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Palm Beach Equine Clinic Continues Dedication to Equestrian Community as Official Veterinarians of 2020 WEF and AGDF Circuits

Equine Veterinary Care Available at PBIEC Showgrounds Annex Office

One of the world’s premier veterinary facilities, Palm Beach Equine Clinic, will return as the Official Veterinarians of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) running January 8 through March 29 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic Continues Dedication to Equestrian Community as Official Veterinarians of 2020 WEF and AGDF Circuits
Beezie Madden clearing the Palm Beach Equine Clinic jump with Darry Lou. Photo by Jump Media.

With the health and welfare of equine athletes a top priority for the upcoming winter show jumping and dressage competition seasons, Palm Beach Equine Clinic will continue more than three decades of service to both the year-round residents and visiting horses of south Florida. The clinic’s world-renowned facility is conveniently located at the intersection of Southfields Road and Pierson Road in the heart of Wellington, just minutes from PBIEC, the Equestrian Village, and the International Polo Club Palm Beach. Palm Beach Equine Clinic comprises over 35 veterinarians, with board-certified surgeons and internists, and robust support by knowledgeable technicians and staff. Palm Beach Equine Clinic offers exceptional veterinary care and an innovative approach to help each horse achieve their full potential in and outside of the show ring.

In addition to at the full-service equine hospital, Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarians will be available each week to all competing horses at WEF and AGDF thanks to an annex office located adjacent to the WEF stabling office on the PBIEC showgrounds. Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarians are on call daily at the annex office to assist competitors throughout the shows with diagnostic evaluations and treatments, as well as emergency and standard horse care needs. Equestrians are always welcome at the annex, where they have the opportunity to discuss their horse health needs with Palm Beach Equine Clinic.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic Veterinary Hospital in Wellington Florida.
Palm Beach Equine Clinic at the intersection of Southfields Road and Pierson Road in the heart of Wellington. Photo by Erin Gilmore Photography

“Combining the unique offerings of our imaging department, renowned surgical talent, diverse veterinary expertise, and overall high standard of treatment allows us to provide services and care that are akin to the Mayo Clinic for human patients,” said Palm Beach Equine Clinic President Dr. Scott Swerdlin. “The Winter Equestrian Festival and [Adequan®] Global Dressage Festival attract some of the world’s top horses to south Florida. Whether we are treating Olympic level athletes or a trusted companion pony, they will receive the most advanced, dedicated healthcare. It takes a team to achieve success in the competitive arena, and we provide one of the best in the world at Palm Beach Equine Clinic.”

Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinary advances – available to new, returning, and referred clients – include:

Advanced Diagnostic Offerings

  • Computed Tomography (CT) Machine
  • Standing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Nuclear Scintigraphy (bone scan)
  • Board-Certified Radiologist on Staff
  • Digital Radiography and Ultrasonography

Surgical Offerings

  • Three boarded surgeons skilled in performance-related injuries
  • Standing surgery pit
  • Surgical residency program
  • Advanced surgical suite

Specialty Offerings

  • Internal medicine specialists
  • Quarantine facilities with secure isolation and individual airflow systems
  • Alternative medicine specialists focused on chiropractic, acupuncture, and Chinese herbals
  • Renowned sports medicine specialists
  • On-site hospital with 24-hour staff
  • Dentistry, ophthalmology, and farriery expertise
Palm Beach Equine Clinic continues dedication as Official Veterinarians of 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival and Global Dressage Festival.
Palm Beach Equine Clinic is the Official Veterinarian of the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

In addition to being the Official Veterinarians of WEF and AGDF, Palm Beach Equine Clinic will again participate in WEF’s popular Lunch & Learn education series during the 2020 season. Mark your calendars for a presentation entitled “Modern Medicine for the Competitive Sport Horse: How to Gain and Maintain a Healthy and Sound Show Horse” on Thursday, March 12, at 11:30 a.m. in The Wellington Club at the WEF showgrounds. Admission to the Lunch & Learn series is free for riders, trainers, and owners and includes the opportunity to learn how to help the competitive sport horse achieve and maintain optimal health through advanced technology, innovative approaches, and specialty therapies; a buffet lunch; and a chance to win exciting prizes.

