t test, and they are a natural product.”

Dr. Greenfield-Davis believes that offering such alternative treatment options is a sizeable advancement for Palm Beach Equine Clinic, in that herbal medicines provide owners with another option when traditional western medicines may not be their answer.

“It enhances our practice because it gives owners a place to turn,” she said. “There is a lot of stigmatism behind using particular western drugs, and I think this gives people a choice; they don’t have to use the traditional western medicines anymore because they can now turn to eastern medicines.”

While it is a personal choice to use a more holistic or all-natural approach to veterinary care for some horse owners, herbs also represent a practical alternative. According to Dr. Greenfield-Davis, herbal medicine is the perfect choice when treating a horse with an aversion to needles, or for horses that do not respond to particular medicines or therapies.

“We are able to work in a more natural way instead of using steroids and things of that nature,” added Dr. Greenfield-Davis. “In some cases, I will use solely herbals and the treatments produce a lot of wonderful results.”

As Palm Beach Equine Clinic continues to advance its alternative medicine therapies, the equestrian community is also learning to accept new possibilities. For Palm Beach Equine Clinic and Dr. Greenfield-Davis, Chinese herbal medicine is a step into the future with a nod to ancient Chinese history.

About Dr. Greenfield-Davis

Dr. Greenfield grew up in Northern California and her passion for horses started during her time showing hunters on the “A” circuit, which later led her to study veterinary medicine at California Polytechnic State University. She graduated from veterinary school at the University of Glasgow in 2010 and has since specialized in equine acupuncture and herbal medicine. Dr. Greenfield hopes to continue her studies in holistic medicine by incorporating food therapy into her treatments at Palm Beach Equine Clinic.

PBEC Proud to Sponsor the Equine World Stem Cell Summit

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West Palm Beach, Florida – For the first time since its inception, the World Stem Cell Summit (WSCS) welcomed the equestrian community to a special, tailored track of the 12th annual conference, held December 7-9, 2016, at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, FL.

This inaugural focused track, the Equine World Stem Cell Summit, presented an exciting opportunity for an array of researchers, veterinarians, and equestrians to actively engage in the single largest conference uniting the global stem cell community.

“It’s a great opportunity to get together with some of the scientists who are in the lab looking at this from the opposite level,” said Dr. Richard Wheeler of Palm Beach Equine Clinic, a sponsor of the 2016 Equine World Stem Cell Summit.

Wheeler and fellow Palm Beach Equine Clinic colleagues, Dr. Robert Brusie and Dr. Jorge Gomez, were among the actively practicing veterinarians who spoke on the impact that regenerative medicine is having on equine medicine.

Get to Know PBEC’s Dr. Sarah Allendorf

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Dr. Sarah Allendorf grew up in London, Ontario, Canada, and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph in Ontario. She earned her Master’s degree in Experimental Surgery from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and then earned her Veterinary degree at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. After completing an internship at Fairfield Equine & Associates in Newtown, Connecticut, Dr. Allendorf joined the team at Palm Beach Equine Clinic in September 2015.

Read on to find out more!

What is your background with horses?

As a child, I was not the most athletically gifted; I could not throw or catch a ball to save my life. In an attempt to combine my interest in animals with an after school activity, my father suggested trying horseback riding lessons. Over the course of the next decade, I went from riding Western Pleasure to showing in the Hunter/Jumper discipline. I competed until I was about 16 when my education began to take priority, though I still ride for my own personal enjoyment.

When and why did you decide to become a veterinarian?

I wanted to become a veterinarian since I was approximately three years old. Once it was explained to me that there were individuals in charge of the health and welfare of animals, I never wanted to do anything else.

My journey began by attending the University of Guelph and obtaining an Honours Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. I went on to earn a Master’s degree in Experimental Surgery with a specific focus in Orthopaedics from McGill University. Upon completion of my MSc, I was granted the opportunity to study veterinary medicine at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Several of the veterinarians at PBEC have studied in the UK. What was that experience like for you?

I really enjoyed living in Scotland – it is such a beautiful country! The University of Edinburgh’s veterinary program is very practically based, and we received a lot of hands-on experience doing animal husbandry training, in addition to the medical aspects. I had the opportunity to spend two weeks working on a dairy farm and three weeks lambing in the English countryside. Apart from the world-class education, another of the biggest perks of living in the UK is the amazing travel opportunities, including two weeks working in South Africa with a wildlife veterinarian.

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Was there anyone influential in your career?

