vet performing acupuncture on horse

Acupuncture is a beneficial alternative therapy for many issues including muscle soreness and tension, chronic pain (eg. arthritis, laminitis), nerve damage and much more. It is often used alongside conventional treatments.

Acupuncture cannot fix a hoof abscess, or cure arthritis, and a complete lameness workup is important if your horse has an obvious lameness. However, acupuncture can provide pain relief, and it is very useful in helping resolve compensatory muscle pain that may still be troubling your horse even after the initial lameness has been resolved.

Will acupuncture hurt my horse?

Acupuncture is considered a relatively non-invasive procedure with very minimal risks to the patient. Most horses enjoy acupuncture, as it results in an endorphin release. However, some horses can be reactive to the initial needle placement. With subsequent treatments, even these initially sceptical horses can learn to enjoy the treatment. Some horses even relax to the point where they look like they are falling asleep!

What to expect during an acupuncture exam?

During the acupuncture exam, pressure is applied at various places along your horse’s body to identify “trigger points”. The pattern of trigger points can suggest areas of possible pain or concern on your horse. Acupuncture needles will then be placed at specific points that will help your horse based on their individual problems.

How many treatments will my horse need before it benefits from acupuncture?

An individual treatment plan will be devised depending on the primary problem your horse has and how long it has been going on. Initially, we like to see most of our patients once a week for 3 weeks, then duration between treatments beyond that depends on how your horse feels. Even 1 acupuncture session will benefit your horse, although the effects will not be as long-lasting or noticeable as with multiple sessions. Most show the greatest improvement after 3 sessions.

What is your experience with acupuncture?

Dr Melissa Sim & Dr Kendra McLeod are certified and trained in large animal acupuncture. Melissa through the Curacore program in the US and Kendra through the Chi Institute of Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Both Melissa and Kendra emphasize anatomy and scientific research-based reasoning, which helps integrate acupuncture more seamlessly into their veterinary work.

Veterinary medical acupuncture benefits your horse by the ability to combine western and traditional Chinese diagnostics and offer insight into the whole patient. Acupuncture can benefit any horse, and our vets have successfully used acupuncture to help horses with muscle soreness, facial nerve paralysis, neurologic problems, allergies, and other problems. They greatly enjoy seeing how acupuncture has helped their equine patients.

To book an appointment call 09 238 2471


Franklin Vets

Franklin Vets - excellence in veterinary care for dairy, farming, lifestyle, equine and household pets. BESTPRACTICE ACCREDITED NZ.