For more information on what Palm Beach Equine Clinic has to offer horses competing at WEF and AGDF, stop by the annex office located next to the stabling office on the WEF showgrounds, visit www.EquineClinic.com, or call 561-793-1599.

Success Story: Diligent Pre-Purchase Practices Put “Mater” in the Winner’s Circle

When Margo Crowther of Fort Myers, FL, was looking to add a new addition to her string of barrel racing horses, she made one very important phone call. That call was to Palm Beach Equine Clinic. Dr. Weston Davis, board-certified surgeon and veterinarian at Palm Beach Equine Clinic, has been working with Crowther to keep her horses healthy, as well as performing career-saving procedures.

Diligent pre-purchase practices by Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarian and board-certified surgeon Dr. Weston Davis sets Margo Crowther up for success.
“Mater” in action with Margo Crowther. Photo courtesy of Margo Crowther

In 2016, Dr. Davis helped Crowther and her 2012 Quarter Horse mare Shes Packin Fame, or “Sissy,” return to the ring after what could have been a detrimental injury. Sissy suffered a rare slab fracture to the central tarsal bone in her left hock while competing in a barrel racing competition. After a diagnosis aided by Palm Beach Equine Clinic’s advanced diagnostic imaging equipment and a surgery performed by Dr. Davis, Shes Packin Fame not only returned to running barrels, but the mare was also back to winning the next year.

When Crowther found a new prospect named Grandiose Guy, or “Mater,” she turned to Dr. Davis to ensure her intended purchase would be a good fit. The Quarter Horse gelding was named the Barrel Futurities of America (BFA) Horse of the Year just after she purchased him, crowning him the top four-year-old in the country.

“When I was thinking about buying him, I called Dr. Davis and sent him videos of the horse working to review,” said Crowther, who started the purchase process late last year and chose to involve Dr. Davis in all aspects of the pre-purchase evaluation. “The horse was in Georgia, so he reviewed them from Palm Beach Equine Clinic in Wellington and gave me the stamp of approval. Once a pre-purchase was performed, I sent all the x-rays to Dr. Davis and he told me to move forward.

“I trust Dr. Davis and the team at Palm Beach Equine Clinic so much!” continued Crowther. “Barrel horses work hard and it’s so important to have a great relationship with the vet who oversees their care and knows them well in order to keep them happy and healthy.”

Regardless of breed or discipline, a pre-purchase exam involves certain steps that allow the potential owner and veterinarian to investigate the horse’s health and condition. The veterinarian gathers and interprets information by physically examining the horse’s body systems and conformation, as well as reviewing the health history. A lameness assessment is completed, including flexion tests, soft tissue structure palpation and movement evaluation. Diagnostic medical imaging tools, such as radiography, ultrasonography, endoscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear scintigraphy, or computed tomography, may be used to provide a more detailed and comprehensive profile of the horse.

Crowther purchased Mater and started running him at the beginning of last year, bringing him to the largest one-day rodeo, The American, in the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Texas in February. The competition had a $1 million payout and Mater and Crowther placed fifth.

“Mater” in the winner’s circle. Photo courtesy of Margo Crowther

“After so many runs, we brought him home from Texas and got him over to Dr. Davis for any maintenance work that needed to be done to keep him feeling his best,” said Crowther. “I am very picky about where I take my horses; there has to be good ground and I will not run their legs off. In conjunction with that, maintenance work with Dr. Davis is important. He performs flexion tests, utilizes the imaging at Palm Beach Equine Clinic if necessary, and makes recommendations about my horses’ health and overall well-being.”

Dr. Davis sent Mater home from Palm Beach Equine Clinic with a clean bill of health and Crowther gave the gelding a little time off before their next run. After returning to work, Mater headed to the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) Florida State Championships in Kissimmee.

Crowther’s diligence and Dr. Davis’ knowledge paid off when Mater won both his runs and clinched the open final at NBHA Florida State Championships. With more than 700 entries, Mater and Crowther topped them all and were crowned overall champions of the event.

“Palm Beach Equine Clinic and Dr. Davis have been a huge part of the success I have had with all of my horses,” said Crowther. “They are always there when I need them, whether I’m headed to the clinic in Wellington or they are coming to me in Fort Meyers. It’s nice to be able to know your vet will be there for you whenever you need them.”

