Bridget Roberts Veterinary Services - Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points in the body which have the ability to alter various biomechanical, neurological and physiological conditions. The horse has 361 acupunture points which are located along channels. These channels are associated with the local anatomical structures and also with a certain organ and its characteristics. Microscopically, these points are seen to differ from surrounding tissue by altered nerve endings and blood vessels. These points are also shown to have lowered skin electrical resistance and energy is able to flow between them. It is this energy flow that is disrupted in many disease states

Stimulation of these points has been shown to release numerous neurotransmitters and activate neurological pathways. Certain points can be seen to affect muscles, glands and immune cells. Detailed studies have shown alterations in organ function and biomarkers after treatment.

Probably the most extensive use of acupuncture in the horse relates to its significant effect on muscle injury, reducing pain transmission and stimulating endorphin release.


  • To find patterns of disharmony and imbalance
  • To address the root of the problem, treat the symptoms and return the body to homeostasis
  • To harness the ability to act on nervous, musculoskeletal, endocrine and humoral systems
  • To stimulate the body’s immune system and promote healing
  • To provide short and long-term pain control
  • To provide extra care and understanding to your horse
  • To bring ancient or new tools to the table!

Applications in the horse:

Acupuncture can be used to treat a whole range of conditions from musculoskeletal pain, reproductive failure, gastro-intestinal and respiratory problems to general ill-thrift or behavioural problems.

More information can be provided about any the following conditions:

  • Age related: arthritis, ill-thrift, endocrine disorders
  • Behaviour: anxiety, hormonal abnormalities
  • Eye disorders: inflammation, uveitis
  • G.I.T.: colic, gastric ulceration, diarrhoea
  • Immune modulation: immune stimulation, hypersensitivities and immunosuppression
  • Lameness: arthritis, back pain, laminitis, muscle damage, navicular syndrome, tying-up
  • Neurological: nerve injury or pain
  • Respiratory: bronchitis, pneumonia, allergies/COPD, EIPH
  • Reproductive:: oestrus abnormalities, uterine infection, poor fertility, placentitis