Unlimited access >

My horse had acupuncture today!

I’ve been dealing with a lot of back pain with Mr. Odin for quite a while. I’ve had his spine x-rayed, saddle fitted to him, massage, chiro, and now acupuncture. The vet did a chiro on him first and for some of it, he wanted nothing to do with her and was very fidgety, attempting to bite when it got too uncomfortable, and just not happy. I love this vet, she never got annoyed and took her time and gave him breaks throughout.

Then came the acupuncture. Totally different ballgame. He loved it! she put in about 10 needles and he never moved. He got so relaxed and sleepy when she ran the electro comb (for want of a better word) that gave a read out on how well it’s working. His mood afterward was cheerful and happy instead of his usual snarky self. He goes back in two weeks for another round. Fingers crossed this is the ticket he needed.!


How is your horse with injections/needles generally?

I ask because I have one that hates chiro and deep tissue massage, but I think his soreness could benefit from some bodywork. I had considered acupuncture (my vet offers it), but he hates needles. As in, HATES. He can be drugged for them and still react. If I do a lameness exam, I can get about 2 or 3 blocks done before he’s considering the merits of homicide.

He’s great with needles but de-worming is another story!

1 Like

That’s funny - my guy is just fine with deworming!

I’ve seen acupuncture really work wonders. My TB tended to body slam any vet who tried to insert needles, so we had to stop, but I’ve used a red laser on acupressure points to good effect (and less drama). When we did get needles in, it definitely helped him. One winter he slipped in the snow/ice and was very slightly off and the acupuncture made him feel considerably better.

This is FASCINATING. I can’t wait to see how this unfolds.

Acupuncture doesn’t come close to having a needle full of stuff injected into the horse:). I suspect the quick “pinch” is a lot less grief than a black horse fly drilling into them:)

Acupuncture is done along certain areas of what is called meridian lines. Exactly where depends on the issue.

I’ve been an advocate of acupuncture for many years. All my horses have been acupunctured at some point in their lives and so have some of my dogs.

For me it is a lump in my throat to watch my horse’s head drop and his eyes go half mast in that “AHH!!” Moment that relief is felt from the acupuncture.

Also, if the vet/chiro can’t get the horse to relax enough in the area it needs adjusted, she will often acupuncture the area first. This relaxes the horse rather than try to force the horse to co-operate. She has also done that with my Rottweiler.


Haha if there’s a way to telepathically tell my horse I’m trying to HELP I’m all ears :laughing: he’s quite dramatic about flies too - both behaviorally and in resultant hives/welts. Plus the tiny IM needle pinch for say, Adequan or Ace, is cause for acrobatics/death threats before anything even gets pushed through.

Still, I may give it a shot. OP’s horse sounds a lot like him, and it seems to have done them some good!

1 Like

If you can get your horse past the needle pinch before he can reach your cell phone, the acupuncture may help him with his fear of needles.

I had a young horse like yours some years back. He reared straight up at the vet who owned the facility- vet is a BIG dude who played college football.

When the next year’s vaccinations came due, a smaller vet with a softer approach came to the farm. He was so fast with that needle even I didn’t know my horse had his shot until the vet patted my horse on the neck and said “that wasn’t so bad was it.”

Acupuncture needles go in really fast. Depending on the area, sometimes the pinch is felt a little more. My horses love soda crackers - those are their cookie treats. Maybe you could ply your horse with treats during the pinch moments so he is not sure what just happened?


OK, off topic but I have a chestnut named Odin with a similar clip job so now I need to see a full photo! :grinning:

I have never used acupuncture on a horse, but I have an elderly dog that is alive today because of it. Right after Christmas my 14.5 year old Labrador was very rapidly losing control of her rear end. Up until then she had been a little “old lady tottery” but this decline in function was rapid and severe. Within days she was falling and was unable to get up due to her hind legs splaying out to the sides. We started acupuncture as a last ditch effort and not only did it arrest her decline it reversed it. She’s still a bit weak in the rear but doesn’t fall, doesn’t splay, can get up from a seated position by herself, and is happy and interactive.

It’s been pretty close to a miracle. I am very thankful for the time that acupuncture has given us. She’s now 14 years, 8 months old. Every day is a gift. I can’t say enough good things about it.


@islgrl Here’s the only full body pic I have taken during a lesson last year. I had a trace clip done this year last year was an Irish clip.

1 Like

My horse is not great with needles, hates mane pulling, hates bugs and is generally overly sensitive to stuff on his skin. I can now give IM injections by myself in a field but for any vet work needles we twitch him. It ensures my vets safety and his compliance. He’s has no objections to being twitched, it’s not traumatic.

That said, I had a bodyworker who wanted to do acupuncture on him. I told her it wasn’t a good idea…but if she wanted to try…sure. She got two needles in and he was dragging me up and down the aisle, shivering and shaking and rubbing up against the walls. I was able to pluck the needles as he moved and he became calm and quiet again. It’s just not worth it for him. I wish it was…I love acupuncture for myself!

(This beast also threw himself at the walls of his stall at a show. The culprit was a loose button braid where the knob was touching his neck and kinda flopping) :roll_eyes:

1 Like

you’d be surprised how many needle shy horses are just fine with acupuncture. Most of the time it is a non event.