Palm Beach Equine Clinic to Sponsor $391,000 CSI5* Grand Prix at WEF

The world-renowned Palm Beach Equine Clinic, Official Veterinarian of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL, is the proud sponsor of the $391,000 CSI5* Grand Prix during “Saturday Night Lights” at WEF Week 7. 

Who: Some of the world’s most accomplished show jumping athletes. Once finalized, the order-of-go will be posted HERE.

What: The $391,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic CSI5* Grand Prix

When: Saturday, February 23, during “Saturday Night Lights” at 7 pm ET. Gates open at 6 pm. Free admission and $20/car parking.

Where: Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. Directions can be found HERE.

In addition to their sponsorship of this week’s CSI5* Grand Prix and of the 3’3″ Amateur-Owner Hunter 36 and Over division throughout WEF, Palm Beach Equine Clinic also provides state-of-the-art veterinary care to the horses of both the year-round residents and visitors of South Florida. Palm Beach Equine Clinic’s technologically advanced clinic is conveniently located at the intersection of Southfields Road and Pierson Road in the heart of Wellington, just minutes from PBIEC, the Equestrian Village, and the International Polo Club Palm Beach.

The expertise and dedication of Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarians is also available to all competing horses at WEF and AGDF thanks to an annex office located adjacent to the WEF stabling office on the PBIEC showgrounds as well as at the main Palm Beach Equine Clinic location. Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarians are on-call daily at the annex office to assist competitors throughout the shows with diagnostic evaluations and treatments, as well as emergency and standard horse care needs.  

The Horses of WEF and AGDF Will Be in Good Hands with Palm Beach Equine Clinic

Official Veterinarians of 2019 WEF and AGDF Circuits

World-renowned veterinary facility Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) will return as the Official Veterinarians of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) running January 9 through March 31 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. 

A proponent and supporter of horse sport in Wellington and throughout the world, Palm Beach Equine Clinic has served both the year-round residents and visiting horses of south Florida for more than three decades. PBEC’s state-of-the-art clinic is conveniently located at the intersection of Southfields Road and Pierson Road in the heart of Wellington, just minutes from PBIEC, the Equestrian Village, and the International Polo Club Palm Beach. PBEC’s talented team of veterinarians offers its clients and the horses of referring veterinarians unmatched care and an innovative approach to standard and emergency services. 

Palm Beach Equine Clinic’s goal is to provide a definite diagnosis and never have to refer a case. In other words, PBEC is the equivalent of the Mayo Clinic for horses. 

“Combining the tools of our imaging department, surgical talent, and overall standard of treatment allows us to provide services far beyond what other facilities can provide,” said PBEC President Dr. Scott Swerdlin, who leads a team of more than 40 veterinarians at PBEC. “But even with all the technology we provide, we need the people to make it all happen. That is exactly what we have; veterinarians skilled in diagnostics, technicians dedicated to caring for the horses before, after, and during any procedure, and world-renowned surgeons who can take a diagnosis and treat the problem with positive results for horse and owner. It takes a team and we have one of the best in the world at Palm Beach Equine Clinic.”

PBEC’s services available to new, returning, and referred clients include:

Advanced Diagnostic Offerings

  • Computed Tomography (CT)
  • Standing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Nuclear Scintigraphy (bone scan)
  • Board-Certified Radiologist on Staff
  • Digital Radiography and Ultrasonography

Surgical Offerings

  • Three boarded surgeons skilled in performance-related injuries
  • Standing surgery pit
  • Surgical residency program
  • State-of-the-art surgical suite
  • Quarantine facilities with secure isolation and individual air flow systems
The Horses of WEF and AGDF Will Be in Good Hands with Palm Beach Equine Clinic
Palm Beach Equine Clinic in Wellington, Florida.

The expertise and dedication of PBEC veterinarians will be available to all competing horses at WEF and AGDF thanks to an annex office located adjacent to the WEF stabling office on the PBIEC showgrounds as well as at the main PBEC clinic location. PBEC veterinarians are on-call daily at the annex office to assist competitors throughout the shows with diagnostic evaluations and treatments, as well as emergency and standard horse care needs.

“Our location, talents, and dedication to the Wellington community and beyond have helped Palm Beach Equine Clinic to offer the best possible care to some of the world’s top equines during the winter show season,” continued Dr. Swerdlin. “Additionally, our annex office places us in the heart of it all, making advanced veterinary care convenient to equestrians competing at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. We are very proud of both facilities and the veterinarians who work there, but we are even more proud to be trusted with the care of such special animals!”