I have worked with a lot of amazing people throughout my training and career, not just veterinarians, but technicians, hospital staff, and owners. It is difficult to say which one person influenced me the most. What I attempt to do in all interactions is observe how each professional approaches a situation, the strategies they use, and the different techniques individuals employ. This has given me an arsenal of knowledge that helps me to adapt to each patient and each situation.

Do you have a specialty?

My main focus is Sport Horse medicine including lameness exams, performance evaluations, and diagnostics. I am available for general health work ups, preventative care, and emergencies – basically whatever my clients need at any given time, day or night.

Additionally, I am currently getting certified in Acupuncture at the Chi Institute of Chinese Herbal Medicine in Ocala.

What do you like most about working at PBEC?

Palm Beach Equine Clinic has a fantastic team. There are many veterinarians and specialists on-site, which provides a unique opportunity for collaboration and continual professional growth. It is also incredible to work in Wellington during the season here; in the equine world, it is the place to be in the winter.

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Are there any unique experiences that you have had working at PBEC?

I had the unique experience to travel on a private plane to Puerto Rico for the day to perform a pre-purchase examination with my boss, Dr. Jorge Gomez. Not only was that an educational experience, but it was a lot of fun. Not that many jobs allow for international day trips.

During the summer season, I am on the road moving between Kentucky, North Carolina, and New York. As a permitted FEI treating veterinarian, I was available to clients at the Tryon International Equestrian Center and the Kentucky Horse Park as well as the Hampton Classic, HITS Saugerties, the American Gold Cup, and the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. In the future, I would like work towards becoming an Official FEI Delegate.

What are some of your other interests?

Watching Grand Prixs, under the lights of course. Not only do I go to competitions to support the athletes, both human and equine, but I go because I admire the sport. Being an equine veterinarian is not a 9-5 job. You have to love what you do, because then it’s never considered work.

Get to Know More About PBEC’s Dr. Tyler Davis!

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Dr. Tyler Davis graduated from the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine in Glasgow, Scotland, and performed his undergraduate studies at Pennsylvania State University. He then became a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Dr. Davis was born in Linesville, Pennsylvania, and is married to Dr. Janet Greenfield, also a Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarian. He enjoys fly-fishing and spending time with his wife and their two children.

 How did you get your start with horses?
Entering vet school, my intentions were always to work in large animal medicine.  I actually thought I might focus on farm animals, having grown up in a farming area in Pennsylvania.  My focus turned to horses alone after starting to work with the university research ponies and spending more time around the equine hospital in my first year of vet school.

When and why did you decide to become a veterinarian?
My interest in veterinary medicine started in middle school.  I participated in 4-H, raising animals for our county fair, and had friends who were farmers.  Between the two I met many of the local vets and experienced the veterinary profession.  When offered to ride along with them on calls, I agreed.  While I did investigate other degrees within the science/biology field, I settled on veterinary medicine.

What was the experience attending veterinary school in another country, and how did that enhance your education?
I was lucky to have the opportunity to attend vet school at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.  Attending vet school in a different country afforded me the opportunity to visit places and experience cultures I would have otherwise never had.  Also, I believe the experience allowed me to see agricultural practices in a different light, when compared to those practices in the USA.  I participated in externships both in the UK and in the USA (knowing I wanted to move back home following graduation) while attending vet school, allowing me to discover different qualities from each.
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Why did you choose to focus on dentistry? 

I think that I have a strong focus in dentistry but have a number of other skills as well.  When starting at PBEC there were only 1-2 other doctors in the practice performing routine dentals floats and the like.  I enjoyed the dental work and began steering my focus on the topic through wet labs, continuing education seminars, etc.

What kinds of work are involved with equine dentistry?
My focus in dentistry goes beyond simply floating teeth.  While routine dental floats do take up a large portion of my dentistry duties, there are other aspects of the field, which I participate in as well.  I also see horses for dental examinations when we may think there is a relationship between the dentition/head and their ability to perform at their desired level. Tooth extractions make up another portion of the dentistry I perform.  Occasionally we find infected or fractured teeth on the routine dental exams, but more often these horses are referred to us, either with a diagnosed tooth problem or with a related complaint (not eating, plays with bit during work, throwing head, etc.).  We are able to bring these horses to the clinic to be “worked up” (diagnosis through x-ray, oral exam, etc.) and treated (oral tooth extraction, sinus flush, etc.).  We have a great facility offering versatility with cases.  I work closely with our surgical staff so that if needed, we can put a horse under general anesthesia if more invasive surgical procedures are merited.

