No matter what life may bring, our pets are here for us. And Palm Beach Equine Clinic is here for them.
commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, clients and
community, Palm Beach Equine Clinic is expanding to treat all four-legged
members of your family.
you are concerned for the health of yourself, your loved ones, or simply doing
your part to flatten the curve, our team of veterinarians is here to help by
prioritizing the the health of your animals.
Save yourself from the stress and risks associated with taking your pet to the veterinarian. Please contact Palm Beach Equine Clinic for your small animal veterinary needs. A team of Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarians is able to care for your pets through select small animal veterinary services during this unsettling time.
Here for the Health of All Barn Critters
Whether at Your Farm or at the Clinic
& Fecal Testing
Medications (such as heartworm or flea and tick treatments)
Don’t hesitate to ask your Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarian about the care of your pets. We are here to support you and your animals, and can provide accommodations to safely tend to your pets.
In an executive order issued March 20, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has directed all non-essential businesses in Palm Beach County to close. As a veterinary hospital, Palm Beach Equine Clinic is an essential business and will remain open.
Palm Beach Equine Clinic is committed to the care of equine patients and will continue providing care, whether for elective treatments or emergency procedures. Our equine hospital, laboratory, and diagnostic departments are fully functioning, expertly staffed, and equipped to treat any type of equine condition. A Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarian is always available in the event of an emergency, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
While our doors remain open to support clients through this distressing time, Palm Beach Equine Clinic is taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Hand sanitizers have been posted to our
main doors and we encourage all clients to take a pump before entering the
As standard medical practice, Palm Beach
Equine Clinic continues to implement high-level disinfection and sterilization
of medical equipment and devices. To ensure our staff and clients are kept
safe, stricter cleaning protocols have been implemented throughout the Clinic
and will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
Please limit the number of individuals
present during your horse’s appointment. Our veterinarians are equipped with skilled
technicians to handle your horse.
Please be cognizant of social distancing measures
even if you have no signs of illness.
If you or a family member are not feeling
well, suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19, or have recently traveled to
areas with active COVID-19 transmission, please call the front desk at
561-793-1599 to reschedule your horse’s appointment or arrange for another
person to be present at the appointment.
We encourage horse owners and barn
managers to be prepared in the event that they or their staff becomes ill and
cannot care for their horse. Having a dependable backup caretaker for your
horse and organizing clear instructions on feed, medications, exercise and general
care is crucial to preparedness planning.
Palm Beach Equine Clinic continues to stay up to date on COVID-19 developments and will update our clients, partners and fellow equestrians as the situation progresses. Contact Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561-793-1599 for questions or to speak with a veterinarian.
Dr. Scott Swerdlin Discusses His Thoughts on Being Strategic About Your Horse’s Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As we all
know, the United States Equestrian Federation has suspended all points and
ratings for the immediate future as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic. This unfortunately resulted in the cancellation of the Winter
Equestrian Festival, Adequan Global Dressage Festival, and major equestrian
competitions around the world. However, this does not mean that all riding and training
must come to a halt.
For the health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones, we must follow recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We are fortunate that Wellington, specifically the Equestrian Overlay Zoning District, is not a high-density area that offers picturesque bridle paths, idyllic weather and an abundance of expertise in all facets of the equine industry. Now is a unique opportunity for those who have been occupied by hectic schedules to take a step back, de-stress and even enjoy social distancing by saddling up and exploring the endless miles of excellent bridle paths.
Let’s make the most of our time in Wellington while awaiting the unclear future of the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to ride and train our horses. Let’s try to keep a degree of normalcy in our daily routines and use this time wisely by improving both horse and rider health and well-being. Let’s use this time to ensure our horses remain in peak performance and ready to resume competition schedules when that time arrives.
Avenues for Enhancing and Maintaining Optimal Equine Health
It is vital for teams to have a veterinarian by their side keeping a close eye on the equine athlete’s health, performance and well-being. Closely monitoring a horse’s condition is key to catching potential injuries before they progress into issues that require more serious treatments. Here are some recommendations to consider incorporating during this break in competition that may benefit your horse when its time to step back into the show ring.
