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It's not unusual for a horse to have a chronic condition or lameness that doesn't respond to traditional veterinary medicine. Acupuncture is an option for treating the state through its anti-inflammatory action.

Research has shown that a horse's acupoints are located in densely packed areas with structures and functions that work towards creating a pain relief response. For example, when a needle is placed on the acupoint of a horse, it stimulates a room full of lymphatic vessels, pain-relieving neurotransmitters, and nerve endings.

Acupuncture also delivers pain relief, usually immediately, to a horse living with a painful or chronic condition. It can take multiple treatments for an issue to resolve itself, but treatment with acupuncture keeps stimulating the horse's body to self-heal and return it to normal function.

What Equine Acupuncture Can Treat and Manage?

  • Allergies

  • Anhidrosis

  • Arthritis

  • Bleeders

  • Bowed Tendon

  • Colic

  • Cushing's

  • EPM

  • Laminitis

  • Lameness

  • Metabolic Syndrome

  • Navicular

  • Pain in the neck, back & Legs

  • PTSD

  • Tendonitis

  • TMJ

  • Trigeminal Neuralgia

  • Bowed Tendon

  • Suspensory problems

  • Splints

  • Ring Bone

  • Ulcers


The first appointment always begins with a thorough history-taking and general exam. Depending on the issue at hand, a more specific exam (lameness, neurologic, eye, etc) may also be conducted. Once points of concern have been identified, acupuncture needles are placed at points that are generally well tolerated and then progress to points that may be more sensitive. For horses that are reactive to the needles, other modalities like myofascial release and cold laser will be considered. If the horse is not open to treatment, and does not give consent, other options will be discussed at that time. Especially during the first appointment, needles are placed slowly and the number is limited in order to gauge how the horse responds. Most horses respond well to the needles without restraint or sedation – many seem to find the treatments relaxing. Once the needles have been in place for 15-30 minutes, they are removed and the patient is returned to its daily routine. The only aftercare limitation following an acupuncture session is to refrain from riding for the rest of the day.

The most common course of acupuncture treatments is 3 appointments, spaced one to two weeks apart (although this is variable from case to case.) After the initial series patients are maintained with follow up acupuncture sessions as needed from once every couple of months to once every couple of years. After the first session, the exam is abbreviated based on past findings as well as changes reported by the owner. It is at this point that electro-acupuncture or aqua-acupuncture may also be incorporated into the treatment plan.

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