For more information on what PBEC has to offer horses competing at WEF and AGDF, stop by the annex office located next to the stabling office on the WEF showgrounds, visit www.EquineClinic.com, or call 561-793-1599.

Save The Date

In addition to being named the Official Veterinarians of WEF and AGDF, PBEC’s own veterinarians will again participate in WEF’s popular Lunch & Learn education series during the 2019 season. Mark your calendars for a presentation on Sport Horse Health on Thursday, March 7, at 11:30 a.m. in The Wellington Club at the WEF showgrounds. Admission to the Lunch & Learn series is free for riders, trainers, and owners and includes a buffet lunch and a chance to win exciting prizes from 2019 Lunch & Learn sponsors.

Twenty-Five Dollars Could Save a Horse’s Life

Several regions across the U.S. have reached the peak of the winter show season, and with the increase in equine travel, as well as large populations of horses in close contact with one another, proper vaccination protocols are as important as ever.

Dr. Kathleen Timmins of Palm Beach Equine Clinic in Wellington, FL, is often asked why proper equine vaccination protocols are imperative for all horses, and her answer voices directly to the welfare of the horse.

“You could save your horse’s life!” she said. “It is really important from an infectious disease standpoint, but also for mosquito-borne diseases or rabies; these are diseases that are life-threatening for lack of a $25 vaccine.”

Vaccinations: When, What, and How

According to Dr. Timmins, recommended vaccination protocols vary by vaccine and by the location of the horse, but the core group of vaccines is relatively standardized. As a rule, horses should receive vaccines to prevent mosquito-borne diseases like Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE), and West Nile Virus twice a year. Equine Encephalitis is characterized by the swelling of the brain in an infected horse, while West Nile Virus infects the central nervous system and may cause signs of Encephalitis, including those ranging from fever to weakness and paralysis of the hind limbs.

“Vaccinations against mosquito-borne diseases become very important in south Florida because we have mosquitoes year-round,” said Dr. Timmins. “As you go further north, owners may sometimes choose to only vaccinate against those once a year.”

Included in the twice-a-year vaccination program is a Flu/Rhino dose. Flu vaccination prevents the illness in horses much the same way it does in humans, while the Rhino vaccine is key in helping to prevent the Equine Herpesvirus (Rhinopneumonitis). Equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) and Equine herpesvirus type 4 (EHV-4) most commonly result in respiratory disease in horses and can progress to neurological disease.

East and West Equine Encephalitis, West Nile, and Flu/Rhino can all be administered as a combination vaccine requiring only one injection.

In addition to vaccinations given twice a year, annual vaccinations include those to prevent Potomac horse fever, a potentially fatal illness that affects the digestive system and is caused by the intracellular bacterium Neorickettsia risticii; Strangles, a bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract; and Tetanus, an acute, often fatal disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani found in soil.

Much like the vaccinations administered to humans, the companies that produce the vaccines are in constant transition, adapting each vaccine to the most common strains to ensure the most accurate prevention of disease.

The Role of the Horse Show

To combat the rise of infectious disease outbreaks, many horse show organizers have taken a proactive step to reduce the spread of disease by developing vaccination requirements for the show grounds. This is a step towards preventing disease as an organized community, according to Dr. Timmins.

“No one wants sick horses,” she said. “All horse show organizers can do is put the requirements out there and hope that people comply and that they understand why vaccinations are so important.

“When a horse pops with a fever at a show everyone is alarmed,” continued Dr. Timmins. “If proper vaccination protocols are followed, it is easier for us to figure out why that horse has a fever and treat them quickly and appropriately.”

Negative Reactions

There are occasional cases of horses reacting negatively to certain vaccinations, making a regular schedule difficult. After receiving a vaccine intramuscularly, some horses experience local muscular swelling and soreness or signs including fever, anorexia, and lethargy. Severe reactions such as anaphylaxis can also occur in rare, extreme cases.

According to Dr. Timmins, there are procedures in place to help keep horses that suffer reactions on a systematic vaccination plan without threatening their health or competition schedules.

