Category Archives: Acupuncture

Recommended Equine Professionals and Services

 True North Equine Vets  www.truenorthequinevets.com   540-364-9111

Genesis Farriers: Dave Giza www.genesisfarriers.com   571-921-5822

Ken Pankow  www.horsedentistvirginia.com  540-675-3815

Full Circle Equine www.fullcircleequine.com  540-937-1754

Farriers Depot:  (Farrier related supplies) www.farriersdepot.com 352-840-0106

StemVet (Stem cell acquisition and storage) www.vet-stem.com

SmartPak Equine Supplements  www.smartpakequine.com

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eyes Wide Shut

I had the opportunity to work with a “horse communicator” today.  She was recommended to me by an equine vet who, after reading my blog, felt that I would be open to the idea, and introduced me to her via email.  According to the vet, she often works with this particular equine communicator due to her ability to point out exactly where the horse’s issues are, allowing the vet to adjust/manipulate/treat the main issue.

I chatted with her at length a few days ago as she explained the process and we scheduled an appointment.

Today I gave her a call, as she explained, connecting remotely allows for the horse to be in his natural setting without the influence of an unknown person.  That way the horse could be relaxed and the owner can observe, ask questions, and engage.  So, that is what I did.  She went onto explain that sometimes the horse needs energy work in order to open up to the process and that the horse must trust the process, her, and obviously, the owner.

I was asked to have questions ready to ask my horse, along with something I would like to tell him at the end of the session.  (If you have been following this blog then you will know I had some difficulty narrowing down a couple of questions- I have a lot! 😉 ) She began connecting with Chance.

I will not be able to convey all the details of what was said, Chance’s reactions, or even mine…It is almost a blur… I wish I could.

I was asked to feel around Chance’s right forehead/eye area for a lump or bump.  I did as I was asked and didn’t feel anything abnormal…but remembered he had a gash that was healing right above his right eye.  She informed me that he had a “headache”.  She continued to move over him and explained that his “energy” was “blocked” on his right side.  This makes sense…Chance has a “swagger” at the walk- he pokes his butt to the side and has a twist on the back right leg (Chance’s swagger has gone up and down- it was worse when he had the tendon issues, resolved after stem cell injections, came back when he got EPM, went away ish, and came back with his Lyme).  While she was working on his energy, I massaged Chance’s back, neck, hip, and shoulders.  She went on to explain that Chance had some right shoulder pain. Thankfully, Chance allowed her to work on his jaw (he pretty much has TMJ), his head, his back, etc.  The energy was “pouring out” even on the hind end which, if I recall correctly, is commonly seen on horses with head injuries.

This is where my one question came in…I wanted to know what happened to Chance when he came to my college.  I didn’t give many details…I didn’t know many details but I always wondered what may have happened on Chance’s trip down to my college.

I had gone off to college in January and decided to have someone trailer Chance down (about 3 and a 1/2 hours) once I got settled and found a barn, etc.  Two months later Chance was arrived at her new barn.  Despite the cool March weather, he was covered in sweat and was visibly scared.  I didn’t inquire too much since he was in one piece and I chalked up the sweating and fear to exactly that- fear and anxiety.  However, as the months progressed, Chance began bucking and rearing while under saddle….this was really strange..When he had left home we were doing dressage and jumping and he was sound and calm.  Once again, I chalked it up to being in a new place- a barn that hosted Friday night Bullbucking no less.  I decided to switch to a different farm, one preferably without bulls, even though the show was awesome to go and see, and work with a trainer.  Still the behaviors persisted and the episodes of lameness increased.  The vet finally diagnosed Chance with arthritic changes in his back and suggested I no longer jump him.  I decided that summer instead of bringing Chance home and have him endure another long trailer ride, to board him at my new vet’s farm. Chance had the summer to recuperate while under the care of an equine vet.

Anyways, after that summer, I decided to retire Chance for good.  I would occasionally get home him to walk around, I still can and do today.  But, that was the beginning of a chronic condition that was never given a diagnosis.  Instead, Chance’s symptoms were treated as they came.  

Back to my session with my very own horse whisperer..

Chance “showed” her what happened on his trip to college- a trailer wheel falling off the side of the road.  His head hitting one side of the trailer and slamming the other side.  The pain.  The concussion.  His neck and back becoming misaligned.  His jaw coming out of position. His body compensating. He showed the decline of his once functioning body- starting with the hit on his head, to his jaw, and his neck.  Down his neck and through his back towards his hips and down his legs.  The wear and tear of his body.  Chance stated that he is still angry with the person driving the trailer; he wasn’t ready to forgive.  I have forgiven them.  I have no doubt it was a mistake and that there was no ill intent.  But, I am not the one feeling the pain that he is.  I am not the one who went from a racehorse to a jumper to practicing dressage to retirement long before I should have. And like the “horse whisperer” said, she will “hold the forgiveness for him until he is ready.”  I will do the same.  

