Acupuncture Case Studies

There are a few case studies cited in The Validity of Acupuncture in Veterinary Medicine  - Huisheng Xie DVM, PhD, Lindsey Wedemeyer MA, VetMB, MRCVS

A study was conducted in cattle to assess pain reduction during surgery. 28 animals were included in a controlled study that resulted in 87.5% of cattle being treated with electro-acupuncture at dorsal acupuncture points having the level of surgical analgesia graded as ‘excellent’.  These cattle were able to remain conscious and standing during abdominal surgery.  All cattle in the control group (electro-acupuncture given at non-acupuncture points) still had pain present.

Electro-acupuncture has been used to treat performance horses suffering from chronic back pain. The results show that three sessions of electro-acupuncture treatment can successfully relieve signs of back pain in horses, and the analgesic effect can last at least two weeks.  In the control group, those medicated with oral phenylbutazone alone did not effectively relieve pain.

Lower limb wounds in horses often heal poorly and it can be difficult to reduce and/or prevent granulation tissue formation and achieve a cosmetic result. Gold beads implanted at acupuncture points, wounds on the cranial hock and cannon bone region can effectively control excessive granulation tissue formulation, reducing or eliminating the need for bandaging and eliminating surgical resection.  With just a single implantation, the wounds healed with a cosmetically acceptable and functional result.  Long term follow-up for 18 or more months demonstrated that the wounds had completely healed, with reduced fibrosis compared to those horses that were not treated with gold bead implantation at the acupuncture points.

A retrospective study was performed on 80 dogs with paraplegia and intact deep pain from intervertebral disk disease that were treated with or without electo-acupuncture or dry needling. All dogs had prednisone, and 43 dogs were additionally treated with acupuncture.  It was found that the combination of electro-acupuncture and dry needling with prednisone was more effective than prednisone alone in relieving back pain, recovering ambulation and decreasing relapse.

Gold beads were inserted at acupuncture points in 15 dogs with idiopathic epilepsy – these were shown to improve seizure control. 15 weeks after implantation, 9 (60%) had at least a 50% reduction in seizure frequency compared with the control period before implantation.