Older Horses are prone to many defiiciences Acupuncture is well-known for its ability to relieve pain, one of its most beneficial aspects.
For deeper healing, it is best to diagnose a case from a Chinese medicine perspective. The imbalance in the flow of energy to the various organs and meridians (pathways) can lead to a better understanding of why a particular horse has the symptoms he has.
In Chinese medicine, there are three main pathways that can lead to chronic laminitis:
• One pathway by which insulin resistance can occur is from the overeating of sweet, greasy and fatty foods resulting in the internal generation of Damp and Heat which then damages the Spleen. Horses eat sweetened feed regularly and rich grass high in carbohydrate. In recent times feed is commonly supplemented with animal or vegetable fat.
• The second pathway is stress causing stagnation of Liver Qi which can damage the Yin energy. This can be from excessive drug or vaccine use, travel to competitions constantly, confinement in a stall with little turnout and emotional stress from abusive training.
• Older horses often are Kidney Yang deficient which occurs after the Yin has been deficient for a long time or the animal has aged.
This is the imbalance that gives rise to the winter laminitis cases that often puzzle practitioners. The Chinese explanation gives an understanding of why laminitis may occur and tells the practitioner which acupuncture points are needed to treat it and improve overall health.
Joyce Harman DVM, MRCVS, Harmany Equine Clinic, Ltd., www.harmanyequine.com SEE ALSO: International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, www.ivas.org American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture, www.aava.org