Ever wonder how veterinary medicine gets treatment wrong?
I talk about this in this episode of my “Horse Mysteries solved” podcast, “How do we get horse therapy wrong?
For example, with skin diseases (hives, fly allergies, just plain itchy) horses are typically treated with antibiotics and steroids.
This can help temporarily, but it is not addressing the root cause of the problem.
That’s one example of traditional therapy targeting the “problem”, but never asking the question, “Why is the problem there in the first place?”
But why do vets miss this? Shouldn’t they try to find the underlying cause?
More about this on the podcast. :)
Renee Tucker (00:01)
Hello, my friends. This is Dr. Renee Tucker from Tucker Biokinetic University. Hey. Today I wanted to get started by talking about how have we gotten everything wrong. Okay.
Renee Tucker (00:12)
What I mean by that is we tend to focus on what is the screaming parts. What is the main problem? Often it’s to the exclusion of looking for why is the problem there in the first place? All right, let me tell you an example that hopefully will make things clear.
Renee Tucker (00:31)
When I was a kid, I had eczema, which is like a skin ouchy red thing. And when I was a kid, all they ever did was take me to the dermatologist and give me more steroids. Sometimes antibiotics, but mostly just steroids. So I thought, well, that’s weird. And then when I was in vet school, we did have a whole entire semester of dermatology.
Renee Tucker (00:54)
I thought, this is it. This is where the answers are at, right? And what we do in dermatology, at least in vet school, okay, is we can look at the skin, get some nice ideas of what’s going on, feel it, see if it’s oily or dry, if it’s flaky or scabby or looks infected. And the ultimate test for dermatology is to do a skin biopsy. So I spent an entire semester looking at little slides of biopsies and memorizing what looks like what.
Renee Tucker (01:30)
So therefore, I could give you a lot of different diagnosis of skin conditions. This sounds really great. Well, what happens is, no matter what the diagnosis is, the treatment is antibiotics and steroids. It’s still the same thing. I was really kind of saddened by this.
Renee Tucker (01:51)
I thought, who would spend their whole life being a dermatology specialist, which is a lot more schooling after Med school to just prescribe antibiotics and steroids. Okay. I’m sure they have a little bit more tricks up their sleeve nowadays, but in the veterinary world, skin stuff is still quite complicated. Now, why am I saying we’re doing this all wrong? Well, what’s happened is because there’s so many mountains of information out there now.
Renee Tucker (02:20)
We know so much stuff, and you can look up a lot of it just on the Internet that people have had to focus on a particular area, like the skin for dermatology or the eye for ophthalmology. We have very specific mountains of inflammation that people study, so that’s what they know, and they know it really well. The key is we can’t figure out what might be the cause of it if it’s not in that little silo of information, if you will. For example, with the skin, the liver is considered a secondary filtering organ. I’m sorry I said that wrong.
Renee Tucker (03:03)
The liver is a filtering organ. The skin is a secondary filtering organ. So that means that the liver is supposed to filter the blood, get all the toxins out, extra chemicals, filter it, get rid of it. If the liver can’t do that well enough, it’s too busy or overloaded whatever, then it will filter stuff by sending it out through the skin. Kind of weird.
Renee Tucker (03:29)
So a lot of times when our horses have skin conditions, then it actually could be a liver problem. So you can certainly do a 30 day herbal liver cleanse. If your horse has any skin conditions, that’s not going to hurt anything. To do a gentle liver cleanse with some herbs. Okay.
Renee Tucker (03:48)
But that’s kind of my point is that with traditional medicine, we are really good at certain stuff, particularly acute trauma. For horses, like being colicky or having a cut, choke, these type of things. We’re really good at that. And for humans, certainly if anyone was in a serious car wreck, you want to go to the hospital. This is what we’re fantastic at.
Renee Tucker (04:15)
But this chronic, mysterious stuff not quite so good because I feel we’re too focused in our little areas of expertise because no one can know everything. It’s kind of overwhelming. But still, you have to find a way to think about the entire system of that whole body. Granted, it is a lot of stuff, but we’ll never figure out what’s wrong with the skin. If we don’t figure out why is the skin doing that?
Renee Tucker (04:43)
And it’s often the liver, not the skin at all. Okay, so that’s just one example. There’s plenty of these which I’ll be talking about in future episodes. But what I really want to encourage you is that we’re really figuring this out. Alternative medicine, holistic medicine, TBT University.
