Auburn University Equine Veterinarians Use Acupuncture as a Form of Treatment

Auburn University Veterinarians have introduced acupuncture into their equine treatment.

“For some of the chronic conditions, it can be frustrating. You are limited in the types of medications available or safe to use over long periods of time. Horses, particularly older horses, or horses with orthopedic musculoskeletal issues, they sometimes aren’t responsive to that type of management,” said Dr. Kara Lascola, Auburn University Associate Professor of Equine Internal Medicine.

Not only do they use this integrative form of medicine for muscle and neurological conditions, but also for behavioral problems and reproduction.

“They might feel a little pressure when introducing the needle, but you can feel the muscle relax around it and it goes in quite smoothly,” said Dr. Lascola.

“Integrative medicine is making a huge headway in the veterinarian world and at a lot of horse shows, you’ll hear people asking for acupuncture,” said Nichole Murdock, Fourth Year Veterinarian Student.

They make sure the horse is in a calm and quiet environment and are ok with the needles. Depending on the condition and the horse, they’ll leave the needle in for about 10 to 30 minutes.

“I think that’s what the owners are looking for, making them more comfortable for longer periods of time,” said Dr. Lascola.

An alternative form of treating pain that has already shown tremendous results in their patients here.

“It’s interesting to get to see how they use everything we know already and help animals that aren’t benefiting from traditional medicine,” said Murdock.

Depending on the horse and their condition, acupuncture can be a component into their overall therapy in addition to medicine and other treatments they need to give that patient.

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