She spoke of his time on the racetrack.  Chance was happy to hear that he was being remembered for who he once was, and will always be to me- a strong, beautiful and crazy talented 17.1 hand red-headed thoroughbred and not a “weak old man” as he put it.  When asked what his name was during his time on the track, he said, “Hot Stuff”, which could be a nickname and not his actual race name.

At one point during Chance’s session he fell asleep; standing in an odd way- hind legs spread out.  Suddenly, his body gave out and he caught himself from falling.  This entire time his eyes were still closed!  They remained closed for another minute after this.  His body reacting to something, perhaps a shift in his energies, and all the while he was a a state of peace; trusting that nothing bad would happen to him. 

The session lasted an hour and a half.  Honestly, we could have continued because of all the “blockages” but decided to stop for the day and pick up again another day.  I was told that the effects of the energy work or Reiki, would continued throughout the week and that he would be emotionally vulnerable.  As the session wrapped up Chance apparently said that he was the lucky one because I found him all those years ago.  


Energy Work and Reiki Resources


 The Benefits of Equine Reiki

Reiki for Horses: Workshops, Training, Courses, and Resources

Reiki Related Research and Resources for Two and Four Legged Friends

Equine Reiki Academy

Amorosa Equestrian Center in Ohio

The History of Reiki

Reiki Forum on Horse and Hound

Reiki Handout: Full history, explanation, and how to pictures


Equine Communication


How Horses Communicate

How to Speak Horse

Horse Forum: Horse Communicators


Head Trauma and Headaches in Horses


Symptoms of Equine Concussions

Trauma, Concussions or Other Brain injuries in Horses

How to Handle Horse Head Injuries

Helping Horses with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Merck Vet Manual: Equine Trauma and First Aid

Do Horses Get Headaches?

Chronic Lyme in Horses: Headaches

Equine Podiatry

Medical History


  1. DDFT Lesion on right hind
  2. Cervical Spine Arthritis
  3. Hip discomfort due to past fall

Past Treatments Tried


  1. Stem Cell Injections: Healed the DDFT lesion in right hind until recently the lesion began to reappear
  2. Ozone Therapy: Assists in the healing of tissues
  3. Shock Wave Therapy: Assists in the healing of tissue
  4. Chriopractic adjustments
  5. Acupuncture
  6. Supplements

Initial Consultation


Chance showed decreased movement in his right hip and a audible cracking noise at the suspensory joint.  He has edema of both hind fetlocks, Pastern, and Pastern Dermatitis.  Chance was unshawed on both hinds due to his inability to stand for long periods of time and his decreased mobility.  However, his front adorned clips.

Due to the length of Chance’s front toes and the height of his heels he was unable to evenly distribute his weight (60/40) to his front and hind ends.  This would most likely cause increased tension on the DDFT tendons and corresponding ligaments resulting in an increased likelihood of tendon and ligament related injuries.  The uneven distribution of weight could also inhibit the horse’s range of motion through his hips resulting in his body compensating for this injury and causing ataxia (balance issues), pain, arthritic changes, and cervical spine misalignment.

By shortening the toe of both front feet, the heel will rise allowing a more even distribution of his weight.


Front


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Final Product: Front


Trimmed feet to corrected to the following specifications:

Foot   Beginning Angle & Toe       Corrected Angles & Toe   Total P.C.

L/F    47 Degrees at  3 7/8 inches   53 Degrees at 3 inches         6 Degrees

R/F    45 Degrees at 3 3/4 inches    54 Degrees at 3 inches         9 Degrees


Hind


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Final Product: Hind


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 Return visit to trim and shoe Chance’s hind feet with #2 OBRHB Wedge shoes.Trimmed hind feet and corrected to the following specifications:

Foot   Beginning Angle & Toe       Corrected Angles & Toe   Total P.C.

L/H   48 Degrees at 3 7/8 inches    54 Degrees at 3 1/4 inches    6 Degrees

R/H  46 Degrees at 4 1/4 inches     55 Degrees at 3 1/4 inches     9 Degrees

Note: Chance needed to be sedated by veterinarian to complete the trim and shoe his hind feet due to preexisting hip and DDFT issues.