“What I will do first is break up the vaccinations so we can figure out which one is bothering the horse,” said Dr. Timmins. “Then sometimes all it takes is a change in the vaccine company because the particular horse is reacting to their preservative or their carrier. Veterinarians can also pretreat with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to avoid really bad reactions. Finally, there is always an option to administer intranasal vaccines rather than using an injectable.

“Very few horses have severe reactions to vaccines and for the most part, the horses traveling to shows are part of a young and healthy populations,” continued Dr. Timmins.

As the winter horse show season continues throughout the U.S., horse health must be a priority and vaccinations are a simple way for the equine community to do their part.

“Vaccinations are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to prevent infectious disease outbreaks, and keep our horses healthy and safe,” she said. “There’s just no reason not to vaccinate.”

Dr. Kathleen Timmins

“There is just no reason not to vaccinate,” says PBEC’s Dr. Kathleen Timmins. Photo by James Wooster

More About Dr. Timmins

Dr. Kathleen A. Timmins is a 1993 graduate of the Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine. She completed her internship in equine medicine and surgery at the Illinois Equine Hospital near Chicago. Prior to coming to Florida, Dr. Timmins practiced in Aiken, South Carolina, where she met her husband, John, who plays polo professionally. Growing up in Central Ohio, Dr. Timmins began her relationship with horses as a child on the hunter/jumper circuit. She continues to ride and show as much as possible. She and her husband are enjoying parenthood with their daughter Schuyler.

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!

Dr. Jorge Gomez of Palm Beach Equine Clinic Looks Forward to the Olympic Games in Rio

Christ, symbol of Rio de Janeiro, standing on top of Corcovado Hill, overlooking Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is finally here and Palm Beach Equine Clinic is proud to have its own Dr. Jorge Gomez present to provide veterinary support for some of the world’s most elite horses. Dr. Gomez is not only a top sport horse practitioner, but is also a renowned Board-Certified Surgeon.

Dr. Gomez will be in attendance at the prestigious Games to serve as the veterinarian for the team horses in show jumping events representing Venezuela and Colombia held August 14-18. Two elite horse and rider combinations competing for individual medals will represent each country. On behalf of Colombia, Daniel Bluman with Apardi and Rene Lopez aboard Con Dios III will compete individually. The riders representing Venezuela competing for individual medals include Pablo Barrios riding Antares and Emanuel Andrade with Hardrock Z.

There is a tremendous amount of work that is required in preparing and maintaining a top performance horse for a significant world championship event such as the Olympic Games. While in Rio, Dr. Gomez will closely monitor that each horse is in optimal health conditions while competing. He is responsible for providing and administering permitted medications for muscle, joint, and tendon support, as well as vitamins and intravenous fluids, if necessary. Dr. Gomez also assists the competitors by providing and prescribing physical alternative therapies that help maintain the horse in the best possible form for competition.

Dr. Gomez, originally from Colombia, has been affiliated with Palm Beach Equine Clinic since 2011 and has since represented the clinic at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, and the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

“It is a good opportunity to meet people at all levels and from all over the world that are involved in equestrian sports,” Dr. Gomez said of representing the clinic worldwide. “Palm Beach Equine Clinic becomes a familiar place for all those acquaintances to come to and to refer their horses when they come to Wellington. Many of the horses that we take care of during the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington are referred to us because of the connections that we have made at the international competitions.”

Since he has served at many major international events, Dr. Gomez understands the larger significance of preparing for the Olympic Games. An Olympic medal is a lifelong dream for most grand prix competitors, and having the right horse in peak condition is essential.

“Caring for the horses at the Olympic Games is the same as any other competition, but there are maximal responsibilities,” Dr. Gomez detailed. “Because of the nature of the event, riders want us to be checking the horses entirely on a daily basis for at least one week before the event starts.

“Of the four horses that will be under my care, three of them are my regular clients, so I keep a fairly close eye on them already,” Dr. Gomez added. “In conjunction with trainers and riders, we planned a schedule that we think is the best for the event. I look forward to the competition, and I hope that the horses under my care perform according to expectations.”
Palm Beach Equine Clinic, the industry leader in sport horse veterinary care, features an illustrious list of veterinarians who are experts in their respective fields. Dr. Gomez and PBEC’s team of 30 veterinarians, including Board-Certified Surgeons and Radiologists, are available to provide services to clientele throughout North America and around the world in the various horse sport disciplines

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 www.EquineClinic.com 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!

