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Delmarva Equine is offering Acupuncture! Here is some information about acupuncture and what you might expect from your appointment.

What is veterinary medical acupuncture?

It is a method of using sterile, thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body. Modern research shows that acupuncture points are located in areas around high concentrations of nerve fibers and vessels. Stimulation of peripheral points stimulates the patient’s nervous systems to produce local, remote, and/or systemic effects.

When is acupuncture indicated?

Acupuncture therapy has been shown to be effective as a supplemental treatment through clinical trials and case studies in several conditions in horses such as musculoskeletal complaints, digestive issues, certain neurological issues, respiratory disorders, anhidrosis, uveitis, behavioral problems, reproductive disorders, renal disease, and other chronic conditions.

When is acupuncture NOT indicated and is it safe?

Acupuncture is a safe medical procedure when performed by a qualified veterinarian. It is not a replacement for conventional medical treatments and medications. Acupuncture is cautiously used, or may be contraindicated in animals with pregnancy, instability, surgical colic, fractures, whole body dermatitis, or active infectious conditions.

What does treatment look like?

A veterinarian will take a history and perform a myofascial exam to develop a treatment plan. Most animals tolerate acupuncture well with the stimulation often inducing relaxation. We do not twitch or specifically sedate horses for treatment. Based on the exam and animal temperament, time of treatment is commonly between 5-20 minutes and may include additional stimulation through electroacupuncture, or aquapuncture. The number of treatments differs from patient to patient. Improvement is typically evident within the first few treatments if the acupuncture is going to make a meaningful difference. Some animals may need to be treated at regular intervals to prevent recurrence of degenerative and chronic conditions. Frequency of treatment typically ranges from 1-4 weeks.