Eastern or traditional medicine is being embraced by the West through nutritional and herbal supplementation therapies, acupuncture, etc. Several studies support acupuncture for various equine ailments, including:

Musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and circulatory disorders.

  • Skin diseases.
  • Endocrine or hormonal irregularities.
  • Respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Digestive disorders (such as colic).
  • Maximizing reproductive efficiency.

Acupuncture has been studied previously in laminitic horses, showing promising results. One recent study1 further explored the benefits of acupuncture for this leading cause of pain and death in horses. The researchers studied 12 adult horses diagnosed with chronic laminitis. Each horse underwent two acupuncture treatments spaced 1 week apart. Horses were evaluated for lameness using a commercial lameness evaluation system (Lameness Locator) and routine examinations following American Association of Equine Practitioners scoring guidelines.

After acupuncture, a major reduction in lameness severity was seen using both lameness evaluation techniques. The researchers concluded that using acupuncture in conjunction with other treatment options is successful in treating chronic equine laminitis.

“Other treatment options alluded to by the researchers include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and nutritional supplements that contain biotin and other nutrients to support hoof growth and strength,” says Kathleen Crandell, PhD, an equine nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research.


1. Faramarzi, B., D. Lee, K. May, et al. 2017. Response to acupuncture treatment in horses with chronic laminitis. Canadian Veterinary Journal. 58(8):823-827.

Article courtesy of Kentucky Equine Research. Visit equinews.com/newsletters to subscribe to The Weekly Feed, KER’s award-winning equine nutrition newsletter.