Now is a perfect time to update your horse’s vaccinations and make sure your horse is ready to step back onto the showgrounds when competition resumes. Spring equine vaccinations to consider include:
Eastern (EEE) and Western (WEE)
For horses returning to areas where Potomac Horse Fever exists, a booster for that disease is highly recommended. Ensuring your Coggins test and records are up to date is always beneficial. For questions regarding equine vaccinations, please call Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561-793-1599 to speak with a veterinarian.
Maintenance & Regenerative Medicine
Allowing our equine athletes to thrive while extending their performance careers may require Sport Horse Medicine to improve their comfort, well-being and performance. Many horses benefit from having their hocks, stifles, and/or coffin joints injected. Horses must be thoroughly evaluated by a sport horse veterinarian to determine the necessity and potential benefit of maintenance medicine before any corticosteroid injection is administered.
To further address the wear and tear incurred from intense training and competition, Regenerative Medicine is a non-steroidal option for activating and enhancing the horse’s innate bodily healing process. Palm Beach Equine Clinic offers advanced regenerative therapies for treating musculoskeletal injuries, osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease.
Rich Plasma (PRP)
Receptor Antagonist Protein (IRAP)
Autologous Protein Solution
Employing a holistic approach to treating patients, Palm Beach Equine Clinic offers veterinarians with a wealth of expertise in Alternative Medicine. Alternative therapies are often used in conjunction with traditional medicine and can be uniquely tailored to enhance a horse’s performance and overall health.
Now may be the perfect time to plan for a future competition partner by breeding your horse. Palm Beach Equine Clinic is proud to offer highly successful Embryo Transfer program. Utilize this time to begin the breeding process by having your mare safely bred through artificial insemination, with the embryo collected 7-8 days after pregnancy. A detailed Breeding Soundness and Fertility Evaluation can jumpstart your future show ring champion. Palm Beach Equine Clinic provides veterinarians with expertise in Advanced Reproductive Services and Fertility Solutions, including:
The spread of the novel coronavirus has raised serious concerns as the status of the virus continues to evolve. As equine veterinarians, Palm Beach Equine Clinic is here to clarify questions raised regarding the potential impact of this disease in the equine industry.
include a large group of RNA viruses that cause respiratory and enteric
symptoms and have been reported in domestic and wild animals. Equine Enteric
Coronavirus and COVID-19 are both coronaviruses, however, they are distinctly
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infectious disease experts, and multiple international and national human and animal health organizations have stated that at this time there is NO EVIDENCE to indicate that horses could contract COVID-19 or that horses would be able to spread the disease to other animals or humans. Equine enteric coronavirus and COVID-19 are NOT the same strains and there is no indication that either are transmissible between species.
Therefore, it is important to concentrate on the health of our equestrians by being precautious and following recommendations from public health officials. Palm Beach Equine Clinic will continue to make every effort to stay informed of developments with COVID-19, and will continue to provide veterinary care to all horses regardless of the status of this disease.
A Profile of Equine Enteric Coronavirus
Equine coronavirus is an enteric, or gastrointestinal, disease in the horse. There is NO EVIDENCE that equine enteric coronavirus poses a threat to humans or other species of animals.
Transmission: Equine coronavirus is transmitted between horses when manure from an infected horse is ingested by another horse (fecal-oral transmission), or if a horse makes oral contact with items or surfaces that have been contaminated with infected manure.
Common Clinical Signs: Typically mild signs that may include anorexia, lethargy, fever, colic or diarrhea.
Diagnosis: Veterinarians diagnose equine enteric coronavirus by testing fecal samples, and the frequency of this disease is low.
Treatment and Prevention: If diagnosed, treatment is supportive care, such as fluid therapy and anti-inflammatories, and establishing good biosecurity precautions of quarantining the infected horse. Keeping facilities as clean as possible by properly disposing of manure will help decrease the chances of horses contracting the virus.
for this notice was compiled using the following sources:
Dr. David Priest Utilizes Dynamic Endoscope and Performs Surgery to Help Four-Year-Old Harness Racer Get Back in Action
For equine athletes to perform their best, optimal respiratory health is crucial, and particularly paramount for harness racehorses. According to Dr. David Priest, Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarian with a keen interest in respiratory health, a racehorse moves roughly 70 liters of air through its lungs over the duration of one second while exercising. To simulate the movement of that amount of air outside the anatomy of a horse’s body, it would require two industrial ShopVacs on full power.
colloquial condition known as “roaring”, or recurrent laryngeal neuropathy, is
a fairly common issue among horses, and it restricts the amount of air able to
reach the lungs through the horse’s upper respiratory system. The condition
usually affects the left side of the larynx – the equine left recurrent
laryngeal nerve is longer than the right – with paralysis that does not allow
for an adequate amount of air to travel to the lungs.
