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Medical Index
First Posted Oct 22, 2008
Jul 30, 2010

Equine Chiropractic and Acupuncture

The following information was given at a Seminar on Equine Nutrition and Health sponsored in part by the Virginia Horse Industry. It was held on October 17, 2008 at The Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension (MARE) Center, Middleburg, Virginia. The following is being posted on HorseHints with the permission of the lecturer. This Seminar was beyond outstanding. My husband, Bill and I, feel so fortunate to have been able to attend. Dr. Froeling did a hands-on demonstration with one of the aged mares at the MARE Center. When Dr. Froeling was finished with the chiropractic maneuvers and the acupuncture needles there was a definite visual improvement in the way the mare moved and stood. She was much more flexible and stood square.

Jana Froeling, DVM
Full Circle Equine Service
Jana Froeling, DVM Biography

Equine Chiropractic

Animal chiropractic is based on human chiropractic which was developed in the 1800's about the same time traditional medicine was getting organized. It is a gentle healing art that removes interference in the nervous system and restores normal functions to the joints and muscles of the body.

There are 3 schools in the U.S. that certify veterinarians as animal chiropractors. Each school offers basic courses of 150 hours. Advanced courses are available at some schools. The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association overseas certification requirements and they included 30 hours of continuing education in chiropractic every 2 years. In Virginia, only veterinarians can legally perform chiropractic on animals.

The nervous system is the communication circuit within the body and is housed in the skull and vertebral column. Vertebral bones and other joints can become misaligned or fail to move through a complete range of motion. Chiropractors call these misalignments subluxations. Over time they will lead to damage in the nervous and muscular systems and begin to deteriorate your horse's health. Chiropractic is aimed at correcting the subluxations and restoring proper function to the nervous and muscular systems.

Subluxations can be caused by trauma, confinement, performance injuries, equipment, shoeing, birth, and rider ability. Symptoms include pain or poor performance, discomfort when saddling or riding, abnormal posture, evasion, resisting jumps, leads, and lateral movements.

A chiropractic evaluation includes a detailed history, static palpation, motion palpation, observing gaits, adjustments and homework.

Chiropractic can improve performance in all horses and can contribute to a longer healthier life.

Equine Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the five tenets of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a 3000 year old medical art that has spread throughout the world. It involves manipulating the nervous system to produce therapeutic effects.

There are four major types of points, motor points, type 1-dorsal and ventral midline, type 3-superficial nerves and nerve plexus, and type 4-muscle tendon junctions. Stimulating methods include dry needling, aquapuncture, hemopuncture, moxabustion, electrical and laser. Therapeutic effects include pain relief, immune system altering, fever reduction, anti-inflammatory, stress relief, behavioral modification, and performance enhancement.

There are 14 major meridians that are interconnected and follow the superficial nerve pathways and are located by anatomical landmarks. The meridians carry energy and nutrients to the entire body, help in immune defense, link all tissues and organs, and can transmit pathogens and acupuncture energy.

The acupuncturist uses numerous theories to decide which points to stimulate. The two major theories are yin-yang and 5 element. The tenets of yin-yang theory are that everything in the universe has two opposite aspects. Yin and yang control each other, mutually create each other and can transform into each other in certain circumstances. The theory is used to qualify the symptoms, describe the disease process and determine treatment.

Five element theory is based on the interconnected elements of fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Other theories include tongue and pulse diagnosis, jing well points, and zang fu patterns.

Acupuncture is used often for muscular skeletal injuries including sprains, strains, laminitis, and navicular disease. It can also be very effective for immune system diseases such as allergic respiratory disease, uveitis, equine protozoal myelitis and lyme disease. It can also help with reproductive and behavior problems.

Acupuncture is one part of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. It is a very detailed, expansive medical art that offers an adjunct to Western medicine to speed recovery and an alternative when Western medicine fails.

Chiropractic and acupuncture are established medical arts that can contribute to speeding recovery from illness and injury and maintaining optimal health and performance.

For more Information on Chiropractic and Acupuncture:

Animal Veterinary Chiropractic Association
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
Tongue Diagnosis
Pulse Diagnosis
Jing Well Points
Zang Fu Patterns

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