Acupuncture Can Be a Preventative Health
Treatment for Horses

What is Acupuncture?

Many people have heard of acupuncture for humans, and may have used it themselves.  Equine acupuncture was the very first veterinary medicine, and has been in use for about 2,000 years.  In the past 30 years, acupuncture has become more popular in North America and has been heavily researched.  There are now significant amounts of science behind acupuncture, explaining why and how acupuncture works.

Acupuncture involves inserting needles at specific points on the body (acupoints), where there are increased numbers of nerve endings, blood vessels and lymphatics to help alleviate pain and target specific conditions.  Inserting needles at the specified points stimulates these nerve endings, sending a message to the brain to interrupt pain or send different hormones and chemicals to the body.

Acupuncture is probably one of the safest treatment modalities available.


What conditions benefit from Acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be used for a wide variety of conditions and we have had excellent success with the following:

  • Sore backs and necks

  • Navicular issues leading to foot pain

  • Laminitis (acute and chronic) 

  • Tendon/ligament injuries

  • Neurological condtions

  • Arthritis

  • Extending the period between joint injections/reducing the number of injections needed

  • Muscle atrophy/loss

  • Gastric ulcers

  • Heaves/allergic lung conditions

  • Anhidrosis or non-sweating

  • Reproductive issues such as inability to conceive or maintain pregnancy


How long does Acupuncture take to work and how often should it be performed?

How often acupuncture treatment should be performed is highly variable depending on the condition being treated. Obviously conditions that have been going on for months to years will not be fixed in one treatment, whereas sudden onset conditions may resolve much more quickly. When several treatments are required one may start by treating every few days or every week and gradually decrease the treatment frequency over time. Positive responses are usually observed after 1-3 treatments and once the maximum response is seen treatments may need to be performed as little as 2-4 times per year.


What to expect during Acupuncture treatment

Each treatment usually takes about an hour, and may involve electroacupuncture (gentle stimulation with an electrical current), plain needles, or aqua-acupuncture (injecting into acupoints).

Some horses may become really sleepy and lethargic following treatment due to the release of chemicals such as endorphins


Learn More About Acupuncture

Call Wisconsin Equine Clinic and Hospital to set up a consultation with one of our certified veterinary acupuncturists, to discuss whether acupuncture is a modality you would like to explore for your horse.


To promote healing and to relieve pain, one of our specially trained acupuncture veterinarians, Dr. Bourne, uses acupuncture to stimulate nerve impulses on the horse.