Acupuncture is the piercing of the skin with fine needles. It is used to relieve symptoms of pain or illness and promote good health.

Equine vet Mary Drysdale is trained to deliver acupuncture. Here she explains more:

The technique is commonly recognised as part of traditional Chinese medicine which dates back at least 3000 years, it is based on a theory of 12 meridians which influence the flow of Qi (or life energy). Western acupuncture, which is what I practice, is developed more recently based on more scientific experiments carried out in 1970s and 80s.

In animals acupuncture is a schedule 3 procedure, meaning it can only be carried out by a qualified veterinary surgeon registered with the RCVS.


Acupuncture can be used to treat the pain associated with a wide range of conditions.

· Back and neck pain

· Osteoarthritis

· Sacroiliac pain

· Myofascial pain

· Navicular

· Laminitis

· Recovery of muscles post hard exercise

· Equine asthma

· Head shaking

· Chronic wounds

This is not an exhaustive list and in each case it is important to determine and treat the underlying cause.

Most horses tolerate acupuncture very well, the needles are very fine, however some will need low level sedation for initial treatments. Where possible, sedation is avoided so as not to interfere with regulation of endogenous opioids.


In all my cases I will examine your horse thoroughly before placing any needles. This will include a walk and trot up and a hands on all over the body, specifically feeling for any pain and myofascial trigger points.

The acupuncture needles will be placed in response to my examination and your own findings. The needles will be left in place for approx. 20 minutes.

I find that during treatments most horses become relaxed, some will even become almost sedated, with yawning behaviour very common. This is a result of the systemic effects. Often horses will benefit from a quiet 24 hours after a session.

Usually sessions are weekly for 2-4 weeks then every few months depending on your horse and the response /condition. I find generally you get a better response to each subsequent treatment.

Obviously there is no drugs involved so there is no withdrawal required for competition horses.

If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment then just get in touch.