Dr. Herdrich, Dr. Cardenas, and Dr. Culbertson are all certified in acupuncture. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us should you have any questions about acupuncture and how it can make your horse feel well both physically and mentality.

Acupuncture began as part of traditional Chinese medicine thousands of years ago, and has had great success in preventing, diagnostic, and treating disease. Due to its great success, it has gained a lot of ground in the veterinary world for its ability to help our animals as well. Acupuncture has two schools of thought- traditional Chinese medicine and Western medical acupuncture. Traditional Chinese medicine takes into account the flow of Qi along the 14 meridians, Yin and Yang, and the 5-element theory, whereas western medical acupuncture takes into account the effects that acupuncture can have on our nervous system, and how that influences our entire body, as well as our emotional and physical health. Acupuncture is a valuable modality that can be used to compliment and strengthen the effects of our western medicine.

There are many pieces to an acupuncture scan, and it is very similar to what we do on a traditional physical exam. We gather information from each part of our physical examination to make a diagnosis, and then we move forward with appropriate treatment. As you move through a scan your horses will tell me what their bodies and minds need in that moment.

We begin by gathering a thorough medical and life history of your horse, to better understand their personality and what they may be going through mentally and physically at that time. We continue by running our hands along their topline on both sides to feel for areas of heat, as well as cooler regions along their body. This gives us a better idea of what areas may be ailing them if they are drastically hot or drastically cold. We then examine their tongue. The color, presence of edema, presence of coating, and overall moisture will give me information about their energy, circulation, hydration, and systemic health. Then we move on to palpating their jugular pulses. The strength and character of each pulse gives me information about their energy, systemic circulation, and overall health. Their jugular pulses can be described as strong, weak, bilaterally even or stronger on one side, superficial or deep, wiry, thread, or rolling.

We move to scanning along their meridians using a blunt object like a needle cap, and look for responses and reactions from your horse as we scan. The responses can be as subtle as a flick of their ear or a change in their eye, to a muscle fasciculation or contraction. These responses can be diagnostic, as well as used for treatment. We use the pattern and severity of their responses to then formulate a treatment plan for needle type, size, length, and placement.

Then we can move forward with placing our needles.

We let the needles stay in for at least 10 minutes, but the goal is at least 20 minutes and sometimes longer. Your horse will tell us when they are done with their treatment. We can perform electroacupuncture as well at this time. We can connect two needles along a meridian and span a portion of that meridian, clip our line to the two needles, and send an electric current through that portion of the meridian affecting all of those points. This can often times elongate our beneficial effects of acupuncture.