Acupuncture in Horses
Acupuncture provides relief for horses from a number of conditions including lameness, neck and back pain, and digestive problems.
As with human acupuncture, the acupuncturist communicates with the horse’s body through specific acupuncture points. Acupuncture points are cutaneous areas containing relatively high concentrations of free nerve endings, nerve bundles and nerve plexi, mast cells, lymphatics, capillaries and venules. Different points contain various proportions of different types of nerve endings and different relationships to major nerves. Acupuncture points and channels are characterised as skin areas with lower electrical resistances than is found in surrounding skin and may be points of locally positive direct current (DC) potentials.
The acupuncture stimulus is transmitted from the acupuncture point to the spinal cord by afferent peripheral nerves. Several lines of evidence support this claim. If the acupuncture point is first injected with procaine, analgesia will not result from stimulation of that point. Procaine, because it is a local anesthetic, prevents electrical transmission. Further, acupuncture performed on the paralysed limb of paraplegics and hemiplegics does not result in analgesia. The most profound analgesia tents to be induced by stimulation of points overlying major peripheral nerves. From the acupuncture point the afferent neuron enters the spinal cord and follows pathways similar to those of the pain pathway.