Acupuncture has been used in animals for many thousands of years. The origins go back to ancient Chinese times and are recorded in Chinese history.

In the Western World little was done until more recent times when Oswald Kothbauer began experimenting with treatment of cattle in Austria, and Erwin Westermayer with horses in Germany.

In the nineteen seventies, a strong interest by Richard Glassberg, Grady Young, David Jagger and others, resulted initially in the formation of NAVA (National Association for Veterinary defunct) and more recently in the formation of IVAS, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, based in the USA.

Initially established for the encouragement of the study and dissemination of knowledge of acupuncture as it applies to ALL domestic animals, IVAS grew to become a revenue-producing and thus a political entity with a predominantly US-focus.

Individual countries, led by Australia soon formed their own associations. Indeed there is now an American association. the AAVA. IVAS has retreated to the role of an umbrella organisation.

Acupuncture, has it's roots in a peasant society and accordingly the methods evolved for treatments are simple and well within the grasp of the lay-person. In animal medicine as well as human medicine there are many lay-practitioners who practice the art, often with astounding results.


Western Scientists are still undecided how it works, although they agree that it does.

According to the Chinese, when an animal is healthy, there is a circulation of energy, life force, or "chi" along well defined channels on the skin called MERIDIANS.

The meridians are connected to internal organs, muscular and joint structures, and the nervous system.

ACUPUNCTURE POINTS, which lie on the meridians are areas of the skin, (which can be shown to exist with modern electronic equipment), at which the flow of "chi" can be influenced. In disease states, there is an imbalance of, or interference with the flow of energy.

The acupuncturist can manipulate the energy flows, by stimulating the acupuncture points, thereby rectifying the disorder.


The advantage of acupuncture, particularly in the hands of greyhound trainers, is that a precise scientific diagnosis does not have to be made, although this can be helpful.

The acupuncture diagnosis revolves around knowing what
AREA or REGION or SYSTEM of the body contains the problem. The treatment requires a knowledge of:

What meridians pass through that area.

What points on that meridian should be stimulated.

What method of stimulation should be used.

What other SPECIAL POINTS on other meridians will have a beneficial effect on the problem.


Acupuncturists tend to talk in terms of "PROBLEMS".

For example the vastus muscle may have tears, sprains, strains, bruising, scars, atrophy, or myositis, but the acupuncturist would diagnose a "a thigh muscle problem".

He would then select points on the meridians that pass through the affected areas, and stimulate them with either needles or laser beam.

To this formula he would add points that are beneficial for muscles in general, thigh
muscles in particular, and if inflammation or infection is present, special points for those conditions.

Most muscular conditions will respond with about 3 treatments 3 days apart.

A shoulder joint problem would be treated in the same way, firstly with points on the meridians that pass through the shoulder joint, then special points for joints in general, then special points for any known special disorder for example a sprained ligament.

For internal organs a similar approach is made. For example, inflammation of liver, as in hepatitis, one would choose points on the meridians that are connected to liver, and special points that influence the liver, and special points for infection and inflammation.

NOTE: These treatments are completely drug-free, and therefore do not infringe the rules of racing with respect to the administration of drugs.

PERFORMANCE: Acupuncture is now widely used to influence the performance of a dog indirectly.

It is not advisable to use an acupuncture treatment 48 to 60 hours before a race, because any treatment will cause a sedating effect as the healing process is activated.

This is followed 48 hours or so later by a bounce-back effect of increased vigour, vitality, and a feeling of well being.


The laser beam has revolutionized the practice of acupuncture in animals for several reasons.

(1) It avoids the slight discomfort to the animal of inserting the stainless steel needles. ie: it is painless.

(2) The operator does not have to become skilled in needle insertion techniques.

(3) The treatment with the special Helium-Neon Laser is safe to tissue. The He-Ne laser hs now been superceded by many purpose built animal therapeutic lasers

(4) It can not introduce infection.

(5) It is generally less time consuming than a needling treatment which takes about 20 minutes.

(6) Lasers can be used to stimulate acupuncture points using about 20 seconds per point.

In addition, lasers can be used directly on sore or diseased tissue in much the same way as an ultra-sonic machine.

The mode of action of laser beams is, however, different. Whereas an ultra-sonic machine uses sound energy, and it's thermal effect, to increase blood supply to the affected area, the laser uses light energy to exert a photo-chemical action at the cellular level of the tissue.

Diseased tissue cells have been shown to have a reduced or zero level of mitogenic radiation. Normal cells emit a measurable level of radiation which stimulates adjacent cells to divide, in the normal process of regeneration and healing. Laser light stimulates abnormal tissue to activate this normal inter-cellular radiation, and thus the normal healing process to start again. It has not been shown to cause abnormal cellular growth or cancer.

Consequently, laser beams are of extreme benefit to racing greyhounds and thoroughbreds, enabling them to be kept racing without the use of drugs. Apart from speed healing of muscle injuries, lasers are used for diminishing scar tissue within muscles and on the skin, revitalising sore and worn joints, chronic and acute ligament and tendon injuries, slow-healing wounds of any sort, chronic infections and ulcerated areas of skin and mucus membranes.