Treating Cellulitis in horses

A common and potentially hazardous infection that can be helped with combining antibiotics, cold hosing, and exercise.

EQUINE Ink

Freedom's left knee was very swollen. You can see the scrape on the outside of the knee.

On Monday night I showed up at the barn around 7:00 p.m. to ride once the day cooled off. To my dismay I found that Freedom’s knee was hugely swollen. I had wrapped his legs because he’d felt a bit stocked up the night before and because the swelling had no where to go except the knee, the effect was horrifying. Visualize a grapefruit.

Almost immediately I saw the cause: a scrape less than an inch long. Before I called the vet I scrubbed the wound to make sure it wasn’t a puncture wound (didn’t look like it to me, but a puncture would where a joint is involved can be very serious). Normally I would also shave the area around the cut but I had sent my clipper blades out to be sharpened!  My guess was cellulitis but since it involved a joint I wanted to makes sure I…

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Pain in the Neck

My old guy has always had issues with his cervical spine/neck.  Throughout the years he has developed arthritis which has caused symptoms which mirror EPM such as; ataxia, difficulty bending, hind end weakness, difficulty going up hills, lethargy, difficulty balancing when foot is lifted, muscle atrophy, sore back…you get the picture.

When his symptoms first came on I had the vet test for EPM.  The test was positive.  I did my research and found out that about 50% of horses will test positive for EPM but only 1% show actual impairment from the virus.  I went ahead and completed two rounds of EPM medication therapy and still his symptoms continued.  So, I sought out another vet who practiced eastern and western medicine.

After some chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture she felt that his issues were actually due to the cervical spine and not EPM. The vet also showed me how, when looking at Chance straight on, one of his eyes was lower then the other- a classic sign of cervical and jaw issues. We continued with the chiropractic and acupuncture therapy and have continued for over a year and the change has been remarkable.  Along with these therapies, we upped his feed, added supplements, began stretches and different exercises, and had him walking and running up and down hills whenever he was outside.  The dentist has also been of great help by floating Chance’s teeth every few months instead of once a year.  This helps with the alignment of his teeth because he tends to ware one side of his teeth down more then the other; ultimately straining his jaw and neck.

He has rebuilt the muscle on his hind end, put on around 100 lbs, and is able to do stretches while someone is holding his foot up.  He runs when he is outside and is no longer on pain medications (except on the rare occasion).

Here is some useful information on a horse’s back and cervical spine.

Diagnosing A Horse’s Neck Problems

Main Causes of Ataxia in Horses

Arthritis of the Spine in Horses

Back Stretches

Exercises for Spinal Issues in Horses

Gator Rubs

Chance was not acting like himself near the end of the snow storm.  He seemed lethargic and gloomy…his appetite was good but the light in his eyes was not as strong.

I called the vet and asked her to please come out. She came out that day and ran a CBC along with going some acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments.  The vet also gave Chance B12 (or as our previous vet called “the old man shot”).

She contacted me after seeing Chance and informed me that she was diagnosing him with an ulcer and thinks that he may have either slipped on the snow and hurt (bruised) his hip or hurt it while rolling.

I asked about the diagnostics that lead to the ulcer diagnosis.  She explained that with horses there are 7 “acupuncture points”.  When they are all reactive 85% of the time the horse has a gastric ulcer. She also went on to explain that with the lethargy and the change in patterns due to the snow a gastric ulcer would be plausible.   They are apparently common when there are changes in the horse’s routine and fairly easy to cure.   She prescribed “Nux” (give 1 teaspoon until gone) and Ranitidine.

I am suppose to let her know if he stops eating or becomes more lethargic.  She felt that he was not at risk for colic because he is eating well and on a high quality feed.  Fingers crossed.

hc-gastric-ulcers


Resources on Gastric Ulcers and Prescribed Medications



Gastric Ulcers in Horses

Ranitidine

Nux Vomica Herbal Medicine

Santa Is Coming To Town!

ChristmasHorse(In order from top left to right) SmartPak monthly supplements- A New Waterproof Blanket- Professional Horseman Boots- A bright orange halter to keep him safe during hunting season- DuraLactin an all natural anti-inflammatory and pain medication- Equine Edibles Candy Can Bran Mash- Epson Salt Poultice for sore muscles- Transfer Factor to boost your horse’s immune system during the winter months- Acupuncture- A massage- Kinesio Tape for sore muscles or stiffness-  a complete first aid kit because you can never be overly prepared!

Pump, Pump, Pump It Up!

The vet came out to give Chance and Lucky their fall shots and do some follow up acupuncture on Chance.  The vet said that Chance has increased flexibility especially in his cervical spine and has gained weight and muscle mass!!!!!!

