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Open AccessArticle

Acupuncture Points of the Horse’s Distal Thoracic Limb: A Neuroanatomic Approach to the Transposition of Traditional Points

Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians Course, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80525, USA
Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, G205, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2012, 2(3), 455-471;
Received: 30 July 2012 / Revised: 31 August 2012 / Accepted: 10 September 2012 / Published: 17 September 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Combination of Western and Chinese Medicine in Veterinary Science)
Anatomy of the equine foot is not precisely analogous to anatomy of the human hand and foot. Thus acupuncture points transposed from human acupuncture maps may not be functionally similar in the equine digit. Veterinarians strive to select points based on what is currently known about the anatomy and physiology of the equine foot, despite the lack of research evidence to use as guidance. This paper discusses the anatomy and physiology of the horse’s foot and presents a neuroanatomically based modification of some traditional point locations including several newly proposed points. The paper also presents neuroanatomically based clinical suggestions for laminitis treatment.
Veterinary acupuncture charts were developed based on the concept of transpositional points whereby human acupuncture maps were adapted to animal anatomy. Transpositional acupuncture points have traditionally been placed in specific locations around the horse’s coronet and distal limb believed to be the closest approximation to the human distal limb points. Because the horse has a single digit and lacks several structures analogous to the human hand and foot, precisely transposing all of the human digital points is not anatomically possible. To date there is no published research on the effect of acupuncture treatment of the equine distal limb points. This paper presents a modified approach to equine distal limb point selection based on what is known from research on other species about the neuroanatomic method of acupuncture. A rationale is presented for modification of traditional equine ting points as well as additional points around the hoof and distal limb that do not appear in the standard textbooks of equine acupuncture. The anatomy and physiology of the equine foot likely to be affected by acupuncture are briefly reviewed. Modified neuroanatomic points are proposed that may be more accurate as transpositional points. As an example of clinical application, a neuroanatomic approach to acupuncture treatment of equine laminitis is presented. View Full-Text
Keywords: equine acupuncture; equine laminitis; equine neuroanatomy; veterinary medical acupuncture equine acupuncture; equine laminitis; equine neuroanatomy; veterinary medical acupuncture
MDPI and ACS Style

Lancaster, L.S.; Bowker, R.M. Acupuncture Points of the Horse’s Distal Thoracic Limb: A Neuroanatomic Approach to the Transposition of Traditional Points. Animals 2012, 2, 455-471.

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