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Month: August 2020

Meet the PBEC Team: Intern Dr. Charley McColough

Meet the Palm Beach Equine Clinic Team | Dr. Charley McColough
Charley McColough, BVetMed, MRCVS

Dr. McColough completed his undergraduate studies at Wake Forest University with a double major in Biology and Spanish. Upon graduation, Dr. McColough obtained a certification in Phlebotomy and worked as a Biomedical Research Technician for Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. In this position, he performed hematology and oncology research assays, blood and bone marrow processing, separation, analysis, and cryopreservation, and analyzed cells for DNA extraction.

Dr. McColough volunteered for the Sea Research Foundation in his home state of Connecticut, where he led immunophenotyping for the Marine Mammal Immunological Diagnostics Program that was funded by the Office of Naval Research. His efforts in data analysis contributed to the programs ability to receive grant funding. Dr. McColough also volunteered for the Aquatic Animal Health Center of New York Aquarium as a veterinary assistant where he worked with diverse marine life, such as penguins, walruses, otters, seals, and various fish and amphibians.

Evolving from sea to land animals, Dr. McColough gained experience as a veterinary technician for a small animal hospital in New York City, and then decided to pursue a doctorate in veterinary medicine at the Royal Veterinary College of London in the United Kingdom. Throughout his studies, he completed several research projects, including the investigation of early loss of pregnancy in thoroughbred mares, and the culture, fluorescent microscopy, and flow cytometric analysis of primary equine trophoblast cells. Dr. McColough completed an externship at Palm Beach Equine Clinic during his final year of veterinary school and has been keen on pursuing a career in equine sports medicine.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic is proud to welcome new intern Charley McColough, BVetMed, MRCVS, to our team! Learn more about Dr. McColough:


What inspired you to become a veterinarian?

The dream started for me while I was a Research Intern at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT. I was performing immunology assays on beluga whale blood and working closely with the veterinary team. I was both profoundly impressed and mystified by the skill set and knowledge base that the veterinarians exhibited. Simply put, I wanted to know what they knew.

Why did you choose to pursue equine medicine?

I have wanted to work with large animals since I was a veterinary technician at a small animal practice in Greenwich Village of New York City. I was working with toy breed dogs – some of which never seemed to set foot on the ground – all the while dreaming about working outside with large animals. I was drawn to, and began my veterinary profession in, the equestrian industry because I have been keenly interested in the athleticism of the horse.

Are there any standout cases that you have especially enjoyed working on so far at PBEC?

There was a case that was referred to PBEC following a laceration and repair in the region of the lower jaw. The horse recovered from the laceration but saliva would spurt from the wound when the horse ate. It was amazing to watch the PBEC team catheterize the parotid salivary duct from the buccal surface of the mouth and use ultrasound to catheterize the same duct as it left the parotid gland caudal to the mandibular ramus. The surgeons were able to dissect down and locate both ends of the severed parotid duct and oppose them over a continuous catheter placed from the gland to the buccal surface. Essentially, they found two needles in a haystack and reconnected them to allow proper flow of saliva for the horse.

When not at PBEC, what do you enjoy doing and where can we find you?

Charley McColough Family

In past years, you might have found me on a rock climbing wall or tossing a Frisbee in a wide open field. Nowadays, you’ll find me at home with my wife Ashley and our 9-month-old son Max, making tacos and burgers out of his Fisher-Price food truck.

Treating Equine Summer Sores

Healthcare Reminder: Treating Equine Summer Sores

Healthcare Reminder

Summer heat is in full force across the states, and with high temperatures and humid conditions comes an elevated risk for equine summer sores. Flies thrive in these conditions which can create many nagging problems for horses. One of the most serious problems are equine summer sores, which are medically known as habronemiasis, granular dermatitis, and jack sores.

Summer sores are an unfortunate yet common occurrence in areas with warmer climates, and a problem that Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarian Dr. Meredith Hustler treats often. According to Dr. Hustler, prevention is key, but proper and prompt treatment is paramount if a summer sore does emerge.

Understanding Summer Sores

Summer sores are lesions on the skin caused by the larvae of equine stomach worms Habronema. These worms in the horse’s stomach produce eggs that pass through the digestive tract and are shed in the horse’s feces. Barn flies typically gather around manure and ultimately collect the parasite’s larvae on their extremities. Summer sores will occur when flies carrying the larvae deposit their eggs onto an open wound or the mucous membranes of a horse. This typically includes areas such as the prepuce, lower abdomen, corners of the eyes, and margins of the lips. The larvae cause an inflammatory reaction, often with discharge and the production of granulation tissue infected with larvae.

Signs that a horse may be suffering from summer sores:

  • Non-healing skin lesions
  • Intense itching
  • Formation of exuberant granulation tissue (proud flesh)
  • Calcified necrosis (dead tissue)

“The proud flesh that can appear as a summer sore is a product of the irritation and hypersensitive reaction from the larvae,” said Dr. Hustler. “Once a summer sore is properly diagnosed, the end goal of treatment is to kill both the adult larvae and the flies themselves.”

