World Class Sport Horse Care: Focus on Veterinarian Dr. Richard Wheeler
As you prepare to compete, the partnership with your veterinary team is critical for your sport horse’s health and success. It is comforting to know that the finest equine hospital and sport horse care in the Southeast is less than one mile away from the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and across the street from the Global Dressage Festival. The veterinarians and staff of Palm Beach Equine Clinic are respected throughout the industry for their advanced level of care and steadfast commitment to the equine industry and horse care.
Palm Beach Equine Clinic is proudly the Official Veterinarian of the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Global Dressage Festival, two of the world’s most competitive equestrian horse show circuits.
The team is onsite at all the competitions to provide veterinary services and is ready to step up in case of an emergency. This dedication has become invaluable over the years to many competitors that have needed their expertise in veterinary medicine.
As the consistent leader in sport horse medicine, Palm Beach Equine Clinic provides 24-hour coverage at their all-inclusive on-site hospital; complete with full surgical and internal medicine capabilities, laboratory, pharmacy and advanced diagnostic imaging center.
State-of-the-art diagnostic imaging services include:
- Standing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Nuclear Scintigraphy (bone scan)
- Digital ultrasonography and radiography
- Standing computed tomography (CT)
Furthermore, Palm Beach Equine Clinic performs thorough lameness examinations, extensive pre-purchase/pre-lease evaluations, dentistry, podiatry consultation, and complete reproductive services. Palm Beach Equine Clinic also provides alternative medicine services such as chiropractic and acupuncture therapies, as well as, resourceful preventative medicine programs.
The veterinarians of Palm Beach Equine Clinic are are top-level academics frequently published in popular equine magazines and national veterinary journals. One of the more recent members to the Board of Directors at the Palm Beach Equine Clinic is Dr. Richard Wheeler, whose primary area of interest is equine lameness and sports medicine. He is passionate about his role in maintaining sport horses to enjoy a long and successful career.
What are the latest innovations that allow you to administer cutting-edge care to sport horses?
Dr. Richard Wheeler: There are many exciting new developments in equine sports medicine. The addition of imaging modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) together with recent improvements in digital radiography, ultrasound and Nuclear Scintigraphy allow us to be more specific with our diagnoses and image areas of the horse that we were previously unable to image. Furthermore, regenerative therapies such as platelet rich plasma (PRP), bone marrow concentrate and the use of stem cells offer exciting opportunities with regard to the treatment of a wide variety of conditions, including soft tissue and joint injuries.
What do you find separates the most successful equine competitor from the rest?
Dr. Richard Wheeler: Across the field of disciplines, I believe attention to detail and a good team are the most important factors. As a veterinarian, I try to work closely with the owner, rider, trainer, farrier, groom and often many other support staff members. I will often examine the high level horses every week during the intense winter season and we will work together to make subtle adjustments to keep the horse performing at their very best.
How do you feel about your move to the USA and Palm Beach Equine Clinic ten years ago?
Dr. Richard Wheeler: Time has gone fast! There is nowhere in the world like Wellington, Florida, it is a wonderful place to live and practice veterinary medicine. Palm Beach Equine Clinic is an amazing family with a wealth of experience and knowledge to draw on. I think our greatest strength is our team approach; we will spend hours discussing and debating the best approach to cases and I think this is incredibly valuable to our clients. It is of great value to me as a veterinarian to have the high quality equipment we have invested in as well as the support of our Board Certified Surgeons (Drs. Brusie, Gomez and Davis) and our Board Certified Radiologist Dr. Puchalski. I am a strong believer in developing a specialty as a veterinarian so having the depth of support at Palm Beach Equine Clinic allows me to concentrate on lameness and sports medicine with the capability to provide my clients with doctors who specialize in other areas such as alternative therapies, reproduction and dentistry.
Dr. Wheeler’s extensive experience with a variety of equine performance sports advanced after graduating from the Royal Veterinary College in London in 2002. Dr. Wheeler completed an internship at the world-renowned Newmarket Equine Hospital, specializing in surgery and sports medicine, before moving to Palm Beach Equine Clinic in 2005. Licensed to practice in Florida, Kentucky and New York, as well as the United Kingdom and Europe, Dr. Wheeler is an FEI official veterinarian. A horseman himself, Dr. Wheeler has competed in a variety of equine sports including eventing, dressage, show jumping and polo.
Many international Grand Prix riders, such as one of the United States’ top Dressage riders, Tuny Page, attributes the health and soundness of her horses to Dr. Wheeler and the Palm Beach Equine Clinic team.
“Richard is a fine veterinarian with great depth of experience and super instincts. On top of that, he communicates beautifully with me as the client and my grooms as my horse’s managers. Richard is very secure in his positions about diagnosis and treatment of the horses, which allows him the ability to communicate openly with other veterinarians and therapists. This works particularly well when I am traveling with the horses and need to have open communication between other veterinarians and Richard. Richard has always treated my staff with the respect and integrity they deserve and the result is tremendous trust within our team. The most important recommendation for Dr. Wheeler is, quite simply, that my horses are happy, healthy and sound.”
International Grand Prix Dressage Rider Tuny Page
Additionally, International Dressage star, Mikala Munter (DEN), who recently won the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*, knows the importance of equine health and states praise for Dr. Wheeler.
“Dr. Wheeler from Palm Beach Equine Clinic has a good eye and feel for what a horse needs, and he is the best veterinarian for a sport horse”
International Grand Prix Dressage Rider Mikala Munter
Palm Beach Equine Clinic is committed to provide care for your equine athlete throughout the year and across the globe, and support at shows across the USA, Europe and South America.