Casos y artículos

Acupuncture for horses


Veterinary acupuncture has been practiced in China for over 2,000 years. Interest and activity spread to other Asian countries such as Japan and Korea about 1,500 years ago. For the past 30 years, there has been tremendous growth and development of acupuncture in animals in Europe and the United States.

The benefits of acupuncture have been documented in an increasing number of clinical trials and, as a result, we have a better understanding of acupuncture’s method of action. Our equine patients greatly benefit from these new developments.


Acupuncture  has major effects on the autonomic, nervous and endocrine systems. It has immunostimulant, immunosuppressive, analgesic and antiinflammatory effects. It can influence the physiological processes of all major systems. It has therapeutic value when the affected organ or function is capable of responding through the normal response mechanisms.Acupuncture is physiotherapy at its most powerful.

The main indications for acupuncture therapy are functional disorders of the musculoskeletal, nervous (central or peripheral), gastrointestinal, reproductive, urinary and respiratory systems. Certain conditions of the skin and eye can be helped. The most important indication is in muscular lameness (neck, back, limb muscles) and in poor athletic performance due to soft tissue involvement. Milder or more acute problems may respond faster and better than chronic problems.

Acupuncture influences all physiological systems, including the nervous (central, autonomic and peripheral), endocrine, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, urogenital, respiratory and skin. It has analgesic, antiinflammatory, immunostimulant and immunosuppressive effects. It has antispasmodic effects on striated and smooth muscle. It has marked effect on blood micro-circulation, cell metabolism and glandular secretion in organs related to the acupunctures being stimulated.

Acupuncture is a most powerful physiotherapy. Its therapeutic effects are mediated by the reflex system and by activation of spinal and central neuroendocrine and systemic responses. Its therapeutic value lies in its ability to induce homoeostasis. For example, needling ST36 (TsuSanLi) can control gastric spasm in one case and gastric atony in another. The same point can have diametrically opposite physiological effects, depending on the homoeostatic needs of the body at that time.


Can Acupuncture help my horse?

The true essence of health and wellness is balance and the smooth, uninterrupted movement of energy through the body.

Acupuncture has many, many indications including:

  • Optimize performance
  • Alleviate pain
  • Create balance and harmony
  • Improve quality of life
  • Treat medical conditions


What are indications for the use of acupuncture?

Musculoskeletal – lameness, arthritis, poor performance, back soreness
Nervous system – facial nerve paralysis, roaring, bladder atony
Gastrointestinal – gastric ulcers, delayed gastric emptying, ileus (decreased GI motility), colic
Immune – infectious disease, allergy, stimulation for general health
Reproduction – poor conception rates, early term pregnancy loss, uterine tone problems
Maintenance – many athletes, human and equine, stay in top condition, recover from events quicker and have a longer career


Musculoskeletal problems
Soreback (thoracic, lumbar and sacral area)
Shoulder lameness
Elbow lameness
Hip and thigh lameness
Stifle and hock lameness
Laminitis, navicular disease, foot abscess
Tendinitis, splints, curbs
Azoturia, tying-up syndrome

Neurological problems
Peripheral nerve paralysis
Radial paralysis
Facial paralysis
Cervical ataxia (the Wobbler Syndrome)

Gastrointestinal problems
Windsucking, crib-biting
Gastric ulcer, diarrhoea

Respiratory problems
Bronchospasm, heaves, bronchitis
Bleeders, lung haemorrhage, epistaxis
Rhinitis, sinusitis

Reproductive problems
Cystic ovary
Repeat breeders
Reproductive problems in stallions

Other clinical uses
Anxiety, nervousness, especially in filly
Skin problems
Cracked Heels

When Acupuncture is accompanied with Herbal Medicine, success rates are higher and longer-lasting, especially in internal problems.