- Pets and Animals
Equine Acupuncture Vet
Acupuncture for Horses and Ponies - Traditional Medicine - it's natural and it's good!
Horses and ponies respond amazingly well to acupuncture.
There are a great many chronic diseases of horses and ponies, which do not respond to conventional drugs at all or are just held in check by drugs, with an ongoing risk of side effects (aka adverse effects). The use of steroid (cortisone, corticosteroid) in the horse is particularly risky (steroid-induced laminitis is very serious and can be incurable).
Happily, some of these cases will respond to acupuncture, delivered by a holistic vet with the ability to integrate acupuncture with diet (natural feeding work), with chiropractic manipulation and with internal medicine, such as homeopathy or herbs (herbal medicine).
This article introduces the subject and gives an outline of equine acupuncture, showing its methodology, application and scope.
Enigmatic and paradoxical medical art from Ancient China
Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. That ancient medical discipline was extremely holistic, in that it ensured that diet, lifestyle, back alignment etc. were optimised, applying needling (or other point stimulation techniques) integrated with internal medicine, to stimulate the body's innate healing capability. The model of the body and of disease is entirely different from that proposed by modern Western cultures. The Chinese described a life energy (Qi - pronounced Chi) which comprised a balance of Yin and Yang and which flowed through the body in acupuncture meridians or channels. Disease occurs if Yin and Yang are unbalanced and if the energy flow is disturbed or blocked. Therapy is applied by stimulating points on these meridians (acupuncture points), releasing blockage and restoring balance.
In modern developed countries, the holistic methodology is often by-passed, using needling (or other method of point stimulation) alone, without the internal medicine, without the chiropractic manipulation and without sorting diet and lifestyle. This superficial approach to acupuncture diminishes its benefits.
Because of the body's incredible healing capability, acupuncture, holistically applied, can show surprising results, even in cases in which modern drug medicine has failed to provide benefit.
The body's energy network
On each side of the body are six Yang meridians and six Yin meridians.
These are, starting at the Heart meridian:
Small Intestine (Yang)
Triple Heater (Yang)
Gall Bladder (Yang)
Large Intestine (Yang)
Each 'cycle' of four begins and ends in the region of the heart and its period of especial activity covers 8 hours of the 24-hour day.
In the modern West, we do not recognise the organ 'Triple Heater' aka 'Triple Burner'. In Ancient China, this was a generic term covering the three body cavities (Thorax, Abdomen and Pelvis).
The routes of the meridians in humans have been well-mapped and documented. There is still much debate how those maps (charts) correlate with animal acupuncture, esp. for acupuncture in the horse.
Conditions that respond
Acupuncture is used in equine veterinary practice for a multitude of conditions and problems. Here are some of the most common of those in which we have witnessed successful outcomes.
Headshaking - Head-shaking
Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU - Moonblindness - Recurrent Ophthalmia - Periodic Ophthalmia)
Shivering - Shivers
An acupuncture vet should be able to explain the possibilities for you.
Acupuncture points can be stimulated by needling, by moxibustion (heat), by electric impulse, by pressure, by LASER, by injection and by implant.
Horses appear to submit very readily to needling and to enjoy the treatment. We do not sedate horses that are unwilling, preferring instead to find a means of stimulus that they do like. Sedation will mask responses and even alter responses, quite apart from drug side-effects.
Have you or has your horse received acupuncture?
Should acupuncture be available for horses?
Clever, those Ancient Chinese!
Equine Acupuncture can be a further possibility for your horse, when other medical systems have failed or as a first-line input.
Equine Acupuncture is not harmful.
Equine Acupuncture is usually well-accepted, even enjoyed.
Equine Acupuncture works best when combined with diet and lifestyle improvement, chiropractic manipulation and internal medicine (e.g. medicinal herbs or homeopathy).
The author is independent of commercial interest or sponsorship and cannot endorse any products or advertising material attached to this lens.
For more information, visit AVMC's information website (over 600 pages).
Chris Day - holistic vet - runs the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre in Oxfordshire (AVMC) in Oxfordshire, UK.
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