Dr. Richard Wheeler Talks Equine Pre-Purchase Exams

Wellington, FL – Palm Beach Equine Clinic’s (PBEC) Dr. Richard Wheeler recently shared the basic steps he takes in performing an equine pre-purchase exam. Dr. Wheeler and PBEC’s 28 veterinarians, including Board Certified surgeons, internal medicine specialists, and radiologists are considered some of the most experienced in the disciplines of show jumping, dressage, and polo. All of the doctors enjoy the opportunity to work with many of the top horses in the world in all disciplines featured in PBEC’s home base of Wellington, FL.

With thousands of horses competing in Wellington at events such as the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, equine sales are a big part of the business for many equestrians throughout the winter season. PBEC’s pre-purchase examination services are always available to assist in making the best decision on your purchase.
No matter what the breed or discipline, pre-purchase exams include several basic initial steps. First, an overall health evaluation of the horse is completed, including previous health history, general condition, and conformation, as well as specific examination of the body systems including eyes, cardiovascular system and respiratory system. Next, a lameness assessment is completed, including flexion tests, soft tissue structure palpation, and movement evaluation. Additional diagnostic imaging such as radiographs (x-rays), ultrasound, endoscopy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or nuclear scintigraphy (bone scans) may be requested for additional information.
The purpose for the veterinarian to perform an examination of the horse is to assess its current state of health and soundness at the time of the examination, as well as gather information that may help to predict a level of risk for the future use of the horse. Dr. Wheeler explained the steps that he takes when evaluating a horse for sale, as follows:

  • “The first thing I do is talk to the potential buyer and trainer to gather their expectations and any concerns that have arisen during the trial of the horse. Next I discuss the horse with the current owner and/or trainer to determine what level of training or competition it is in, and if it has any previous issues that they are dealing with.”
  • “Then we look at the horse in a static exam in the stall. We do a physical exam, looking at the whole body from front to back. Key points are the eyes, heart, and lungs and we palpate from the head and neck, to the back, and down the limbs. We are looking for signs of old injuries or areas that may have issues; conformation comes into play here as well.”
  • “We want to look at the horse in a dynamic exam. We usually look at it on the lead line and on a lunge line, or trotting in a circle on hard and soft surfaces, and then also under saddle as well. I like to see all of my horses go under saddle because we can observe the interaction of horse and rider, which is very important. During this stage we will perform flexion tests and ask the horse to perform specific movements depending on the discipline.”
  • Blood tests are often taken and normally will include CBC, Chemistry, Coggins test and a drug screen. Depending of the age or type of horse other tests may be performed.
  • “Finally, there are some auxiliary tests, which may include radiographs, ultrasound exams, and endoscopy of the upper airways. These days, if there are certain issues, we will also include further diagnostic tests such as MRIs or bone scans. That depends on what is found in other parts of the exam. If there is something suspicious on a radiograph, the buyer might want to do more advanced imaging. Or sometimes, depending on the value of the horse, they might want to do that anyway.”

Dr. Wheeler pointed out that it is not the intention of a pre-purchase exam to recommend the horse for purchase or for sale. The exam is performed to provide information about the level of risk and educate the client of that risk. The client will make the decision on whether they want to buy the horse or not based on the information the veterinarian has provided as well as information from their trainer.

“What might be acceptable for you may not be for me, or vice versa, depending on what I want the horse for or the value of the horse,” Dr. Wheeler noted. “It is not a pass/fail situation. We are just describing the horse, doing our best to state whether the issues that it has can be maintained or can be useful for the horse’s given profession, and what is expected of it, and this is where experience is so important. If the horse is being purchased as a low level children’s show horse, the stresses on it are going to be less than if it is being asked to go to the Olympics.”

Every exam is different, but the basic steps of evaluating a horse for any discipline or level of competition are fairly standard. It is important to have a veterinarian who is experienced and knowledgeable with the specific discipline to provide accurate guidance on the horse’s condition for the expected job. For the clientele of Palm Beach Equine Clinic, the veterinarians are all well schooled in the different disciplines, and many have additional expertise in specific areas.

