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Wrangling on the Range #152

Shelly hooves - Acupuncture



From "Northern Horse Review" - July 2005



"I'm looking for supplements to help my horse strengthen his
hooves. They are always quite brittle:'
- Shelley Sickle, Windsor, ON


Shelley Nyuli is with SciencePure Nutraceuticals; a Canadian
research and manufacturing company that produces natural health
and performance supplements.

There are many hoof supplements on the market today. Most
products do a good job at increasing the growth in length of the
hoof, however it takes a few other special ingredients to develop
a healthy hoof wall thickness, sole and frog.
Administering a consistent full vitamin and trace mineral
supplement, with methionine, biotin and at least 3,000 mg of MSM
daily will go a long ways in achieving a new, solid hoof in all
You have not mentioned what fitness or performance level your
horse is at - keep in mind that you can choose between
supplements that are specific for performance horses, older
horses, or maintenance animals only.
Horses with light to medium performance requirements can be given
supplements with added ingredients such as creative and
electrolytes, for the additional nutritional benefits.
You should also look for supplements with MSM - which is an
amazing total cell builder. Every cell in the body strengthens by
increasing membrane density. The hoof is one of the first to show
exactly what happens, by increasing in length. Your farrier will
be able to determine how long it will take to grow a whole new
dense hoof.
The hoof should grow at a rate of almost two inches per month and
with each new inch, the density of the walls and frog develop.
MSM will also cause the horse's coat to change colour a couple of
times before settling into deep rich tones. Manes and tails may
start to grow longer or thicker.
For hoof growth supplement you will need biotin, but you will
need to combine that with DL-methionine, vitamin C, magnesium and
certainly MSM to develop on a cellular level.

WHAT...did I see that right? 2 inches per MONTH...for hoof
growth, never heard or ever seen such a growth - Keith Hunt



"My yearling longeline prospect has been experiencing persistent
back pain and stiffness - my vet believes he strained a back
muscle out in his paddock and has recommended acupuncture. How
does it work, what is the recovery time and what sort of costs
can I expect?"
- M. Herst, BC


Silvia Lavallee BMR PT CHAP, AFCI, is a licensed physiotherapist,
certified in acupuncture. She has been trained in animal
rehabilitation by the Canadian Horse and Animal Physiotherapists
association. Currently she is works in conjunction with Dr. Lea
Stogdale at Aesops Veterinary Care in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific
points on the  body, to bring about healing and restore health.
It affects all major physiological systems by stimulating nerves,
relieving muscle spasm, decreasing inflammation, providing strong
pain relief, and promoting tissue healing. There is documented
evidence of its use dating back to the stone age and is still the
treatment of choice for many people across the globe.
In 1996, the American Veterinary Medical Association released a
statement indicating acupuncture was now considered an integral
part of veterinary medicine.
Scientific studies have proven that most acupuncture points on
the body have a dramatically reduced electrical resistance
compared to the surrounding skin. Stimulation of these points
produces pain killing endorphins and anti-inflammatory steroid
cortisol, plus, mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as
serotonin and norepinephrine. In response to acupuncture, damaged
cells will prompt a series of molecular events that result in the
activation of bradykinin (which is a vasodilator, meaning that it
increases blood flow). More blood to the area brings more cells
to repair tissues. This also helps bring in more mast cells to
release histamine and other vasodilators to helps fight

Acupuncture affects sensory receptors such as pain, temperature,
and pressure receptors. This produces circulating levels of ACTH,
again triggering the release of cortisol. This in turn increases
circulation, releases muscle spasms, stimulates nerves and the
body's immune system. Other chemicals released are opiods,
serotonin, cholinergic and andrenergic compounds (affecting
hormones). It stimulates cyclic AMP which leads to a release of
neurohormones from the adrenal gland - thereby increasing blood
flow and reducing inflammation by removing waste products. Some
endorphins are 10-100 times stronger than morphine.

There is an effect on pain-memory cells which otherwise may cause
the animal to exhibit symptoms even after the injury has healed.
Stimulating acupuncture points exerts influences on organs via
the autonomic nervous system. Neural impulses transmit through
neuronal synapses in the spinal cord which then stimulate nerves
regulating organ activity.

What does this mean to the horse? Acupuncture provides a strong
pain-relief response to any injury regardless of cause. With less
pain, there is less muscle spasm thus the mechanical strain on
involved joints and hypersensitive nerves is reduced. Most
importantly, with less spasm and increased circulation, recovery
time is shortened. A quicker return to activity means less chance
of deconditioning.

Acupuncture is useful for most acute and chronic conditions, and
is most commonly used for musculoskeletal problems. Needle
insertion is virtually painless, and there are almost no side
effects. Needles are usually left in for 20 minutes.
A horse's reaction during a treatment includes
passivity/relaxation/sleep, urination/defecation afterwards,
muscle relaxation, tail erection, drawing in of flanks, yawning,
and general calmness. Acute cases usually improve with three or
four treatments done at weekly intervals. Chronic cases may take
months of treatment. 

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