Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Master Program of the Chi Institute
in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
DETERMINING THE EFFECT OF LASER ACUPUNCTURE ON THE HEART RATE OF ACUTE-STRESSED HORSES
WENDY YING, DVM, TCVMP, CCRT
Sam Wu, PhD
Huisheng Xie, DVM, PhD
Aituan Ma, MS, PhD
Anxiety in horses affects performance, health and value of sport horses and the reputation of trainers and competitors. Current treatments include behavior modification with pharmaceuticals, acupuncture, herbal supplements, mineral supplements and food therapy. We propose laser acupuncture, given before stressful situations can decrease anxiety and improve performance and health in horses.
A 2 day cross over study was performed on 24 horses who were either assigned to the treatment or control group on Day 1. Treatment horses were given laser acupuncture to reduce anxiety. Control horses were given sham treatment with the laser in the off position. All horses were fitted with a heart rate monitor and then exposed to an acute startle test (AST). Heart rate was monitored 1 minute pre and 10 minutes post AST. Peak HR and return to Baseline HR was noted. All horses were allowed a wash out period of 7 days and then assigned to the other group and results from both days were compared.
22 geldings and 2 mares ranging in age from 6 yrs to 29 yr were used. Breeds included Arabians, Quarter Horses, Warmbloods, Tennessee Walking Horses and grade horses. Disciplines included Jumpers, Hunters, Dressage, Driving, Fox hunting and Trail. Our data shows in some cases, laser acupuncture did reduce peak heart rate and decreased the time to return to baseline.
Further research needs to be done with a larger group of subjects. Modifying the acute startle test depending on the level of anxiety of the breed/discipline may give more meaningful results. Quarter Horses, trail and driving horses showed a very low level of startle (ie lower peak heart rate) compared to dressage horses and jumpers probably due to their exposure to loud noises in their daily activity. This model may be used to test the effectiveness of other kinds of acupuncture treatments, herbal therapies, pharmaceuticals and supplements claiming to be effective in controlling anxiety in horses and other animals.
Food Therapy is one of the five branches of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. It is a practice of healing using natural foods along with or instead of medications. The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine (Huang-di-ni-jing, written around 300 BC) was most important in forming the basis of Chinese food therapy. It classified food by Yin and Yang food group and five tastes and by their natures and characteristics.
For example, Yang foods are believed to warm Yang, tonify Qi, dispel Cold, move Qi and Blood, resolve stagnation, stop pain. Yin foods nourish Yin, cool blood, clear heat, detoxify. Therefore, Yang foods (e.g., mutton and pumpkin) are used for Qi/Yang Deficiency, Qi-blood stagnation, wei syndrome, Lin syndrome, immunodeficiency. Yin Foods (such as turkey and tofu) are used for the treatment of Yin Deficiency, skin itching, autoimmune diseases, Cushing's disease.
Food Therapy is the preparation of using selected food ingredients and superior herbs. The goals of food therapy are
Whole, fresh foods should be a big part of your animal's diet. Processed foods and vitamin isolates lack the phytonutrients, enzymes and building blocks of whole foods. The first step to good nutrition is a variety of quality whole foods. When clients start home cooking for their dogs and cats, I recommend feeding platinum performance for support as a good adjunct to your home cooking. Here is the link to platinum performance, use code YIN when checking out.
The 5 Element theory, aka Wu Xing refer to the 5 elements in the natural world, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water and their inter-relationships. It is a guiding principle in Chinese culture and thought and is used not only in medicine, but in art, music, military strategy, feng sui and martial arts.
"The 5 Element theory was first formed in China around the time of the Yin and Zhou Dynasties (16th century BC to 221 BC). Later, it was adopted into medical practice, thus becoming a founding theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The 5 element priciples can describe the nature of the Zang-Fu organs, the inter-relationships between organs and the relationship between the animal body and and the natural world. Thus, the theory of the 5 Elements, together with the theory of Yin-Yang, serves to guide clinical diagnosis and treatment" ....(Dr. Xie, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, volume 1, fundamental principles.)
We use 5 element theory to diagnose the personality of the animal and his/her human companions. Many emotional problems of animals are direct reactions to their environment and caretakers so if we can reduce stress and conflict in the environment, both animal and human can be happier and healthier in their relationship.
Here is a quick overview and horse/human example of each element.
A wood animal is confident, active and athletic. They can be superstar performers but are sensitive to stress and are easily angered and tend to be crabby and impatient. They will be alpha in the herd/pack and will need a strong and fair trainer. Their most common medical issues are ligament, tendon, eye and hoof problems.
A fire animal is friendly and hyper excitable. They are excellent show animals and love to be loved and come alive in the show ring or in front of a crowd. They are inquisitive with strangers and like to call to their herd mates/bark and are always moving. A fire needs a smart, watchful trainer with a full bag to tricks to keep an easily distracted fire engaged. The Fire's most common medical complaints are shen disturbance (mental issues), gastric ulcers, cardiac problems and over heating.
An Earth animal is friendly but lazy and laid back. They enjoy sleeping and eating and are eager to please. They are good workers once they get going on a task but tend to be slow and are not motivated to be superstars. They are happy to follow along on a trail ride and don't need to be first in line. Earths can be stubborn and become crabby if they feel forced into performing. The earth is food motivated and a smart trainer will use treats and positive reinforcement. Earth animals suffer from muscle pain and gastrointestinal problems.