His feeding regiment is as follows:

AM:

  1. 6 quarts of Nutrina Safe Choice Senior Feed
  2. 3 quarts hay stretcher
  3. Alfalfa hay mix (as much as he wants through out the day)

PM:

  1. 6 quarts of Nutrina Safe Choice Senior Feed
  2. 3 quarts hay stretcher
  3. Alfalfa hay mix (as much as he wants through out the day)
  4. 1 Scoops of DuraLactin (Natural anti-inflammatory and pain supplement)
  5. 1 SmartPak (Senior Flex, Immune Boost)

He is out all day when it is cool and all night when it is hot during the day. So he has tons of green grass to eat.  He walks constantly- up and down the hills- and runs around with Lucky.  We also walk ground poles and do stretches and massage every time I come out to the barn.

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We still need to continue upping his weight and muscle mass preferably before winter.  Fingers crossed.

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Check-Ups

Chance had a chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, and electro stimulation on his cervical spine. He actually fell asleep resting his head on someone’s shoulder while receiving the stim for 20 minutes. 

I also spoke to the vet about Chance’s unrelenting scratches on his hind legs. She suggested mixing Vaseline and Betadine and applying it to the affected area, wrapping seren wrap around it, and then wrapping it with a standing wrap. After 12 hours, remove the wraps and clean area. – scratches not improving.  Once scabs have all fallen off then he can begin an Antibiotic like Baytril. 

Chance is still stiff on both sides of neck, although he can bend with better balance (when vet holds one of Chance’s front legs up while he bends to the opposite side).  He also shows Improved lateral flexibility on right side. Right base dorsal secrum and d-v flexion improved. 

  

Chance’s skin is having a “typical chestnut reaction” and the vet advices to discontinue transfer factor due to his immune system working too hard, and then use 1/2 of current dose. Start Tellurium 1 teaspoon a day for 5 days and then 1x a week to help with his skin. 

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Chance in heaven while receiving stim

Trust Your Instincts

Chance being lunged after many years of not being lunged due to a DDFT injury and possible EPM treatments.  He is still stiff and needs to build up the muscle in his hind end thus why he is being lunged.  In addition to his chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, stretches and massages, and all natural pain medication (MicroLactin), he is also doing physical therapy- walking over poles, walking serpentines, and walking up and down hills.

It Just Keeps Getting Better & Better

Two days ago Chance’s vet came out to do a follow up and to give him and Luck their Spring shots.

Chance got some chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture as well. The vet stated that Chance was showing improvements in his Cervical (neck) flexibility and still had some tightness on his hind-end. She did one new stretch with him which entailed her lifting his front leg while her assistant had him bend his neck to the opposite side. He was able to do it on both sides while remaining balanced!!!! Where as before he could barely do cervical stretch with all four legs on the ground!

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The vet said that Chance has gained weight and could use another 50-75lbs. She asked if he is finishing his dinner (4q twice a day) to which I answered yes. She suggested upping his feed to another quart twice a day totaling 5 quarts twice a day.

Chance’s feed schedule now includes the following:

AM: 5 q of Safe Choice Senior Feed by Nutrina, Transfer Factor (immune system booster), MicroLactin (for pain and inflammation). Hay Alfalfa mix, and 2q of Hay Stretcher

PM: 5 q of SCSF, SmartPak (Senior Flex supplement, immune system enhancer),  Hay/alfalfa mix, and 2 q of Hay Stretcher.

Lucky got his first round of shots today and he was so well behaved! He stood there calmly and put his head under my arm while he got his shots.

The vet also took a look at Luck’s teeth.

There are four ways to age an equine by his teeth:

  • Occurrence of permanent teeth
  • Disappearance of cups
  • Angle of incidence
  • Shape of the surface of the teeth

Well, Luck still has two baby teeth which do not seem to have adult teeth behind them that would ordinarily push out the baby teeth. So there goes option 1. 

His teeth no longer have cups on them and are completely smooth which indicates he is around age 10/11. 

I, along with Luck’s most recent owner, thought he was about 5 years old. However, his teeth seem to tell a different story. I’m wondering if the fact that Luck still has two of his baby teeth could be the reason for the cups prematurely disappearing? Or if he really is 10/11 years old….guess it’s time for a dental appointment. 

I pray that gentle hands may guide my feet; I ask for kind commands from voices sweet; At night a stable warm with scented hay, Where, safe from every harm, I’ll sleep til day. -Author Unknown.