What do you love about working at PBEC?
Palm Beach Equine Clinic has both a great facility and a great staff. It is a joy working here.
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What are some of your other interests?
My other interests include archery, fishing, and woodworking.  Typically if I am not working then I am spending time with my beautiful wife and daughters.

What is something interesting that people may not know about you?
Growing up in Pennsylvania, I am actually a pretty good Polka dancer.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic Warns Florida Horse Owners to Check Their Pastures for Toxic Creeping Indigo

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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.”
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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.

Shipping Fever: What to Know and How to Reduce Risk

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By Dr. Ryan Lukens

Shipping fever is a respiratory disease complex associated with the transport of horses. A common scenario for shipping fever is when a horse is trailered from its barn to another state to attend a show. The horse may be healthy and well-hydrated before entering the trailer, but the stress of travel can weaken the immune system.

Another leading factor is tying a horse’s head up while trailering long distances. The mucociliary apparatus of the trachea, which clears dirt and debris from the lower airway, is interrupted due to dehydration, change in temperature, and the inability of the horse to lower its head. The introduction of foreign material into the lower airway can lead to pneumonia, fluid in the pleural cavity (surrounding the lungs), and associated respiratory distress.

Common symptoms noted are hyperventilation, increased rectal temperature, coughing, and nasal discharge after travel. The horse may seem depressed, not willing to work, and not interested in food or water. It is important to call the vet immediately if any of these symptoms are observed after a horse travels. The faster an infection in the lower airway is treated, the quicker and more likely the horse can recover. Shipping fever, if left untreated, can lead to severe pleuropneumonia, which can be life-threatening.
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Initial treatment includes antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and hydration. If pneumonia progresses without treatment, surgery may be indicated, which can include removal of a rib and placement of chest drains (to drain fluid around the lungs). The vet should be called, and it is crucial to begin treatment at the earliest sign.

There are several preemptive steps that can be implemented to reduce the risk of a horse developing respiratory disease related to travel:

1.  Split up long trailer rides over several days. Be sure to take breaks and let horses out of the trailer at least every 6-8 hours, if possible.

2. Ensure the horse is properly hydrated before travel. Common preventative practice includes administration of oral or IV fluids by a veterinarian prior to travel.

3. Discontinue any immunosuppressant drugs 48 hours prior to travel. This includes steroids such as dexamethasone.

4. Ship horses in a box stall or similar enclosure so their heads do not have to be tied during travel.

5. Ask a veterinarian about immunostimulant drugs that can be given prior to travel.

Shipping fever can occur after any form of travel. Whether a horse is being transported by trailer or plane, remember to be proactive and vigilant. Owners can assist their equines in the first line of defense against shipping fever. Contact a veterinarian at the first sign of risk. For more information, call Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561-793-1599 or visit www.equineclinic.com.

The 4-1-1 on Equine Import and Export with Dr. Jordan Lewis

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A semi truck with a horse trailer heads down the highway.

As more and more international-level sport horse shows sprout up in North America, the import and export of equine athletes from overseas has increased significantly in recent years. Moreover, with the winter show season in Florida quickly approaching, horses from around the world are about to make a pilgrimage to South Florida.

Either for a purchase or regularly scheduled show-season travel, Dr. Jordan Lewis of Palm Beach Equine Clinic works with Florida state veterinarians to simplify the process of importing and exporting horses to and from international destinations during the winter season.

The process begins with obtaining travel documents, including an equine passport and health certificate, and organizing travel arrangements with a professional equine shipper. Once travel is organized, checking the horse’s health is suitable for traveling is always the top priority.

“The most important thing to have in order is health records, up-to-date vaccinations, and complete preventative care,” said Dr. Lewis. “Much of the testing upon import and export depends on the outbreaks of different disease in the import and export countries. The requirements change year to year and even month to month.”

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Dr. Lewis is one of the many vets at Palm Beach Equine Clinic who helps owners navigate through the ever-changing import, export, and quarantine regulations.

“Most horses that are coming from Europe to the U.S. to compete in Florida fly into Miami and are placed in a two- or three-day U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) quarantine depending on the country they are arriving from,” said Dr. Lewis. “If they are arriving from South America, however, requirements are different and they will spend seven days at USDA in Miami.”

It is there that the most current regulations are upheld and tests are performed to rule out the presence of any threatening diseases.

