Originally hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Brittany Cain attended Southern Illinois University before moving to Florida and joining the staff of Palm Beach Equine Clinic as the manager of the Nuclear Scintigraphy department.
What is your background with horses?
Growing up, my parents actually had nothing to do with horses; we’re from the city of Chicago, so they were not horse people at all. I was just always the horse obsessed little girl – you know, the one horse girl in the class! When I was about 13, I started volunteering at a therapeutic riding center, so I got a lot of hands on experience there. I learned to ride a little bit and worked with the special needs kids. That was great.
When I was 18 years old and had my first paying job, I was able to afford actual riding lessons and it just went from there!
I did a lot of work on Standardbred breeding farms up in Illinois. I foaled out a lot of babies and trained a lot of weanlings. Many of those yearlings went on to be race horses. I did that for three years during college, and that was a really neat experience.
What led you to pursue a career as veterinary technician?
Throughout high school, I was always obsessed with horses. I volunteered all of my free time to be at the barn. I knew I wanted to do something that I loved, so I found Southern Illinois University, and they had a bachelor’s degree in equine science. I applied to one school, got in, and it was perfect. I didn’t have to find a bunch of schools; I just went to the one that I wanted right away, and I knew what I wanted to do!
What led to your focus on the Nuclear Scintigraphy Department in particular?
I’ve always had a strong interest in the anatomy of horses. I knew a lot of equine anatomy from college where I took many courses that covered the musculature anatomy as well as skeletal. In addition, working with all of the Standardbred yearlings was great experience for working with the two and three-year-old racehorse patients that see here at Palm Beach Equine Clinic.
What is your typical day like at Palm Beach Equine Clinic?
As the manager of the Nuclear Scintigraphy Department, I have the patients in the scanning area for bone scans. Myself and technicians will bring the horse into the area, I will take their temperature, pulse, and respiration checks, and then I will place a catheter and inject the radioactive isotopes.
It takes two hours for the isotope to settle into the bones, and then I can begin the bone scan. I usually inject the isotope, and then I do a lot of paperwork in between the two hours since there’s a lot of tracking and recording for dealing with radioactive materials. Then the scan begins. The horse comes into the room; they’re lightly sedated. The scans usually take from one to two hours or, for a full body scan, anywhere from two to four hours. It’s a lot of keeping the horse comfortable, getting all of the images that are needed, and making sure that the images are high quality. Usually during the busy winter season, we have anywhere from two to three horses a day so it keeps me very busy.
What do you enjoy most about working at Palm Beach Equine Clinic?
I love the variety of patients that we see. We get cases of racehorses, polo ponies, barrel racers, top show jumpers, hunters and dressage. It’s really neat seeing all of these talented and often very expensive horses.
Have you had any standout or favorite moments since you joined the Palm Beach Equine Clinic team in 2015?
We went down to Miami for the Longines Global Champions Tour to assist in taking the arriving horses off the airplanes. I helped by taking temperatures, pulse, and respiration checks on all of the competition horses. It was really cool seeing the caravan from the airport to the show grounds and just how it’s set up on Miami Beach.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
My fiancé and I go fishing a lot usually at the beach or off a pier; we definitely enjoy spending our free time fishing.