Today I met with a “new” vet, Vet7, who was Chance’s very first vet over 15 years ago, when he was vetted at purchase. She came out to do a chiropractic and acupuncture consultation, along with a general check-up. Vet7, while she has a more holistic approach to vetrinary medicinw, she also practices Western medicine.

Vet7 looked at Chance from head to hoof and took a thorough medical history, and ran some tests. She mostly did some balancing and acupressure type diagnostics, and declared that while Chance may have had EPM, she felt that his ataxia was due to his cervical spine….

She explained her reasoning:

1. EPM diagnostics are sub par at best. Even the spinal fluid testing. And, like I previously posted, about 50% of horses in the USA are EPM positive while only 1% are symptomatic.

2. Vet7 did a stretch test with Chance’s neck- to the left, while he compensated by bending at the top instead of the bottom, he showed little flexibility and increased ataxia while doing so. The right side bend was easier. Typically, horses with Cervical issues have issues with the hind-end on the opposite side. Chance has issues with his right leg.

3. Typically horses with EPM respond to treatment. Chance is on his second round of EPM treatment and while his symptoms have had moments where they are less noticeable, there are other moments when his symptoms are prominent; mostly at times of stress. (ie: trailering, new donkey friends, etc).

4. Vet7 put a needle in one of the points in Chance’s tail. He responded immediately showing that he has feeling and strength in his tail, which is something most EPM horses do not exhibit. Typically, an EPM horse will have weakness in his tail, and a times their tail is too weak to lift when they goto the bathroom resulting in having dried manure along their backside.

Vet7 made some adjustments and stuck Chance with a handful of needles. At one point he fell asleep with his head in my arms. She proceeded to inject different points along his cervical spine and hips with B-12.  She taught me some stretches and massage techniques, exercises he and I could do together to increase his hind-end and neck muscles, and gave me some weight gaining instructions.

Chance will have Rice Bran added to his feed beginning with 1 cup for a week and slowly increasing to 2 cups. This will aid in getting his weight up. Apparently, horses are able to tolerate up to 30% fat in their daily diets.

She also suggested adding a Probiotic to increase his Immune system since the gut is the control center. There were other supplements that she felt maybe helpful as well, Cervical Formula, to help with his neck flexibility and overall health.

As for the exercises, in conjunction with turning him out daily, he and I will do stretches to help increase his neck flexion and balance, and I will hand walk him. We will walk on flat land, up and down small hills, and do serpentines. Eventually, increasing to twice a day and adding ground poles and lunging. This will help to develop the muscles, increase his flexion, decrease the ataxia, and aid in his overall health.

acupuncture

Vet7 will come back out in two weeks to see how he is doing…I’m hoping that we have finally found some answers and are closer to a solution.

The Equine Spa Treatment

This cold weather does a number on my joints, so I can only imagine what it must do to my old and arthritic horse. The last few days, Chance has been inside due to the single digit temperature outside, the strong winds, and the ice and snow.  (He used to “stock-up” when left inside, even for only one day, and now he no longer has this reaction).  The stall rest and hand walking will probably do him some good anyways!

Chance has always had Cervical Spine issues and over the years, you can feel the “knots” (for lack of a better word) on his neck.  Due to that, and his EPM, I decided to contact a massage therapist, chiropractor, and acupuncturist to come and work their magic on Chance!  Basically, a full day at the spa:).

I contacted one vet that incorporates run of the mill equine healthcare with chiropractic and acupuncture work, along with holistic medicine as well.  One review stated that she looked at/worked with the “whole horse” in order to assess, diagnose, and treat. Interestingly, I believe that this vet used to work on Chance about 10-12 years ago when he lived in Lorton, VA.  I sent her an email and I hope she has some availability.

I also found an equine massage therapist, who was certified through Equissage, and I will be contacting her tomorrow.

And, I have found Chance a dentist, and once again, he is Chance’s previous dentist from over a decade ago!

The equine world is a small one- at least in Virginia!

Adjustments & Needles

Vet3 came out to see Chance.  She has worked with Chance for about 10 years, doing adjustments and acupuncture.

Chance has always had issues with his back and neck.

Vet3 typically follows the below regiment:

UPSIS- RSP- LAS- R. front shoulder- PL 6- RL 4 & 5- LT 9 & 13- RT 10, 11, & 15- BL 10, 11, 13, 17, 21, 26- SI 1, 3, 9, 11- TH 1, 14- LI 1, 14, 15- LU 11

Vet3 did some adjustments and acupuncture and Chance did well.  She then referred me to the “God of anything leg related”, Vet4.

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