According to Dr. Priest, equine anatomy plays a factor in the prevalence of this condition. There is a correlation with the length and size of the neck to the nerve pathways that travel from the brain to the chest, around the heart, and back up to the throat. Although mild cases of recurrent laryngeal neuropathy can be tolerated, the condition becomes particularly serious when a horse’s work involves high-intensity aerobic exercise.
often see recurrent laryngeal neuropathy described as a paralyzed flapper,”
said Dr. Priest. “If you imagine the flaps of the larynx as cabinet doors, then
the horse should be able to hold the doors open without problem while at rest. Yet,
when the airflow picks up during exercise, that muscle is sometimes not strong enough
to hold the doors open, and it collapses into the airway.”
before the start of 2019, Dr. Priest received a call from Stephanie Reames, the
trainer of a four-year-old harness racehorse with symptoms pointing to
recurrent laryngeal neuropathy. During his diagnostic process, Dr. Priest
performed an endoscopy while the horse was resting to provide a baseline
saw what I thought was a minor abnormality, but I did not know what amount of laryngeal
strength this horse had,” said Dr. Priest. “The roaring noise usually occurs
when the disease is progressive, and this horse was making a little bit of
particular horse was in training for the harness racing season, so the owners and
trainer wanted to figure out the root of the issue as swiftly as possible,”
continued Dr. Priest. “The most effective way to accomplish that is to utilize
a dynamic endoscope.”
A dynamic endoscope is a video recording device worn by the horse during exercise. It allows veterinarians to see the larynx, and therefore view signs of recurrent laryngeal neuropathy in real-time. Dr. Priest observed the disease as a grade C on the universal grading system for rating the disease, which translates to a full collapse of the left larynx flap.
Once diagnosed, Dr. Priest recommended an aptly-named laryngeal tie-back surgery, which involves stitching the larynx flap to surrounding cartilage in order to hold it open for optimal airflow. He performed the surgery at Palm Beach Equine Clinic a couple of days after making the diagnosis, and the horse returned home to its training base at South Florida Training Center in Lake Worth, FL, the same day.
suggested recovery time is 30 days to allow for the surgical incisions to heal.
Once healed, this horse immediately returned to full harness racing training.
horse is doing fantastic and we are hoping to qualify for racing in the next
three weeks, and we will most likely head north to Pennsylvania to race,” said
Reames. “Dr. Priest is absolutely amazing and was extremely professional from
start to finish. There is always a hesitation when you learn that a horse needs
surgery, but Dr. Priest was so prompt with the diagnosis and procedure, and the
horse healed so quickly. We have high hopes for another successful racing
In February of 2020, Dr. Priest performed a second dynamic endoscopy to observe the condition and effectiveness of the tie-back surgery. “The disease usually results in a 20-30% reduction in airflow, which causes a small performance decline resulting in a speed reduction of maybe one second. This horse’s particular case was perfect at the one-year check, which is key because that one second can be the difference between winning and losing!”
Evaluate your Horse’s Respiratory Health by Contacting PBEC
Dr. Santiago Demierre Gives Peachy a Second Chance
When two-year-old Quarter Horse filly Peachy decided to jump out of her paddock for a night-time stroll this past November, she got herself into some creative “young horse” trouble. After tipping over a garbage can containing bailing wire, she became entangled in the wire and her attempts to kick free resulted in the wire penetrating the wall of her right hind hoof and looped through the sole. The more the filly kicked, the deeper the wire went until it pierced the opposite side of the hoof wall and protruded out the other side.
The first call owner Corey Chilcutt made was to the clinic, and on-call veterinarian Dr. Santiago Demierre responded immediately.
Not So Peachy Anymore
I arrived, the two ends of wire that looped over the horse’s back had been cut
down so it was only the wire penetrating the hoof,” said Dr. Demierre. “She was
stressed and in a great deal of pain. I sedated the horse and blocked the foot
so she would not feel any more pain.”