The world-renowned veterinarians of PBEC will be sharing their expertise on equine pre-purchase exams in a four-part series featured exclusively on ProEquest from February through April 2016. Located in the heart of Wellington, FL, PBEC serves multi-discipline clientele at equestrian competitions throughout North America and abroad. To schedule a pre-purchase exam with one of PBEC’s top veterinarians, call 561-793-1599 or visit www.equineclinic.com to find out more.
About Dr. Richard Wheeler

Dr. Wheeler graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in London in 2002. He spent his first two years of practice as an intern at Greenwood, Ellis and Partners in Newmarket, England, where he worked in a referral center specializing in the treatment of Thoroughbred racehorses and Sport Horses. Dr. Wheeler moved to Palm Beach Equine Clinic in 2005 and became a partner in 2009. Dr. Wheeler’s clients include Jumpers, Dressage and Polo and he is licensed to practice in FL, KY, NC and NY and also the UK and Europe.

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 www.EquineClinic.com 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 Internship Program Brings the Best to South Florida

While Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) may be known for the 28 superb veterinarians who call it home, they are also a driving force in educating the next generation of equine medical professionals. Through world-renowned internship and externship programs, PBEC molds new veterinarians every day.

Each year, four interns work with PBEC veterinarians for a 12-month period. Whether from externships that usually last up to two weeks and serve as an introduction to the practice, or by references from top veterinarians across the U.S. and abroad, PBEC attracts the most promising young vets in the field.

Currently, PBEC is host to recently graduated vet students from Oklahoma, Scotland, and Argentina. According to PBEC veterinarian Dr. Weston Davis who leads the Internship program, South Florida attracts only the best.

“We really have the cream of the crop because they have big opportunities here,” said Dr. Davis. “A lot of internships can offer work with one or two vets, but what’s cool at PBEC is they can pick from the collection of doctors we have.”

PBEC’s interns rotate through three phases, including hands-on application of hospital anesthetization, imaging – both from ambulatory duty and elective – and working with a doctor of their choice based on their specific interests.

Dr. Davis has been with PBEC for two years and immediately took interest in making the internship program the best it could be. In two years, he has made one of the world’s best programs even better.

“I wanted to make it as organized and structured as it could be so they can get as much out of that year as possible,” he said. “The general rule is that doing a one-year internship puts you three to five years ahead of those that come out of school and start out on their own. Interns come out of school with a handle on book knowledge and the internships give them a good clinical appreciation for those same topics. They see a lot and do a lot under the supervision of seasoned vets while they are here.”

While PBEC internships offer obvious perks for the interns themselves, it also has added benefit for the vets already at the clinic.

“The value for the interns is they get to see a tremendous amount of cases in short time, but it’s also valuable for us because they come out of school with fresh knowledge, new ideas, and keep us current and on our toes,” said Dr. Davis.

Traditionally vet students will fulfill their internship requirements and move on to find a full-time position at other practices. Dr. Davis himself did just that after graduating from the University of Florida College Of Veterinary Medicine and interning at Oakridge Equine Hospital in Oklahoma. But, the experiences available at PBEC keep its interns staying put.

History has proven that many interns who work for PBEC as interns go on to accept full-time positions at the clinic. One of those vets is Dr. Ryan Lukens. After earning his DVM from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, he began an internship with PBEC in 2012.

“I am so pleased that I did my internship with Palm Beach Equine,” said Dr. Lukens. “It was basically another year of school where I got to focus on exactly what I wanted to do.”

Dr. Lukens specialized in sports medicine, lameness, and diagnostic imaging, which is a passion he inherited from his father, a fellow veterinarian. His experience with PBEC solidified that concentration thanks to the latest in veterinary technology.

“When I came to PBEC, I had access to all the newest equipment. That gave me more tools to improve my skills under the direction of a full network of senior vets,” added Dr. Lukens. “When you leave vet school, you have a question every hour of the day, and I had a number of vets who were a phone call away to answer those questions. I never had to second-guess myself because they were there to help me learn. But, there also isn’t always one way to do something correctly. I learned the opinions of so may vets who do things just a little differently, and it helped me to find my own way and what’s best for the horses I treat.”

Thanks to PBEC, horse owners in South Florida and beyond have access to well-educated veterinarians with hands-on experience that is unmatched.

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Palm Beach Equine Clinic
  • Phone
    (561) 793-1599
  • Fax
    (561) 793-2492
  • Address
    13125 Southfields Road
    Wellington, FL, 33414
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