Detection & Prevention

“Firstly, it is incredibly important that the owner does not assume a lesion is a summer sore because of its appearance or their experience with summer sores,” said Dr. Hustler. “Granulation tissue can look like a summer sore but actually be the result of a different infection or skin issue. So, it is crucial to contact a veterinarian at the first sign of a potential summer sore before any treatment is administered.”

Commonly, a summer sore is the visible granulation of tissue containing small yellow, rice-like larvae within the skin and a mucopurulent (mucus or pus-like) discharge associated with the wound. Prevention is the most effective way of controlling summer sore outbreaks. The best way to protect horses is to implement effective methods for:

  1. Fly control with automatic fly control systems, fly masks, sheets, boots, and a sheath protector.
  2. Proper manure removal of two to three times per day.
  3. Appropriate wound care using topicals such as a silver nitrate stick (when not bleeding) and bandages to keep wounds protected from flies.
  4. Implementing an effective de-worming program (Quest+, Power Pack Ivermectin, or Dectomax treatment).

A diligent de-worming program is the most important element of prevention because effective de-wormer disrupts the parasite’s life cycle internally. The key is to kill both adult worms in the stomach and the larvae that form in the skin tissue.

Many owners also chose to plan ahead by supplementing their horse’s diet with immune boosting natural supplements. “Sometimes with patients that have stagnant, non-healing summer sores, they can really benefit from being prescribed herbal medicines. I’ve seen many horse’s do well on the Chinese Herb Wei Qi Booster in particular,” Dr. Hustler remarked.

Treating Summer Sores

For treatment of the summer sore itself, corticosteroids are administered to reduce the inflammatory hypersensitivity reaction. Antimicrobials are administered to treat any secondary infection that may develop as the result of the open wound. If not treated quickly and appropriately by a veterinarian, summer sores can persist for months and possibly require a costly surgical procedure to remove the granulated tissue and larvae.

“The standard summer sore treatment is debridement of the wound and an injection of Ivermectin (Noromectin),” continued Dr. Hustler. “However, more medicine is not more effective with summer sores. The larvae and flies can develop a resistance to the treatment. So, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian for dosage information. Also, this particular treatment does not include preservatives. Therefore, it is imperative that an unopened bottle is always used to prevent contamination that could lead to an abscess in the injection site.”

Additionally, there are local injections that can be administered directly around or into the lesion itself to promote healing. Dr. Hustler also relies on oral treatments, such as Prednisolone and Dexamethasone tablets, depending on the patient’s case.

At the first sign of a summer sore, contact your veterinarian at Palm Beach Equine Clinic. Call 561-793-1599 to discuss treatment and develop an effective fly-management program for your barn.

PBEC Veterinary Technician Earns AAEVT Certification

Congratulations to Palm Beach Equine Clinic’s own Kim Emmons on her completion of the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians (AAEVT) Equine Certificate Program!

Kim and Casen Emmons

Kim has over 25 years of experience as a certified veterinary assistant, but she was eager to advance her knowledge through this additional certification. Now, she is formally recognized as an equine specialist in the field, distinguished by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and the AAEVT. She also serves as an AAEVT Regional Contact for Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The AAEVT Regional Contacts, along with the Board, meet monthly via zoom call to discuss training and education, local and regional happenings in the equine veterinary industry, business plans, and more industry news.

To acquire this certification, Kim completed courses on equine diseases and parasitology, nursing care, pharmacology, surgical assistance and anesthesia, laboratory diagnostics, imaging modalities and much more.  

Palm Beach Equine Clinic has been incredibly fortunate to have Kim as part of our team for over 22 years. Her steadfast dedication to providing the highest quality patient care, contributions to hospital management, and willingness to lend a helping hand in any situation are qualities that make Kim an incredible person and asset to PBEC. Please join our team in congratulating Kim on her accomplishment! 

Kim Emmons American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians Certificate

Palm Beach Equine Clinic Teams with Acreage Groups for Equine Hurricane Preparedness Clinic

Palm Beach Equine Clinic provided veterinary services for horse owners as part of a new clinic series by the Acreage Landowners’ Association, Western Equestrian Shows and Trails, and the Indian Trail Improvement District.

Loxahatchee, FL (August 18, 2020) – Kicking off a first-of-its-kind clinic series for horse owners of western Palm Beach County, several Acreage groups enlisted the veterinary team of Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) to provide hurricane preparedness expertise. The clinic, held on August 15, 2020, at Nicole Hornstein Equestrian Park in Loxahatchee, Florida, was originally scheduled for the first of the month, but was postponed in true Florida fashion due to Hurricane Isaias.

