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How Pet Acupuncture Services Can Decrease Pain In Horses With Arthritis

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Horses are almost constantly on their feet from the moment they are born. As such, these animals often contract arthritis in their knees, hocks, hips, shoulders and fetlocks in their old age. This creates constant pain for them insomuch that it becomes impossible for them to move or stand without increasing discomfort. Most horse owners would be inclined to put their beloved horses down at this point, but you do not have to. If your horse has arthritis but has no other signs of failing health or medical problems, you can use pet acupuncture services to extend your four-legged friend's life and increase mobility. Here is how.

Consult a Veterinary Acupuncturist

These folks are licensed in veterinary acupuncture, which is very similar to human acupuncture. The exception, of course, is that they are vets first and acupuncturists second, giving them full knowledge of the nervous systems of all animals and how and where to put the acupuncture needles. The veterinary acupuncturist begins with a thorough exam of your horse, looking for swelling and tenderness near all of the main joints. Then he or she looks for problems in the horse's back, since that is where most of the needles will be placed. If your horse does not suffer from "swayback" and all of the nerves and discs in the vertebrae look and feel good, your horse may receive acupuncture treatment.

The First Treatment

With the first treatment, the veterinary acupuncturist may provide a local anesthetic to the horse's back in the general area where the first few needles will be inserted. This prevents the horse from feeling these needles as they go in and getting jumpy or scared. Once the first needles are in, pain quickly is dulled as the needles block pain reception. All the needles inserted lower than the first set of needles will not be felt by your horse and he or she will be very calm. Additional needles may be inserted in or around the arthritic joints, helping to reduce the pain and swelling your horse feels.

Additional Treatments

You will recognize when your horse is in pain again. Usually the first acupuncture treatment lasts between a week to three weeks. When the effects begin to wear off, you can request a repeat treatment. The process in the first treatment is repeated, minus any needles around the joints (unless the veterinary acupuncturist deems it is necessary). In between treatments, your regular vet and the veterinary acupuncturist will recommend that you get your horse out for daily rides, or at least work him/her on a lunge line to keep blood flow moving and reduce swelling around the joints. This may also make it easier for you to enjoy more rides with your best friend before your horse finally passes away on his or her own.

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