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What does acupuncture do?

Acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by causing physiological changes. For example, it can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasms and cause the release of analgesic endorphins and anti-inflammatory hormones. 

When is acupuncture indicated?

Acupuncture is commonly used for the treatment and/or management of many conditions such as muscle soreness, back pain, stiffness, and chronic or referred pain.  It can also be used for performance enhancement, general well-being and preventative care.

Does acupuncture hurt?

The insertion of the tiny needles used in acupuncture is usually painless and the large majority of horses even enjoy the process.  Very occasionally, particularly in sore and/or nervous horses, there is a brief moment of sensitivity as the needle is inserted, particularly if into myofascial trigger point.  This is usually transient only and Nikki will carefully observe the response to placement as each needle is inserted and choose a different site if it is not tolerated during that session. 

What if my horse is usually a bit fearful of vets?

Nikki will initially spend some time palpating your horse, which often results in the reduction of  anxiety.  Following careful insertion of one or two needles, horses usually become relaxed.  That being said, acupuncture should never be stressful, so in some cases, light sedation may be required.  If required, this does not reduce the effectiveness of the procedure. 

How soon can I expect some results?

In some cases, improvement will be observed immediately, but other cases will require several treatments. The number and frequency of the treatments depends on the condition of the patient and Nikki will advise the required course for your horse following the first session. 

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinary surgeon. The horse may appear lethargic for 24 hours after treatment or very occasionally the condition treated may be transiently worse just before it improves.  This is why we advise that your horse is not ridden after treatment on the same day as the acupuncture. 

How long does each treatment take?

The first session takes around an hour.  Successive sessions take about 45 minutes depending on the number of needles required, how relaxed the horse is with the procedure and the previous response to treatment.

Will my insurance company pay for the treatment?

Most insurance companies include acupuncture in their veterinary cover provided it has been recommended by your vet.  Some companies will include it in the 'complementary therapy pot'.  Please check with your insurers to see what your policy will cover and how. 

There is a wealth of evidence-based research that continues to grow, supporting the use of acupuncture in humans and animals, with the conclusion that veterinary acupuncture is an effective and safe treatment for a large variety of conditions our furry friends might be affected by.


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