"I've had good results with some endo-metritis cases. Mares that had been bred numerous times without getting pregnant were
accumulating fluid following breeding. In spite of having been treated by Western medicine — lavaging the uterus, treated
with antibiotics, prostaglandin and oxytocin — they still were not getting pregnant," Hillman says. "When we added acupuncture
to those cases, several of them did become pregnant. It doesn't work 100 percent, though nothing does. I've had good luck
with a few of them doing that."
Dr. Shen Xie, DVM, PhD, MS, of the University of Florida Veterinary College, discusses the use of acupuncture and herbal medicines
to treat infertility and endometritis (Xie and Liu, 1997; Liu and Xie, 1999). The various infertility conditions treated are
pathological ovary and uterine disorders, including anestrus due to ovary quiescence and persistent corpus luteum, irregular
estrus, anovulatory follicles and silent estrus. Xie also commonly treats cases of endometritis with Chinese herbal medicine.
Though acupuncture can be used to treat reproductive problems in mares and stallions, the most-common patient is the older
mare, either barren or pregnant with painful severe arthritis, according to Chris Cahill, DVM in Lexington, Ky.
"If they don't feel good, they're expending energy to fight pain as opposed to focusing in their reproductive system," Cahill
He works on these mares in layers, first to alleviate pain, then to deal with reproductive deficiencies. Many of them will
be sore in the lower back, hips and hocks. With these older mares the purpose of the acupuncture is to increase the energy
to the lower back, the hip and waist area using the geriatric acupoints.
Once balanced and feeling good, he focuses on the patient's specific reproductive disorder, most commonly, a urine pooler
or chronically infected dirty mare. He uses acupuncture once they've been under lights for about six weeks, typically by the
middle of January when they start having the autumn cycle. Once in heat, when they're most receptive, he begins to work on
the reproductive points along with continued work with the geriatric points.
"In my hands, most horses can be treated by less than 10 needles, or as few as seven," Cahill says.
Points of consideration
He uses the same set of points whether he's treating the older mare or the mean filly on the racetrack that has hormonal upset.
Although with the young filly, there is a different technique because, "They're on fire," Cahill says.
With these racetrack fillies, acupuncture is used to reduce the energy. Cahill puts a needle in one of the points on the Bladder
Meridian point, which is associated with the kidney.
"In the mean filly, I'll use a 25-gauge needle, which will be grabbed and actually become hard to take out. Though this can
be very painful to the horse, you just have to continue to treat it regardless of the fact that they don't like it. You have
to get the energy away from there," he says. "For the older mare, putting the needle in is like putting it in a garbage can;
it falls right over. There is no energy there."
For the older mare, he uses these same points for stimulation.
"You want to bring energy to the area," he says.
Dr. Martha Rodgers, VMD, a certified acupuncturist in Lexington, Ky., has treated mares with fluid retention, either those
with a slightly atonic uterus, or chronically "dirty" mares, that commonly retained a lot of fluid. Rodgers treats such mares
with acupuncture, usually with a course of two or three treatments, using either electro-acupuncture (EA), which adds small
electrical impulses to the needles, or a combination of electro-acupuncture and moxibustion, a technique that involves the burning of mugwort above an acupoint
to facilitate healing.