The Treatment



What can I expect at the first treatment of my horse?


The first consultation will take approximately one and a half hours and involves collecting a detailed history of your horse from a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) approach as well as a thorough physical examination and if needed a separate lameness examination of your horse. Ideally we have your horses medical history from your regular vet at the time of the first consultation.

After establishing a TCM diagnosis, a treatment plan will be created specific to your horses condition and your horse will receive the first acupuncture treatment.


What can I expect after an acupuncture treatment?

  • In many cases there is marked improvement of symptoms in the first few days following an acupuncture treatment

  • Sometimes there is no obvious change in the symptoms, but the horse may seem “brighter” or more energetic

  • In some cases symptoms improve for 24- 48 hours, then can slowly regress
again, or symptoms get worse for 12 - 24 hours, then improve rapidly- this is very different from patient to patient.

  • Many owners report that their horse is very sleepy for several hours after the acupuncture treatment. Some horses have an increased appetite shortly after the treatment, some do not want to eat for the rest of the day - Each patient is unique!

  • With subsequent treatments gradual improvement is to be expected, until there is complete recovery or a plateau is reached. For chronic conditions, several subsequent treatments may be required to maintain the plateau. 


Things to know


  • Acupuncture is usually well tolerated by horses and you may even find your horse is looking forward to the next time the vet arrives.

  • Regular acupuncture treatment can treat minor sports injuries as they occur and help to keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury. World-class professional and amateur athletes often use acupuncture as a routine part of their training. If your horse is involved in any athletic endeavour  such as racing, dressage jumping, endurance or showing, acupuncture can help them stay in top physical condition.

  • For competition horses acupuncture provides a drug free treatment that can performed by a registered veterinarian at any time leading up to or during competition for FEI and Equestrian New Zealand events.  

  • To achieve the best possible treatment results, we ask you to provide us with the medical history of your pet from your regular veterinarian 48 hours PRIOR to your appointment

  • If your horse is under current treatment with steroids, a slower response to treatment with acupuncture is to be expected

  • Depending on the condition and its severity, some patients do not respond to treatment, this is usually evident after 4-6 treatments. In these cases we will discuss further treatment options

  • Please provide a clean and dry area to work in for me to work on your horse. As weather can change quickly there needs to be cover from rain and wind. The ground needs to be without mud.

  • After your horses acupuncture treatment avoid excessive exercise or stress for the rest of the day.

What conditions can be treated with acupuncture?


  • Poor performance, performance enhancement and sport-related injuries including tendons and ligaments, muscle, joint and bone injuries

  • Musculoskeletal problems: Lameness, muscle  soreness, back and neck pain, disc problems, kissing spines, arthritis, osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease, laminitis and navicular disease

  • Respiratory problems, recurrent airway obstruction “heaves”, nasal and pulmonary bleeders, cough, nasal discharge

  • Gastro-intestinal problems: Diarrhoea, gastric ulcers, colic, poor appetite, prolapse, constipation and impaction

  • Non sweaters

  • Allergies

  • Head shaking

  • Reproductive problems: not cycling, irregular cycling or being on heat all the time

  • Behavioural problems

  • Eye issues: recurrent uveitis, corneal ulcer

  • Skin problems: Allergic dermatitis, wounds, proud flesh, scars and sarcoids

  • Neurological problems: Laryngeal hemiplegia (roaring), facial and radial nerve paralysis

  • Other chronic conditions: Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, renal failure and geriatric weakness