Acupuncture has been used as a successful medical treatment for both humans and animals for thousands of years. Acupuncture is particularly effective for horses, helping to relieve pain and restore full health. Equine acupuncture is regarded as a veterinary procedure and, as such, can only be performed by a qualified veterinary surgeon.
What is Equine Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a treatment that involves inserting fine needles into specific points of a horse’s body to help prevent and treat disease. Acupuncture is becoming increasingly recognised as a beneficial medical treatment for horses. Having originated in China, over 3,000 years ago, it is now practiced throughout the world.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
The acupuncture needles stimulate tiny nerve endings, when they are inserted into the body, carrying impulses to the spinal cord and brain. It results in the release of neurotransmitters and hormones that influence the function of the horse’s body tissues and organ systems.
The effect of acupuncture is determined by where the needle is placed in the body and which nerves are stimulated. Acupuncture helps the body to release natural painkillers such as endorphins, enkephalins and serotonin, which can block the transmission of incoming pain signals.
What Conditions Can Acupuncture Treat?
Equine Acupuncture can be used to treat numerous ailments and diseases, with the exception of malignant tumours, irreparable fractures and end stage organ failure. Acupuncture is often used in addition to conventional veterinary treatment for the full benefits. In equine practice, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat:
- Cold backs
- General stiffness of the body
- Shortness of stride
- Unlevel movements
- Reduced flexibility
- Irritability and soreness during grooming
- ‘Hopping’ when transitioning from a walk to a trot
- Digestive issues
- Reproductive problems
- Poor immunity and post viral lethargy
- Respiratory problems
Who Can Perform Acupuncture?
Equine acupuncture may only be legally performed by a qualified veterinary surgeon who has undergone the relevant training. This is because it is an invasive procedure and veterinaries require an extensive knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of horses to perform the treatment successfully.
Will Acupuncture Hurt?
Many people curious about equine acupuncture ask whether or not it will hurt their horse. Naturally, horses all react differently to treatment. However, the acupuncture needles are so find that they do not cause any feelings of pain. Occasionally, horses may react as if they are expecting pain but they then quickly relax when they realise there is none. Most of the time, horses will accept the treatment calmly and some have even been known to fall asleep during acupuncture.
After the Treatment
After acupuncture has been performed, your horse may be sleepy or sedated. This is not uncommon. You should not turn your horse out to pasture until you are sure they are completely back to normal. Horses should not be ridden for 24 hours after acupuncture and no competition should be scheduled for at least several days following treatment. Regarding exercise, diet and medication, there is no need to change your horse’s lifestyle unless it has been suggested by your vet.
Equine Acupuncture as a Preventative Treatment
Acupuncture is extremely valuable as a preventative treatment as it can help restore your horse to his former health. Regular acupuncture is common for competition horses that are prone to developing minor injuries. Regular examination and treatment is highly recommended to ensure you catch any injuries at an early stage or are able to prevent them completely.
How Many Treatments Are Required?
The number of acupuncture treatments your horse may require will depend on his condition, how long there has been a problem and the age of the horse. Chronic conditions tend to resolve slowly, requiring more treatments that acute conditions which can resolve within a couple of treatments. Some degenerative disorders may require monthly acupuncture treatments to help your horse retain his lifestyle.
Contact Prime Stables Today
I hope you have found this article interesting and that it has informed you on equine acupuncture. It really is an extremely effective medical treatment for horses that can help prevent illnesses, treat them and keep your horse fit and healthy. If you would like to know more, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today!