This 6 year-old polo pony was presented to us with a very severe left hind lameness. She was found not weight bearing and quite distressed in the stable. After our examination and supportive treatment it was decided to refer her to the Equine Referral Hospital at the RVC for further diagnosis as we suspected a possible fracture.
After a few days in the hospital and a complete diagnostic assessment including “Bone scan??? and ultrasound examination, a rupture of the vastus medialis muscle was identified. A period of rest and anti-inflammatories was advised for some weeks.
The prognosis was fairly good but after a few weeks the owner reported a significant muscle waste above the left stifle. This atrophy was getting worse and worse and the pony was still quite lame.
The client had already been using the services of a physiotherapist but the pony was still quite sore at walk. At that stage, I recommended acupuncture and I was very pleased when the client called me back to update me after the first session. She was already moving more comfortably but still not pain free.
We noticed that the pain was reducing but the muscle waste was not. The lack of muscle above the stifle was getting so severe that the joint was losing stability and becoming also a mechanical lameness. By this time, it was obvious there was a neurological involvement during the muscle rupture. This means that the nerve was also affected and without a healthy and functioning nerve, the muscle was going to keep wasting.
I decided that this polo pony really needed some extra help in the form of electro-acupuncture as horses with nerve damage and muscle waste are the best candidate for this technique.
As a member of the Shotter&Byers team I was very proud that the partners were supportive once again considering integrative therapies as an option for restoring and preventing injuries. They purchased an Electroacupuncture machine and therefore this polo pony became my first electroacupuncture patient.
After a couple of sessions, the owner started noticing that the muscle was recovering its volume and the biomechanics of the stifle joint was improving significantly.
Currently, we are just waiting for this young polo pony to start training gradually and she will hopefully be playing this 2017 season.
In conclusion, this is one of the examples of how Acupuncture can help restore your horse´s health.
Please feel free to contact the office on 01 306 627 706 if you would like to discuss or arrange an acupuncture treatment for your horse.
Fran Tirado BVSc MRCVS CertVetACU (IVAS)