In addition, we are experienced with another time-honored treatment:
Hirudotherapy or the use of Medicinal Leeches. The primary use of Medicinal Leeches is for reducing swelling and blood stasis from injury and they are used in human medicine as an adjunct in skin and limb grafting surgery. In equine sports medicine, the technique is very useful for reducing pain, swelling and inflammation in acute and chronic tendon and ligament injuries, as the leeches saliva contains many factors that are anesthetic and regenerative, restoring blood flow and providing healing factors to the area.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese form of medicine that focuses on balancing the body’s energy to promote health and healing. The Chinese refer to this energy as Qi (pronounced chee) and view it as the life force of all beings. The flow of this energy throughout the body, if disturbed, results in disease. Electro-stimulation, moxibustion, hemoacupuncture, aquapuncture and dry-needling are methods of stimulating and restoring the flow of Qi. Whatever the technique used, the goal is to restore the free flow of Qi, balance and function. Once the body is “balanced” it is more resistant to disease, fatigue and stress induced damage.
Acupuncture is primarily used in sport horses to control pain and restore function. In Eastern terms, pain results from the blockage of Qi. Where there is Qi stagnation, there is pain. Acupuncture stimulation resolves this blockage, opens the meridien channels allowing the free flow of Qi and inducing the healing process. Modern research shows that acupoints are located in areas where there is a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells, small arterioles and lymphatic vessels. Acupuncture stimulates nerve impulses that travel via the spinal cord to the brain to elicit a physiologic response.
Horses are uniquely sensitive to acupuncture and are the only species where a diagnostic “scan” identifies specific areas of pain and discomfort. Acupuncture stimulates neuroendocrine responses via the same somato-somatic and somatic-visceral neural reflexes used to regulate normal physiological processes and heal the body. Because of these neural reflexes, sensitivity of specific acupoints have been observed to indicate disease locally, elsewhere along the Channel and of specific organs. The acupoints can be used for both diagnosis and treatment.
Even low-grade soreness can cause a horse to jump hollow, shorten its stride or become resistant to training. Back pain, neck pain, muscle soreness and fatigue are common factors contributing to lameness and poor performance in the sport horse that can be treated with acupuncture.
In addition to musculoskeletal ailments, acupuncture can be used for any type of disease or condition and is especially helpful for those conditions for which traditional Western medicine has no cure or diagnosis. Acupuncture can be used for horses of any age, from foals to geriatrics and may be used to treat disease or promote overall health. Conditions for which it is most utilized include: neurologic disorders including EPM, laryngeal hemiparesis, and Wobblers, allergies, heaves, anhidrosis, infertility, gastrointestinal conditions including diarrhea, colic, ulcers, geriatric weakness, uveitis and skin disease/dermatitis. Each session usually takes 30-60 minutes and conditions often respond within 3 treatments. Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine is provided only by licensed veterinarians.