Complementary Treatments

Equine Acupuncture

What is acupuncture and how can it benefit my horse?

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 meridian channels allowing the free flow of Qi and inducing the healing process. Modern research shows that acupoints are 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.

In addition, we are experienced with another time-honored treatment:

Hirudotherapy (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.

If you are interested in these services, please give us a call today at (908) 832-5484.

Laser Therapy

Class IV Laser – Epica Artemis

The Artemis laser is one of the most powerful surgical and therapy lasers available for veterinary use. The Artemis is the only therapy laser capable of providing Rapid Inflammation Modulation (RIM) AND Non-Invasive Regenerative Therapy. This is owing to the Artemis’ proprietary laser pulse emission (QSwitched) and a wide range of energy and frequency settings. Artemis works at a wavelength of laser light that is poorly absorbed by tissues and causes a vibration of carbon-carbon bonds resulting in photomechanical cellular ‘massaging’ without generating harmful levels of heat. Laser light stimulates mechanisms within the treated cells to produce new proteins for healing.

The Rapid Inflammation Modulation (RIM) setting is used to treat pain and inflammation right after injury occurs and typically uses lower energy settings and treatment times.

The Non-Invasive Regenerative Therapy setting is used to treat injuries during the healing and rehabilitation phases of injury to modulate pain, and improve the quality of the healing tissue during these critical phases.

Typical injuries that are treated with both RIM and NRT include:

  • Tendon and Ligament Injuries
  • Bone Bruising and Cartilage Injury
  • Joint Inflammation
  • Pain Relief
  • Laminitis
  • Wound Healing

Here is a great article about the effects of Class IV laser therapy that was published on Practical Pain Management. Read Now: Class IV Therapy Lasers Maximize Primary Biostimulative Effects

“Cold” Laser Therapy – Multi Radiance ActiVet Pro

Multi Radiance Medical’s MR4 is a compact, hand-held laser tool that combines wavelengths, light sources and electromagnetic energy, of lower power than the Class IV laser. The MR4 has wide application as it is quick easy, well-tolerated and effective for treating many acute and chronic issues.

The MR4 laser is particularly useful for treating:

  • Non-healing Wounds and Summer Sores
  • Relaxation (often combined with acupuncture)
  • Ligament and Tendon Injuries (particularly during rehabilitation)
  • Hygromas and Hematomas
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Post-surgical Incision Management
  • Quarter Crack Pain
  • Strains and Sprains
  • Nerve Injuries
  • Chronic Dermatitis and Decubitis Ulcers (pressure sores or boot rubs)