The Equine Hurricane Preparedness Clinic garnered a couple dozen attendees, masked up with their horses in tow. Kim Emmons, Western Equestrian Shows and Trails (WEST) Clinic Director and certified equine veterinary technician, is the driving force behind the event series.

“I’ve lived in and have been active in our local equestrian community for over 20 years,” said Emmons, who led the discussion on best practices for horse owners during hurricane season.

“The goal of this clinic series is to educate our local equestrian community and provide opportunities for horse owners of all ages and disciplines to become better, more well-rounded horsemen.”

Kim Emmons

Through attending equestrian events, teaching at camps, and her experience as a veterinary technician, Emmons has met many horse owners who lack the correct skills and knowledge on basic horse health and care. “I have always found it really rewarding to share my knowledge by teaching people the proper, practical skills for caring for their horses. Things such as correct leg bandaging, taking their horse’s vitals, listening to gut sounds, and teaching people on when they need to call a veterinarian are all essential for a horse owner to know. I used to teach an equine healthcare camp, and I am so proud to see those young campers grow into the smart, well-rounded equestrians they are today.”

The clinic series is free to attend, with fees for trailering in and offered membership packages, and will be based at Nicole Hornstein Equestrian Park for the foreseeable future.

PBEC provided special reduced rates on equine vaccinations, Coggins (Equine Infectious Anemia) testing, and microchipping services performed by Dr. Janet Greenfield-Davis and Dr. Charley McColough.

“We understand that, especially now in these pandemic times, many people are struggling to cover their horse’s expenses,” said PBEC veterinarian Dr. Greenfield-Davis. “We are happy to be here for the community by providing these essential services at more affordable prices and in a more convenient location for the Acreage horsemen.”

WEST, a new subcommittee of the Acreage Landowners’ Association (ALA), is led by fellow longtime Acreage resident Dixie Thiery.  

“All of our efforts are focused on promoting and protecting the wonderful equestrian lifestyle we are lucky to enjoy here,” said Thiery. “We hope that WEST and this clinic series will help strengthen our community by giving people an easy, convenient way to learn and meet their neighboring equestrians. We are also very fortunate to be supported by the Indian Trail Improvement District, which is responsible for this park, and we are working with them to update our local trail system maps and better plan for equestrian-safe roadways and developments.”

ALA, WEST, ITID and PBEC plan to work together in the future by collaborating to bring horse shows, tack sales, exhibitions, and other educational events for equestrians to the area. The association’s next clinic is planned for September 19 and will focus on basic equine first aid.

Show Jumper Returns to Top of Leader Board After Colic Surgery

In January of 2020, Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarian and board-certified surgeon Dr. Weston Davis performed colic surgery on Bull Run Jumpers Prince of Peace. Piloted by Kristen VanderVeen, “Prince” has proven he has fully recovered and is back in peak condition in August of 2020 by claiming the top spot in the $36,600 Traverse City Speed Classic CSI3* at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.

Congratulations to this fantastic pair from the entire PBEC Team!

Palm Beach Equine Clinic is incredibly proud to have been entrusted with the health and well-being of Prince and numerous other colic surgery patients who have gone on to make full recoveries, returning to training and competing as they were before the colic.

Each colic surgery case has its own specifics, and during Prince’s recovery, he particularly benefited from strategic veterinary use of the regenerative therapy RenoVo to strengthen the abdominal wall at the surgical incision. Dr. Davis adjusted Prince’s recovery plan as he returned to more intense exercise by using this regenerative medicine to provide some cellular scaffolding and growth factors to encourage proper tissue repair of the abdominal wall.

For more information on colic surgery, regenerative therapies, or to talk to Dr. Davis about your own horse’s needs, please call 561-793-1599 or fill out the form below.

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From The Pharmacy: New Xiang Ru San

Option for Anhidrosis

Palm Beach Equine Clinic is proud to offer a wide range of treatments and therapies, including select Chinese herbal medicines. New Xiang Ru San is one such herbal medicine that can be used to treat horses suffering from anhidrosis, or the inability to sweat normally. Anhidrosis can be a common challenge, particularly in hot, humid climates. New Xiang Ru powder has proven to be a clinically effective aid for non-sweaters as it promotes heat and fluid disbursement through healthy sweating. New Xiang Ru San is a blend of the Chinese herbs Bian Dou (hyacinth bean), Xiang Ru (mosla), Hou Po (magnolia bark), Lian Qiao (forsythia) and Jin Yin Hua (honeysuckle flower).

Chinese herbal medicine is a relatively new treatment among equine veterinarians in the western world, but the philosophy of using herbals in healing has existed for thousands of years as part of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). An adaptation of all-natural methods used to treat humans, herbal medicine for animals utilizes ancient Chinese formulas aimed at understanding and treating the underlying causes of a particular disease or illness in order to help the body heal itself, rather than only treating the presented symptoms.

Talk to your PBEC veterinarian about options for treating anhidrosis or call 561-793-1599 to set up an appointment.

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