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Articles by Renee Tucker, DVM:

This article is about biphosphonates. These include Tildren and OsPhos.
For the purpose of easier reading, Osphos is equivalent to Tildren.

OsPhos works by stopping Osteoclasts. Here’s why this is bad.

The body has a lovely balancing system of osteoblast and osteoclast cells. These guys are in charge of making bone. The ‘clasts clear the way. They remove old bone cells. The ‘blasts build new bone cells.

The ‘blasts’ and ‘clasts work together. There cannot be any new bone cells laid down on the bone matrix unless the ‘clasts have cleared the way first. OsPhos stops this process.

Why do vets give OsPhos?

OsPhos is currently approved only for navicular disease. In navicular disease, the navicular bone appears to have less density. Less density on xrays means that it has less calcium. That is, less bone.

So vets think, “Ok, there’s less bone than we want. The problem must be too much osteoclast action! Let’s slow that down.” And they give OsPhos.

I don’t know if any veterinarian said, “Um, wait a minute. Couldn’t it also be too little osteoblast behavior? Or maybe the bone is under excessive strain and that’s why it’s losing calcium?”

Maybe someone did. But, nevertheless, Osphos and Tildren are still being given at time of this writing. And they’re given to horses for any perceived skeletal issue, not just navicular issues.

Side Effects with OsPhos

But the OsPhos goes to every bone, not just in the problem area. OsPhos is given IV. It can be found circulating in the bloodstream for four months. OsPhos releases from the bones — where it’s trapped — over months and years. During that time period, the bone balancing system is devastated. The majority of ‘clasts are out of commission. And therefore the ‘blasts can’t build bone.

It’s no wonder that fractures are listed on the side effects of OsPhos. Along with:

  • Fractures
  • Colic
  • Kidney failure
  • Not eating
  • Behavior disorders
  • Muscle tremors
  • Death
  • In addition, it’s worth noting that Tildren was discontinued for human use before it was made available for horses. When humans were given Tildren, chronic pain was a common reported side effect.

    What to do instead of OsPhos:

    If you or your vet is considering OsPhos/Tildren injection for your horse, please don’t do it. Instead, find the primary cause and fix that.

    For example, if your horse has navicular disease, most commonly this is caused by contracted heels, misaligned leg, and poorly functioning stay apparatus. These can be corrected by TBT bodywork and knowledgeable trimming over time.

    There’s always an answer. Just keep digging for the why.

    Best regards,

    Renee Tucker, DVM


    The ‘Witchy’ Mare:

    You probably know what I mean by a “witchy” mare. But just in case, I’m talking about mares in constant or exaggerated heat cycles. They can be frustrating and even dangerous.

    Current therapies for witchy mares include giving hormones (either orally or implants), herbal supplements, or removing the ovaries. Ovaries are removed if there’s an ovarian tumor, but also sometimes just to try removal and see if it helps.

    The common denominator with current therapies is that they’re assuming that the ovarian hormones are the cause. Sometimes they are, so the treatment works. And other times, as you know, the treatment doesn’t work. But why not?

    With TBT (Tucker BioKinetic Technique) we always concentrate on primary cause analysis. Primary cause means…

  • Finding the underlying cause of the symptom
  • Discovering the true problem
  • Unraveling symptoms to find the originating problem
  • And keep asking questions until you figure it out. :)

    So, in this case, we need to know more about mare hormones.

    Here’s a nice chart from Equine-Reproduction.com:

    This chart looks complex, but let’s simplify this: Mares are like women. Women cycle. The difference is that while women have a 4 week cycle, mares have a 3 week cycle.

    The cycle is controlled by hormones. Primarily from 5 areas: the hypothalamus and pituitary in the brain, the uterus and ovaries, and the liver (which converts T4 to T3).

    Knowing that the hormones come from five areas, you can now see why it doesn’t always work to just take out the ovaries. The hormones can be messed up because of these other hormone-related areas, and for other reasons.

    With TBT Functional alignment (Module IV), you can correct the energetical motilities of these areas.

    [I realize you might think, “What the heck? Energy motilities? She’s gotta be nuts.”

    Oh wait, that was me thinking that. Yes, I thought energy work was crazy. And yet, as I kept searching for answers to frustrating horse problems, I found many times the answers weren’t found in traditional thinking.]

    Once these five areas are working well, give it about a week. It does take some time to get the hormones balanced out.

    Dangerous kicking mare:

    Sometimes I get instant results on these mares. Like I worked on one witchy mare where she’d try to kick you if you touched anywhere near the right ovary. And I mean aiming at you! She’d kick all the time, but way worse during her cycle.

    I did TBT functional motility on her ovary (very carefully) and as I did she held her head up high with eyes wide while I worked on it… and then let out a big sigh and licked and chewed when it fixed.

    I gave it a few minutes and then tried to touch her again, and she didn’t try to kick. Or lay her ears back or anything. The owner was so shocked, she came over to touch the area herself. She couldn’t believe it. But the mare was fine after that. She stopped reacting to touching the ovary area, and the problem didn’t come back.

    Nutritional items BAD for witchy mares:

    If there’s not much improvement after a week, take a look at diet.
    Items such as soy and flax can be read by the body as pseudo-estrogenic. That means the horse thinks it’s being given estrogen. So naturally that will mess up hormone balance.

    Alfalfa and molasses can also suppress the thyroid.

    Sometimes mares are on blood-builders which are high in copper and iron. High copper and iron suppress manganese.

    Nutritional items GOOD for witchy mares:

    These mares need manganese. Why? It stimulates the hypothalamus. So manganese is like groceries for hypothalamus health.

    Other possibilities:

    Some pharmaceutical drugs will affect mares’ cycles. Even drugs that aren’t supposed to affect hormones are still being filtered by the liver. And we need the liver working well to do its thyroid magic (T4–>T3)

    Sometimes the mares are not getting enough sunlight. Sunlight affects the horse’s pineal gland, which stimulates the hypothalamus. So depending where you live and how the horse is stabled, sunlight alone can be the problem.

    In summary, if you have a marish mare or mare with breeding problems:

    Check ovaries, uterus, pituitary, hypothalamus and liver. And double-check nutrition and supplements and sunlight.

    You can help these mares a lot, and they’ll be very thankful you did.

    Product info only on WDMHH:

    Recommended Supplement:

    Dynamite Specialty Products

    Recommended Product
    Dynamite Easy Balance

    This product is not a cure-all for witchy mares. It is an excellent, absorbable source of magnesium and other nutrients which can help. This product is only a part of the total solution for witchy mares. Follow dosage on package.

    Best Regards,
    Renee Tucker, DVM