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When importing to the U.S., Dr. Lewis affirms that many tests are required through blood draws, including equine infectious anaemia (EIA) or coggins; piroplasmosis, which is a tick-borne disease; glanders, a common bacterial disease; and dourine, a parasite-born venereal disease. When traveling from South America, horses are also tested for other parasites, such as screw worms. When exporting from the U.S., testing will vary based on the regulations of the destination country, its current health precautions and common parasites or diseases.

Once the initial quarantine is complete, geldings are released into the general population, while stallions and mares are transitioned to CEM quarantine at either a commercial or private quarantine facility.

Contagious equine metritis (CEM) is a venereal disease in horses caused by bacteria and is only spread during breeding or through infected semen during artificial insemination. CEM quarantine is recommended for all horses entering the U.S. from Europe, but not necessary for those flying in from South America as the disease is not present in those countries.

According to Dr. Lewis, CEM quarantine takes about 15 days for mares and 35 to 40 days for stallions. Taking this into account, she recommends owners plan a month to complete the travel regulations for a mare and two months for a stallion. Horses that are continually showing obviously don’t have this time built into their travel schedules, and that is where waiver tents enter the equation.

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Mares and stallions that bypass CEM quarantine are shipped in a sealed trailer to the competition facility where they enter quarantine in a waiver tent to keep them secure from the general horse population while competing.

If horses are admitted into a traditional CEM quarantine, veterinarians like Dr. Lewis perform the appropriate tests and cultures that clear a horse for approved release into a new home or to the event.

“We work very closely with state veterinarians to do all the blood draws and testing for imported horses, as well as stay on top of the requirements of export countries so each horse can easily and safely transition into the equine population,” said Lewis.

While requirements may change often, the ultimate goal of veterinarians like Dr. Lewis and her colleagues remains the same: releasing safe, healthy, and happy horses to travel into the U.S. and all countries around the world.

About Dr. Lewis
Dr. Jordan Lewis is a 2004 graduate of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. She is a Florida native and grew up in south Florida competing on the Arabian circuit before completing her internship in equine medicine and surgery at the Equine Medical Center in Ocala. She joined Palm Beach Equine Clinic in 2005.

Horse Healthcare Tips: Biosecurity and Safe Travel for the Equine Sport Horse

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As horses are competing around the world more than ever, it is important for all owners to implement a routine for vaccinations and biosecurity protocols to keep their horses healthy. Many infectious diseases are easily transmitted between horses and spread quickly through a stable or showground if the proper measures are not taken. The veterinarians at Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) are very experienced with isolation cases and always available to discuss the important steps that should be taken to maintain effective biosecurity protocols. PBEC encourages owners to reach out to their veterinarians at any time for more information or alert doctors of a suspected potential risk.

The best first line of defense for horse owners is to maintain current equine vaccinations. Equine Influenza and Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) are two deadly diseases that are highly contagious and should always be included in a routine vaccination program. In the United States, it is now required for all horses attending a USEF competition to be vaccinated for Equine Influenza and EHV-1 prior to any event. Official documentation of vaccinations being administered within the previous six months must accompany the horse to the competition.
Vaccination does not guarantee absolute protection against any diseases, and biosecurity measures should also be taken as added protection.

Biosecurity is a preventative measure taken to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases by people, animals, equipment, or vehicles. Biosecurity is important at all times, even when an outbreak has not occurred.

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Owners that use commercial transport for their horses should confirm that the trailers have been disinfected between each shipment. Trailers should always be well ventilated, and horses should be provided with fresh, clean water at all times. The stress of travel can decrease a horse’s immune system, causing more vulnerability to disease. It is important to monitor your horse’s behavior and health closely before, during, and after traveling.

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Simple day-to-day practices in health care and hygiene are also very important in reducing the risk of contracting an infectious disease. Washing hands between grooming horses and regularly cleaning grooming supplies can reduce spread of infection. When attending a horse show or moving horses to a new location, a footbath for all persons entering or leaving the barn at each doorway can be effective in disinfecting shoes to reduce tracking disease into the barn. If horses are showing a depressed attitude, have stopped eating, are running a fever, and/or have a runny nose, contact your veterinarian immediately. Early medical attention for an infectious disease makes a large impact on the recovery of your horse and the equine community’s safety.

The best way to safeguard any horse’s health is to keep the immune system strong with support from a suitable nutrition and exercise program. Vaccinations, a proper deworming program, and biosecurity practices will provide additional protection.

Contact your veterinarians at Palm Beach Equine Clinic for more information or assistance on developing an effective vaccination program and biosecurity measures that can ensure your horse’s safety from infectious diseases. For more information, call at 561-793-1599 or visit www.equineclinic.com.