Are you doing everything to ensure your horse is performing to his full potential?
Aches and pains are something performance horses will experience throughout their lives. A typical
approach to equine care is to commence treatment once a problem (such as lameness) has arisen. The
age old saying that prevention is better than cure could not be more applicable to keeping your horse
sound and performing to his full potential.
Acupuncture is an accepted form of complementary, holistic medicine for animals and is strongly
supported in treating pain, speeding up recovery and increasing the overall performance in horses.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a very ancient form of healing that predates recorded history. Acupuncture involves the
insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to achieve therapy and homeostasis. There are
also other ways of stimulating acupuncture points including pressure, heat, electric currents, gold
beads, laser and solutions such as saline and Vitamin B.
The insertion of acupuncture needles has been shown to activate the nervous system both centrally and
periphally. Other physiological systems activated include the endocine, immune and cardiovascular systems. Following needle insertion a local reaction occurs at the tissue level.Adjacent nerve fibers are stimulated which send an impulse to the spinal cord. Opiod is released in the spinal cord which assists in blocking pain, the impulse in the spinal cord travels to the brain. Changes in the brain include: changes in the limbic system which is responsible for activating pain and stress inhibition, and decreasing brain activity whilst awake and asleep. This explains the reasons why many owners often comment that one of the first changes that they see following an acupuncture treatment is that their horse ‘feels better’.
What does an acupuncture examination involve?
1. Review of horses medical history including any treatments and responses
2. DAPE examination – Diagnostic acupuncture physical examination
3. Selection of acupuncture points based on the DAPE examination
4. Treatment protocol is established
How many treatments are required?
After the initial consultation Dr Marta Wereszka will discuss an individual treatment plan. In most
cases 1 treatment per week is recommended until the symptoms plateau.
Why are several treatments required?
Acupuncture utilises the horses own healing mechanism to aid recovery, this mechanism needs to be continually activated. It is important owners realise acupuncture doesn’t cure the problem. At Camden Equine Centre a full lameness exam is carried out with the initial acupuncture consultation. Dr Marta Wereszka will then provide each patient with an individual treatment program.
What can be expected after acupuncture treatment?
There are three common outcomes:
1. There are no obvious changes in clinical signs but the patient generally appears brighter
2. The clinical signs appear to improve for 1-2 days then gradually worsen again (most common scenario)
3. The clinical signs get worse for up-to 1 day and then rapidly improve
With subsequent treatments there is typically gradual improvement until complete recovery or a plateau at which no further improvement is seen. In conditions which have been going on for a period of
time, subsequent treatments may be required in order to maintain the plateau.