Beauticians have been quick to see the value of lasers in their work. Around the world, many hundreds of beauty therapists are using the very same laser beams to stimulate regenerative processes in their clients' faces. They are producing more youthful faces by elimination of wrinkles, saggy flesh and acne.


How to find individual acupuncture points in the dog or horse

To find an individual point for a dog or horse, firstly select either….

FIND a Dog Point
FIND a horse Point

on the navigation pane. This will lead to a button list of meridians, or other category of available points. Select the appropriate button which will lead to a list of points available for review. Clicking on the appropriate button will then take you to an in depth discussion of the location of the particular point.

NOTE: There are hundreds of possible points mentioned in the literature. However, for the practitioner, it is not necessary to be able to find every point ever mentioned. For practical purposes, if you can find all the points shown in this app then you will be well equipped to treat the vast majority of animal conditions that you will see in everyday practice.

How to treat a dog or horse for specific injuries, diseases, or conditions

A basic acupuncture treatment is just a matter of finding the points listed in this app and treating them as per instructions.

In general, if no special instructions are given, then the use of plain needles, inserted for 20 minutes, is implied. Where other instructions are given they should be followed.

To find the required condition for your patient, firstly click on
TREAT DOG or HORSE on the navigation pane, and click the required species. This will take you to the MENU of CONDITIONS that are known to beneficially affect your patient.
Then click on the required condition, examine the material and if required follow the links to see more in depth discussion about particular point locations.

Point finders are useful tools to help the beginner, but you will soon find that as you gain experience, you will dispense with their use. For this reason it is better to purchase a combined point-finder and electrical stimulator should you want to use electro-acupuncture.

When you have located the point to your satisfaction, proceed to stimulate it in the appropriate manner.

Points are treated bilaterally, in all cases where there are paired meridians, unless otherwise stated.

ELECTO-ACUPUNCTURE is used specifically in some formulae. It can also be tried in other cases where plain needles do not seem to be working. If instructions are given they should be followed. Otherwise, general instructions for usage are as follows:-

For acute conditions such as infections or fresh injuries, a
SEDATING treatment should be used. This involves using high frequency pulsations (100 Hz +) for 20 minutes.

In chronic or non-acute conditions use a
TONIFYING treatment of low frequency (2 - 5 Hz) for a short time (5 - 8 minutes). A tonifying treatment should be of greater intensity than a sedating treatment. ie: "less comfortable".

The technique is to connect up pairs of needles, by alligator clips, to each circuit of the machine, select the frequency, turn on, adjust the intensity to the comfort of the patient, and then wait the prescribed time.
As the patient becomes accustomed to it, the intensity can be adjusted.

NOTE: Some "authorities" will describe Tonifying & Sedating techniques which are the exact opposite of those described herein. Do not despair ..the study of acupuncture is littered with apparent inconsistencies such as this!

MOXIBUSTION involves the heat treatment of the point with a burning stick of "MOXA". This is like an oversize cigar and provides heat with particular qualities necessary for successful acupuncture.

Just any form of heat will not do despite some "authorities" advocating the use of a soldering iron!!

LASER STIMULATION is the greatest breakthrough in centuries. Using laser you are able to treat painlessly, and without any fear of causing infection. As well as having an acupuncture tool for stimulating points, you also have a method of treating local injuries, much as you probably already do with ultra-sonic therapy, but with significant differences. You are causing a photo-chemical rather than a thermal effect, as claimed by some, and you are striking at the diseased cells themselves and initiating healing of tissues, rather than just improving the circulation to the area.

I do not advocate buying a laser until you have become competent and confidant in the use of the traditional needles.


A concept, relatively unknown to western medically-trained personnel, yet very well known to the "alternative" therapists, is the concept of cellulomes, or of cellulomes by some other name such as "Knotty Muscle" or "Knotted Tissue".

For some unknown reason, and usually as a result of trauma, areas of muscle tissue will go into spasm, and stay that way for months at a time, and long after the causative injury has resolved. The curious thing is that the cellulome develops in a site some distance removed from the injury.

A frequent example is the cellulome that develops in the triceps muscle subsequent to injury to the elbow joint. The cellulome may be felt as a firm nodule within the mass of muscle, varying in size from that of a pea up to that of a bantam egg.

Another example is found in the gluteal muscles of the hind-leg after injury lower down the leg. In the racing greyhound and in the human, cellulomes may often be found in the paravertebral muscles.


Another feature of cellulomes is the speed with which they can be resolved permanently.

Chiropractors will perform a deep and painful massage to these tissues until they "blow" or release.

Acupuncturists will insert needles into them, with or without stimulation until they release. This may take from a few seconds to 30 minutes. The result of a released cellulome is a return to normal function free from the inhibiting effect of the cellulome.

In a human who has not had acupuncture before, and who has a lifetime of accumulated cellulomes released at the first visit, there is a feeling of being six inches taller due to the combined slackening of many paravertebral cellulomes.

In the racing greyhound it is important to develop a technique of palpation which will detect and distinguish the cellulome from other forms of pathology.

The treatment of the cellulome is so quick and so simple, yet if untreated and not released the dog will not be able to perform up to his potential.