Renee Tucker (05:00)
We really look for the primary problem, which is often not the one that is screaming at you. It’s not the super, itchy spot. It’s not the swollen and red spot. I often tell the story and I’ll repeat it of my friend Harriet. So she’s a horse trainer.
Renee Tucker (05:21)
She rode six, eight horses a day, and she had a really painful knee. Swollen red, couldn’t really bend it very well. I’d often see her because I worked on the horses across from the cross ties to her office. So I could see her in there. And every time she’d ride and someone was taking up the next horse, she’d be sitting down, putting her leg up on the desk with an ice pack.
Renee Tucker (05:45)
I’m like, oh, my gosh, Harriet, what is going on? Is your knee still sore? She’s like, yeah, I’m taking so much ibuprofen and icing all the time, I don’t know what to do. I’m like, have you gone to the doctor? No, not that I blame her.
Renee Tucker (05:58)
Okay. But still, she hadn’t gone. And this was going on for six months, and she’s so sore and swollen and red at that point, you might need an extra or something. Long story short, she finally went to the doctor. Guys, guess what?
Renee Tucker (06:13)
Her hip was actually the problem. Her hip was just bone on bone. She said, no cartilage left at all. She needed a hip replacement. I was like, what happened?
Renee Tucker (06:27)
But your knee? She’s like, I know. She said the doctor said there’s actually nothing wrong with her knee. It was just getting so severely overused because her body was kind of freezing the hip area, like immobilizing it with the muscles and just not letting it move because the hip would be so painful because it was bone on bone. So to try to ride without moving your hip, you really overuse your knee.
Renee Tucker (06:55)
So that’s what happened. She actually had a hip replacement and thought, oh, my gosh, this is phenomenal. Her knee pain was gone. The swelling went away within a week. And I was like, you’re back riding now, like, two weeks later.
Renee Tucker (07:11)
It was crazy. It’s like, yeah, I feel great. It’s amazing. So that’s my story where it really opened my eyes, too of saying, oh, my gosh, it’s not the knee, which is swollen and red and painful. And yeah, everything she was doing was fine.
Renee Tucker (07:26)
Certainly I seemed to help the knee that’s needed. But why was it that swollen? So she eventually found out, which is great. So I’d like to encourage you that you can take no, not responsibility exactly, but be enabled to help your own horse, because I feel like a lot of times, like I said, the information is so overwhelming when you’re trying to figure something out. That a lot of times it’s very tempting to say, okay, something’s wrong with my horse.
Renee Tucker (08:00)
Oh, my gosh, what do I do? Okay, I know. I’ll ask the trainer. They’ll know they have a lot more experience than me. Oh, wait, no.
Renee Tucker (08:08)
Let me also ask my friend, who has had 20 horses. Perfect. What about the farrier? The farrier sees hundreds of horses. Okay.
Renee Tucker (08:14)
Then you finally call the vet. So what’s happened is you’re getting just mounds of more information, and it’s actually kind of I think they call it analysis paralysis, where too much information and it gets overwhelming and scary to make any kind of decision. So I do want to encourage you. You can start by learning the what I call TBT body checkups. It’s just little movements to check every joint in your horse.
Renee Tucker (08:44)
Those are in my book, Where Does My Horse Hurt, they’re really easy. Like, for example, for the knee, you just pick up the leg and you move the knee. So you flex it. And the knee actually, the Cannon bone should come all the way up and touch the forearm.
Renee Tucker (09:03)
And if it doesn’t, you don’t have full range of motion. That just lets you know what your horse is normal. Maybe the horse has a knee problem, maybe it might be an older horse, maybe with some arthritis. But you need to know what’s your horse’s normal. So all you got to do is learn your horses normal.
Renee Tucker (09:20)
And all these checkups, and then you’ll be able to tell whenever a problem might present itself what’s really going on. Like I said, you might be thinking, oh, it’s got to be the screaming, swollen part which certainly needs to be treated. But why is it swelling and screaming? It can always be some mysterious other answer. Okay, guys, so that’s pretty much about it.
Renee Tucker (09:44)
I just want to encourage you to be empowered to help your own horse and realize that vets aren’t trying to get this wrong. And I’m a veterinarian, so I’m not dogging vets at all. But there’s just so much information that everyone’s kind of a specialist and what we need to do is step back and take a really good look at the big picture. That’s all for now. If you’re looking for me, I am at Tuckerbiokinetic.com.
Renee Tucker (10:11)
And also we have a website, wheredoesmyhorsehurt.com for more information for horses, I’ll see you next time. Bye.
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