A Metal animal is very neat, quiet and confident. They are disciplined and know their job. They can not think outside the box and don't know why anyone would want to. They are in the middle of the pecking order and are happy to be turned out alone or be an only pet. They are a trainer's dream because once taught a task, will be happy to perform it the same way over and over, however they are very difficult to reschool to a new discipline. The Metal needs an organized, disciplined and determined ie Metal trainer, to be re-schooled but once trained is a school master. Their most common medical issues deal with the immune system and the lungs. They may have very sensitive skin, anhydrosis (lack the ability to sweat), and wind issues.
A Water animal tends to be fearful of strangers both human and other animals. They can kick out or bite when afraid. They are usually submissive to all other animals in the pack/herd. They need a patient, kind and confident trainer who can give them emotional support. Waters tend to suffer from diseases involving the kidneys,nerves, ears and bones.
Herbal Medicine is an essential part of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. In China, TCVM treatment consists of 30% acupuncture and 70% Chinese herbal medicine. Chinese herbal medicine has a rich history extending over several thousands of years and has proven to be an effective treatment modality.
Many formulas we use in practice today were developed many thousands of years ago. Some were developed for both animals and people, while others were developed specifically for animals. Formulas are used more commonly than individual herb so the actions of the herbs are balanced and the actions of one herb, say a warming herb, are not as damaging to the body because it is counter acted by a cooling herb. This balance can also be accomplished with diet ( see the Nutritional consult page)
All our herbal formulas come from Jing Tang and we can guarantee their quality. There are no illegal or environmentally controversial substances in our herbal products ie (no ephedra or rhino horn).
Laser is an acronym for :
What is equine and canine rehab ? No, it is not a support group for animal hoarders. It is physical therapy for our animals. Physical rehabilitation's main goals are to reduce pain and bring the body back to its normal function. That is why Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care work so well together. Acupuncture restores the pain and brings the body back into balance and chiropractic mobilizes the joints and restores the body's normal functions. We can also use manual therapies like tui na (meridian massage), passive and active range of motion and exercise. We teach many of these exercises to the caretaker so you can become a partner in your pet's recovery.
Whether the injury is acute, like an accident or post op, or chronic like arthritis or compensation from an old injury or poor conformation, a solid rehabilitation plan is the fastest way back to normal function and performance.
We all know that a weak core leads to lumbar pain, that is why Dr. Kyle sends his human patients home with core stabilization exercises and yoga moves. We design exercise programs for dogs and horses to help them develop these muscles too. For horses, the exercises can be done under saddle or in hand. For dogs, we do positional exercises and even use tiny cavalettis for strength and paw awareness. One big difference in core strengthening in animals is...they get to eat treats during exercise ! Think about that next time you are doing crunches.
People ask me, does my animal need rehab ? Well in a way yes, all animals need a baseline amount of exercise and a healthy diet, just like people to stay healthy well into their golden years. Many diseases are caused by a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, diabetes, tendon injuries because they lack the muscle to protect themselves in a stumble, even general stiffness or a poor gait. Did your older horse go from an 8 mover to a 6 ? Does your old lab not want to jump in the truck anymore ? Maybe its not just that he is old. Maybe he needs some help to keep his joints moving and muscles firing so you can keep enjoying the company of your best pal.
Most athletes , including animal athletes, are constantly dealing with bio-mechanical stressors to our spine, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. In some cases this may increase our susceptibility to injury. Chiropractic care and Acupuncture may help to dramatically improve performance, improve health and decrease the likelihood for injury.
Based on hundreds of years of combined existence, Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture are still maintained as two of the largest drug-less and non-surgical healing professions in the world!! Chiropractic and Acupuncture’s holistic approach to health and wellness is centered around the body's ability to self restore and heal. The practice of Chiropractic and Acupuncture focuses on the relationship between the structure and the function of the body and how that relationship affects health.
Archeologists determined that Neolithic man, 8000 years ago used a primitive type of acupuncture tool called the bian-shi. It is a pyramidal shaped stone used to lance boils and stimulate certain points on the body to relieve pain. Later a sharp piece of bone was used for the same purpose and during the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC to 1100 BC), the metal acupuncture needle was invented. As they tracked their clinical results, they discovered acupoints with similar functions formed a line on the body and the sensation of the de - Qi would follow a certain pathway...a meridian or Jing-Luo.
There are 12 paired regular channels that relate to the organs and 8 extraordinary channels, 2 of which follow the midline. The Governing vessel on the dorsal midline and Conception vessel on the ventral midline. There are also collateral and divergent channels that are smaller branches of the major meridians that link the organs and meridians to one and other to form an intricately connected pathway throughout the body.
I use 3 kinds of acupuncture in my practice : dry needle, electro and aqua acupuncture. Dry needle is simple insertion of small acupuncture needles. During electro acupuncture, the needles are connected to a battery powered stimulator to deliver a painless low voltage current to the meridian. For Aqua acupuncture, I inject a small volume of vit b 12 or glucosamine into the point. This causes a small blister and gives continual stimulation over a few days.
Practices Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine in Sarasota, Florida