Once Peachy, who is in training to run barrels in Loxahatchee, FL, was comfortable, Dr. Demierre utilized portable radiograph technology to obtain x-ray images of the right hind foot and evaluate the injury. The images revealed that it was safe to remove the wire, and after disinfecting the area, Dr. Demierre removed the wire through the injury site.
were no fractures or synovial structures involved, but I did see on the
radiograph that the coffin bone was compromised,” said Dr. Demierre. “There was
a suspicious line through the coffin bone that could have led to chronic
lameness, so the prognosis for performance was reserved. The prognosis for
survival was very positive, and I told the owner there was a 50/50 chance she
would return to training.”
Once Peachy’s hoof was free from the wire, Dr. Demierre soaked the foot in disinfectant, and began an aggressive course of antibiotic treatments, including regional distal limb perfusion and systemic antibiotics. Finally, the foot was wrapped while the treatments did their work.
Demierre returned to check on Peachy and continue the antibiotic treatments six
times over the past two months. “I performed recheck radiographs of the hoof a
month after the injury and there was no fracture where we saw the initial line
that caused concern,” said Dr. Demierre. “The margins of the coffin bone had
reabsorbed slightly, but overall the injury was healing well.”
Once the bandages were removed, Dr. Demierre worked with Chillcutt’s farrier, Juan Rivera, on a therapeutic shoeing plan. Rivera used a hospital plate with disinfectant on the injured hoof, and a bar shoe with a pour-in pad on the opposite hind hoof. At the first shoeing reset a month later, he transitioned the right hoof to a bar shoe with a pour-in pad.
recovery plan included stall rest until Dr. Demierre gave the green light for
hand walking six weeks after the injury. At eight weeks, she was trotting on a
lunge line, and earlier this month Peachy’s rider Kloey sat on her for the
outcome was excellent,” said Dr. Demierre. “She is perfectly sound with no
medication and will be back in normal shoes by the end of this month.”
is hopeful that Peachy and Kloey will return to their training and will be running
barrels in the future. “Dr. Demierre was amazing; his treatment plan was successful
and Peachy was back to work much quicker than we ever thought. Words can’t
describe the gratitude we have for Dr. Demierre, his technician Emma Sexton,
and everyone at the clinic. Their dedication has been phenomenal.”
of February 14, Peachy is back to her old self, according to Chillcutt, who
noted, “She is happy to be back to work and she loves her job!”
Palm Beach Equine Clinic is the only equine veterinarian based in Wellington, FL, with the powerful SmartRLT Laser.
Dr. Natalia Novoa utilizes this revolutionary sport horse medicine tool to treat a variety of injuries and wounds with clinically documented success. The SmartRLT laser is a portable Class IV laser, the most potent and dynamic on the market, as an essential non-invasive therapy for use in the barn and at horseshows. Not only is Dr. Novoa’s regenerative laser extremely effective in treating injuries that were previously considered career-ending, but it is also especially beneficial for enhancing body condition and performance of the equine athlete.
Clinical and scientific results of the SmartRLT include:
Repair of ligament and tendon lesions
Reduces scar tissue within and around injuries
Increases collagen production
Increases blood circulation to bring nutrients to the site
Realigns muscle fibers for stronger healing
Provides analgesia (reduces pain)
Enhances tissue oxygenation
Increases cell proliferation (generates more cellular energy)
Regenerative Laser Therapy has successfully treated injuries to structures such as:
Neck and poll, stifles, temporo mandibular joint (TMJ), hocks, fetlocks, and coffin joint
Sore feet and laminitis
Sore muscles (especially back and gluteal)
Suspensory ligaments and branches
Superficial flexor tendons
Deep digital flexor tendon and its insertion inside the hoof
Inferior and superior check ligaments
Summer sores and scratches
Open wounds and punctures
Sacroiliac joint and kissing spine
Regenerative Laser Therapy Case Study: Lameness
Grand Prix level show jumper with left front lameness.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) showed intra-osseous fluid accumulation in the left front third metacarpal condyle.
20 sessions of Dr. Novoa’s SmartRLT.
Fluid in the third metacarpal condyle was resolved.
