Shotter & Byers believes in the use of combined modern Western medicine and Acupunture as a traditional Chinese medicine therapy in the purpose of restoring or mantaining your horse wellbeing and health.

Francisco `Fran´ Tirado has trained in Veterinary Acupuncture since 2013 when he completed the ABVA (Association of British Veterinary Acupuncuture) foundation course and he has also completed the IVAS (International Veterinary Acupuncture Society) Certification course. He is currently a member of the ABVA.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for three thousands years to treat many conditions. The Chinese also use acupuncture as preventative medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) supports the body’s ability to heal and rebalance itself.

In western terms, scientific research has proven the merits of acupuncture for pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, reproductive and hormonal regulation and gastrointestinal disturbances among many other effects.

What conditions can acupuncture be used for?

Most commonly acupuncture is used for enhancing performance in competition horses.

  • It is an excellent drug-free modality for relieving musculoskeletal pain:
  • Neck and Back pain
  • Sacroiliac pain
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Laminitis
  • Navicular disease

Acupuncture can also be very effective for:

  •  Gastrointestinal problems (chronic diarrhoea, frequent spasmodic colics, weight     loss, inappetance).
  •  Hormone/metabolic disease
  •  Behavioral issues
  •  Respiratory problems like heaves (COPD/RAO)
  •  Head-shaking

What does the treatment look like?

The first examination and treatment can take from 45 to 90 minutes and sometimes will include an assesment at walk, trot and canter. Initially a full history will be taken, then a complete inspection of the horse including a careful palpation of diagnostic acupuncture points, examination of the tongue and pulse will take place.

After this, a diagnosis is stablished and an according strategic treatment planned.

Then, very small fine needles are placed in specific points.

Sometimes the needle can be heated with a herb called moxa (Moxibustion) or a small volume of vitamin B12 and blood or homeopathic remedies can be injected on the acupuncture points.

Most horses will accept acupunture treatment very well. Some animals will become sleepy or lethargic for a few hours post treatment. That is why we recommend to exercise the horse before the treatment and resume work on the next day.

The length and frequency of acupuncture treatments depends on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation that is used by the veterinary acupuncturist. Usually an acute condition may require only one or two treatments, while a chronic condition may require a series of treatments over a period of 4-6 weeks.

It is not uncommon for owners to notice an immediate improvement in their animal. However, more often than not, acupuncture needs to be performed several times over the course of a few weeks in order attain the maximal benefit. At that point, your horse may need monthly or quarterly treatments or he may never need an acupuncture treatment again.

Can I combine Acupuncture with a regular visit?

Acupuncture can be combined with a regular visit, but preferably not with one that will require sedation or the use os steroids as this will decrease its efficacy.

What does it cost?

The initial session costs  £84   (incl. VAT).

Follow up sessions costs £54   (incl. VAT).

Acupuncture stimulates the body’s own healing processes.

Fran Tirado BVSc MRCVS



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