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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anybody had any experience with acupuncture for their horses? Success stories? We suspect my horse has an old neck injury which is causing him a significant amount of pain - we have done chiro adjustments but they just aren't cutting it so the vet and I were thinking acupuncture inconjuction with mesotherapy and I would just like to hear if you guys think it works and is worth it or not so much? Thanks!
 

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I have a friend that swears by chiro adjustment and acupuncture, her chiro does both during the same visit. I did notice a difference in her horse after she had him done, so I think it works.
 

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I've never heard of someone doing acupuncture on a horse, but they do it on other animals, as well as people, so I can only assume it would be worth a shot.
 

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Love it.

Your results will vary depending upon the injury, the amount of time that has passed since it happened, the horse and the person doing the work. I've had good to great results on all but one horse and she was terribly needle shy to start. I would recommend doing a series of 3-5 sessions at 2 week intervals for full effect. I would also recommend deep needle stimulation (adding electrical current to the needles) for an old injury.
 

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Neck injuries are finicky... Have you had a vet out and done a full work up with x-rays? That is the starting point, IMO as you don't want to be messing around with anything involving the spine.

Acupuncture can help and I notice a big difference for me in mood and energy levels, but as far as muscle rehab - it only does so much. I've used acupuncture in horses before and noticed absolutely no difference - even with the deep needle stimulation. And that would bloody well fricken hurt. I'm usually feeling the needles enough when they are just there!


First order of business is to get a vet out and a prognosis and treatment plan, or making some decisions. If the injury is serious that the horse is always in pain then there might be some medical procedures that can help, or not. If the horse is just uncomfortable undersaddle, it might be time to put it in a field for a few years. But throwing random alternative therapies at the horse without a diagnosis is dangerous. Most vets, and especially performance vets, are quite open to suggesting alternative therapies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for everyone's input! I'm really hoping this will help him.

Anebel, all of this is under the vet's supervision and recommendation. She (the vet) has been out numerous times and we have done x-rays which showed neck arthritis. Thus, she wanted to start with a chiro adjustment and see what that would do for him then go to acupuncture. I wouldn't do any of this without first consulting my vet, so we're definitely not just randomly throwing alternative therapies at him :).
 

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Yes yes yes!! Acupuncture is amazing stuff and makes my boy look normal!

When he was 7 months old, he got kicked in the head and almost died of brain damage. After two months, he fully recovered besides his lip pulls to the right, his left eye looks down a little, and his head tilted. That initial night, his entire head and neck tilted to the left. After being sent home after a few days at the vet, his head still tilted but his neck did not. You could feel the muscles being tenser on his left side than his right. So we started acupuncture(because a chiropractor might hurt if he had broken his neck in the poll area which my vets believe he did) and it is amazing.

He also gets the electric stimulation for about 10-15 minutes so the needles are in for about an hour. He FALLS ASLEEP during the stimulation, so no, it doesn't hurt them at all. :wink: His muscles were so tense, they bent the needles in multiple places. After his acupuncture, his head carriage is completely normal! He is overdue for his acupuncture right as his head is tilting a bit, but initially we only did it once a month. He hasn't had it done since March. Before that, he was having it done once a month from January.

I actually have a video of one of his sessions. It's during the electric stimulation part and you can SEE the muscles contracting as the needle dance around.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh my! I'm so glad your boy recovered! He's absolutely adorable! So he doesn't seem to ever have issues with the needles being inserted or any pain from them? I don't know much about acupuncture and having been trying to learn more - is it more of a muscle relaxer or something else? I've always heard that it's something that 'opens up passage ways' in a sense?
 

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Thank you :)

Some spots that really need it will be painful for him at first because the muscles really hurt, but then it feels reeeaaally good to him and he completely relaxes. The spots that "suck in" the needle are what need them the most. And the bent needles are obviously where he really needed them. The needles sometimes fall out when that spot is "done." Acupuncture needles are super thin. He is an absolute champ about taking regular needles(he's had a million of them including a catheter) and takes the acupuncture needles even easier.

Acupuncture is supposed to free up the energy channels throughout the body. It is also supposed to help regulate their chi or something like that. There's channels throughout the body that are connected. The one needle that's on his butt spot up top is supposed to "please his kidneys." He's a kindred, always wanting to please spirit and pleasing his kidneys(or his liver, I can't remember which) is good for him.

Attached is a picture of the needle that goes on the side of where his neck meets his shoulder. There are needles that are different lengths depending on the location and how badly the location needs it. In this location, he ALWAYS bends the needle.
 

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Acupuncture isn't going to help arthritis...
There is little that can be done for an arthritic neck and the prognosis is usually not good for returning to riding soundness. Treatment is the same as any other type of arthritis - pain and inflammation management and joint injections. When the inflammation begins to affect the spinal cord then it is time to make some tough decisions. Unfortunately I don't think acupuncture will do much if the problem is in the joints of the spine... Just IMO not a vet but have seen horses euthed for similar issues.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That's really interesting that his muscles can bend the needles so much - are they hard to get out once they get bent like that? I had a long conversation yesterday with the vet who will be doing the acupuncture on my boy and it was very enlightening.
 

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Nope, they pop right out if they hadn't already fallen out themselves.

I'd say it's worth a try. If it doesn't help your boy, then you're only out about 300 bucks(my vet charges 100 a session and says if you don't see results in 3, you won't get any). 300 bucks would be worth it to see if you can get your boy comfortable. That's just me, though.
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My trainer had acupuncture done to her mare. She loved it! And I know this doesnt really count, but Ive had acupuncture done to myself before, and it actually felt really great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've got an appointment set up for him on Tuesday, so we'll see how it goes! I'm really hoping it helps him some, both my regular vet and the lady who will be doing the acupuncture seem to be cautiously optimistic about it. I'm really nervous about the whole process though! Thank you so much for your input!
 
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