Custom Treatment for Your Unique Horse
Dr. Novoa’s SmartRLT is a pioneering technology that has evidence-based settings and treatment
protocols to optimize the effectiveness for each unique patient. Treatments are
customized for the specific structure, acute or chronic conditions, deep to
superficial and skin pigmentation to reach the best outcomes.
Regenerative Laser Therapy provides a warm, soothing
sensation and does not require sedation. Treatments can be performed at the
barn or horseshow. Be sure to share your competition schedule with your
veterinarian so treatments can be done within a safe and legal timeframe.
General Protocols for Regenerative Laser Treatments
Pre and Post Performance: 1-3 sessions Acute Conditions: 6-10 sessions for the first two weeks Chronic Conditions: 2-3 sessions per week for approximately 10 weeks
Laser Therapy 101
Laser therapy is beams of electromagnetic energy that interact chemically and biologically with the targeted tissue or injury. This creates photobiomodulation, allowing maximum penetration of tissue structures. Laser therapy releases endorphins while increasing cellular activity, blood flow and enhancing tissue oxygenation. Essentially, it enhances the body’s natural healing mechanisms and expedites the restorative process.
Regenerative Laser Therapy goes far beyond standard lasers.
Regenerative Laser Therapy releases greater energy per pulse to create a photomechanical effect at the cellular level. It can be directed to the target injury or lesion to regenerate, revitalize, remodel, repair and realign tissue. Therefore, it is essential for equine sports medicine, lameness, rehabilitation and optimizing performance.
Regenerative Laser Therapy may only be administered by a veterinarian. Dr. Novoa is the only veterinarian based full-time in South Florida offering the SmartRLT treatments.
Dr. Laura Hutton grew
up in an equestrian culture in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland and can’t recall a
time when she wasn’t fawning over a pony in a field or a show jumper in the
competition ring. She affirmed at an early age that she wanted to be an equine veterinarian,
and she stuck to her ambitions.
“I grew up around horses and I always wanted to be an equine vet or a professional show jumping rider, but I wasn’t good enough to do the latter!” explained Hutton, who has now been working as a veterinarian at Palm Beach Equine Clinic for two years.
What brought you to the U.S. and then to Florida?
I completed high school, I took a year off and was a working student at a show
jumping yard in Ireland. When I went back to school, I studied at the
University College Dublin’s School of Veterinary Medicine. The day after I
graduated from veterinary school, I moved to the USA and completed a surgery
internship at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, KY.
In 2016, I headed south and accepted a position at Palm Beach Equine Clinic and have been there ever since! I love Ireland, but I found so many opportunities here in the States that I could not pass up. For example, I recently completed an acupuncture course. I always wanted to work with sport horses and I really couldn’t be in a better place to do that; the volume and quality of horses that come through the clinic is incredible. The sunshine is pretty sweet too!
What are your day-to-day responsibilities at Palm Beach Equine Clinic and what branch of equine medicine do you consider to be your specialty?
Beach Equine Clinic handles all kinds of treatments and I am an ambulatory vet,
which means that my cases vary from lameness issues, medical cases,
emergencies, and everything in between. I see so many unique cases, but the
best ones are those that end with a pleased client. I remember I had a horse
come in with a severe laceration that took six months to heal. When that horse
was fully recovered, the owner was extremely grateful and that’s the best
outcome we can hope for.
I love the variety of ambulatory work, but I enjoy diagnosing and treating lameness the most. It’s like solving a puzzle, with the end goal being that I am able to help an equine athlete perform to the best of its ability.
What do you enjoy most about treating horses and being a part of the Palm Beach Equine Clinic Team?
The best part about being an equine veterinarian, for me, is being around the horses all day! They’re amazing animals and it’s a very rewarding responsibility to have a sick or lame horse in your care, treat it, watch it recover, and then see it doing well in the future. Palm Beach Equine Clinic is made up of a really talented group of people with years of experience. I am able to consult with those veterinarians and learn from them. Also, we are lucky to have the latest and most advanced treatments, technology, and medications at our fingertips at Palm Beach Equine Clinic.
What can we find you doing when you are not working?
You can still find me riding a bit here, but it’s never enough! I just bought a three-year-old in Ireland and I am hoping that in a few years he will be able to come over here with me. Other than horses, I am always trying to stay fit and have run in a couple of marathons. But mostly, I enjoy being here in Florida with friends, having the craic!