Dr. Lukens became interested in horses at an early age while growing up on a horse farm in Lebanon, OH. He performed his undergraduate studies and earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University. After graduating with his DVM in June of 2012, he became the fourth-generation veterinarian in the Lukens’ family, dating back to his great-grandfather’s graduation from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1912.
Dr. Lukens joined the Palm Beach Equine Clinic team in 2012 with specific interests in sports medicine, lameness, and ultrasound. Learn more about Dr. Lukens:
What is your background with horses?
I grew up on a 30-acre boarding farm in Lebanon, OH. I spent many summers cleaning stalls and grooming horses. I took some hunter/jumper lessons and would regularly trail ride my Thoroughbred, Dexter, through my neighbor’s 200 acres of land. My father was an equine veterinarian and I was hooked as soon as I realized my dad’s profession was to work with horses all day.
As a fourth-generation veterinarian, did you always know you wanted to be a vet?
I can’t remember a time when I wanted to be anything but a veterinarian. My father, Bill, was my inspiration for becoming a vet. Since I was in a car seat, he would take me on farm calls with him. One time, when I was 13, I remember helping him with a field castration. I also remember him teaching and questioning me about where a horse was showing lameness. I enjoyed the challenge of finding the origin of the lameness in difficult cases, and that helped me get to where I am today, specializing in lameness.
Dr. Ryan Lukens. Photo by Erin Gilmore
Who has been the biggest influence in your life or career?
There are many people who have had an impact on my career and some that continue to make an impact every day. My mother, who had a large impact, allowed me to ride horses in the back woods when I was young. My sports coaches taught me discipline and relentless determination. My father taught me basic horse skills and began my veterinary training at a young age. To this day, he refines my veterinary skills whenever we discuss cases. My career would not be possible without the support of my wife, Jess, who understands the long hours that I need to work to be available for my clients and supports me always.
How did you join the Palm Beach Equine Clinic team?
When I graduated from The Ohio State University, I started my internship at Palm Beach Equine Clinic a month later. My mentors, the entire staff, and the clients are the reasons I stayed following the completion of my internship year.
What is your main role at Palm Beach Equine Clinic?
I work with a large number of lameness cases at Palm Beach Equine Clinic. It is important to me to keep horses healthy and sound during the strenuous show circuits. I am also a member of ISELP (International Society of Equine Locomotor Pathology).
What do you love most about your job?
I love being able to work on a wide variety of horses that participate in the different disciplines all available in Wellington. The clients are interactive and really care for their horses at a high level.