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.
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.”
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.”
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 by calling 561-793-1599.
Regular, routine veterinary care is important to maintaining optimal equine health. Dental care, vaccinations, deworming, and annual physical examinations keep horses healthy and can identify problems early. It is very important that horse owners have a veterinarian who is familiar with their horses and provide routine care.
Proper dental care is essential to the well-being and peak performance of every horse. Dental maintenance keeps horses working well, performing well, and most importantly, eating well.
It is important to get the horse’s teeth examined and regularly floated at least once a year and sometimes more frequently in older horses. The veterinarians of Palm Beach Equine Clinic are available to visit clients at their farms to perform thorough dental evaluations and “float” the teeth – a term that refers to the veterinarian wearing down the surface of the teeth, usually to remove sharp points or balance out the teeth in the mouth. During the routine examination, the veterinarian will also look for any other dental problems that the horse may have, such as a tooth abscess. Regular dental care may help to prevent premature tooth loss and promote more complete utilization of feed. A horse with uneven teeth due to wear and tear is going to poorly grind up food creating issues with digestion. This could lead to colic, choke, or other serious complications. Sharp or uneven teeth can also cause pain due to the misfit of a bit on uneven teeth and contribute to poor performance or misbehavior. These problems can quickly be alleviated and prevented with proper care.
With Palm Beach Equine Clinic’s advanced technology, the veterinarians are able to perform more cutting-edge, specialized treatments beyond routine dentistry. Veterinarians are able to perform tooth extractions as needed for horses suffering from a tooth abscess or fracture. With the surgical staff at Palm Beach Equine Clinic, which includes three board-certified surgeons, dental surgeries, sinus surgeries, or similar procedures are easily performed at the clinic.
Preventative Equine Medicine
Along with dental care, Palm Beach Equine Clinic offers further preventative equine medicine, including worming protocols for parasite control and routine vaccinations.
Palm Beach Equine Clinic strongly suggests a fecal test to evaluate your horse’s internal parasite count on a routine basis. In Florida, the peak worm season is year-round due to the lack of frost. The effectiveness of different dewormer products can be measured using a simple fecal egg count reduction test, which involves performing a fecal test before and after deworming your horse. Equine tapeworms are also difficult to identify in fecal examinations. Deworming for tapeworms is strongly recommended annually with a product containing Praziquantel.
Establishing an effective deworming program for equine parasites has become an open topic for discussion on which method is most effective. Veterinarians have changed their views on worming in recent years, noting that minimal parasite load within the horse’s hind gut is actually helpful in producing a natural immunity; however, it is crucial to control the parasitic load.
Environmental management is imperative to equine parasite control. Due to the emergence of new resistant parasites, preventative measures in proper barn management should be added to routine rotational treatment with anthelmintic medications to properly control parasite exposure.
Protecting Your Horse from Infectious Diseases
Palm Beach Equine Clinic also stresses the importance of vaccinating horses against infectious diseases, especially with horses that travel. Highly contagious diseases such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), and the West Nile Virus are just a few illnesses that often result in equine fatalities and should be taken very seriously.
Routine vaccinations are imperative to protecting horses from disease and are also a requirement to attend many horse shows. Palm Beach Equine Clinic can prepare horses for travel, whether within the U.S. or going to or from Europe.
The best defense for horse owners is to maintain current equine vaccinations to protect their horses. Vaccinating at the proper time of the year is critical, and boosters should be given regularly. Consult with your veterinarian for further guidance on when and how frequently different vaccinations should be administered.
Whether it is a top-level show horse or a backyard pet friend, the veterinarians of Palm Beach Equine Clinic are here to help with all maintenance needs. For questions or more information, please call Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561-793-1599.
This fall, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) unveiled its latest health rule requiring all horses entering a Federation-licensed competition be accompanied by documentation of Equine Influenza Virus (flu) and Equine Herpes Virus (rhinopneumonitis) vaccinations within six months of being stabled at the show. Now approaching a month of enforcement during the 2016 winter show season, the new vaccination requirements enacted by the USEF gave structure to requirements that were previously being developed and enforced on a show-by-show basis.
After Florida’s Equine Herpes (EHV) scare in February of 2013, horse show facilities began adopting vaccination requirements of their own, usually requiring EHV-1 and EHV-4 vaccines within 90 to 120 days of a horse’s arrival to the grounds.
Now, USEF specifically requires all licensed competitions comply with the same set of requirements while not increasing the workload for competition management. The six-month timeline also matches the operating procedures of international shows overseen by the FEI as well.
According to Palm Beach Equine Clinic’s own Dr. Richard Wheeler, the rule change simply makes sense.
“Most people regularly vaccinate their horses every six months anyway, so this rule should not present a disruption to current practices,” he said. “After the 2013 scare, competitions recognized the potential of closure due to infectious disease and started creating requirements which became inconsistent between shows.”
Whether directly or indirectly affected by rule change itself, an increase in awareness regarding equine infectious disease in recent years had minimized outbreaks, according to Dr. Wheeler.
“A good job is being done so far to keep a big problem away,” he added.
While efforts by the USEF, veterinarians, and horse owners alike have proved successful in keeping horses safe and healthy, Dr. Wheeler was quick to remind the equine community to not get complacent. He stresses the continuation of education and awareness.
“An increase in bio-security is the most significant benefit we’ve had as a result of these requirements,” he said. “This is the most protective measure that we have taken on as a community, and people are now cognizant of how disruptive bringing a sick horse to a show can be. We see people getting vets involved quickly and shows doing a good job of providing isolation. What’s been done in the past few years is a positive thing, but it’s important that we don’t let our guard down because we haven’t had an outbreak in a few years.”
In addition to abiding by the USEF’s six-month rule, Dr. Wheeler also suggests the individuals responsible for caring for horses continue their efforts past the gates of the facility.
“Horse shows are often condensed places and limiting the exposure of horses is difficult,” he said. “It’s important that we stay really aware, take temperatures regularly, identify sick horses, and isolate them immediately. It’s all key to prevent outbreaks.”
Thanks to regulations, always improving technology, educated veterinarians, and diligent horsemen and women, the equine community is becoming more guarded against infectious disease than ever before.
To read more about the USEF vaccination requirement, click here. The experts at Palm Beach Equine Clinic stand ready to answer any questions horse owners may have about vaccinations and the requirements needed for equestrian competitions.