Charlie Briggs MRCVS has trained in veterinary acupuncture and now offers acupuncture sessions for horses across Wiltshire.

Charlie has worked as an equine vet for the last 10 years. During that time, she developed a keen interest in orthopaedics and lameness issues. She has always been interested in Endurance Riding and so got used to dealing with lots of tight backs and muscles in those horses!! She is currently team vet for the Great Britain Endurance Development Squad.

Charlie suffered a serious head injury in 2009, with secondary whiplash of her neck. Despite being initially sceptical about acupuncture, she found she benefited greatly from it during her recovery process. As a result she trained in veterinary acupuncture with the aim to provide the same great results to her equine patients that she received when she was treated by her GP.

Equine Acupuncture Clinics

Charlie offers clinics at our equine unit at Wiltshire College, Lackham premises. The initial session takes 45-60 minutes and involves a full clinical assessment of your horse, detailed history taking and a session of acupuncture. Further sessions can then be booked as appropriate: – the usual regime being a course of 3 further sessions 7-10 days apart.

Sometimes your horse will need sedating (see below) to accept the acupuncture. This is typically the case in horses with very sore or tight muscles.

Questions & Answers

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been used in human medicine for thousands of years.  More recently, research has shown a scientific basis behind the process, which has put it firmly in place as a credible complementary therapy offered by GPs and human physiotherapists alike.

Acupuncture in animals is regarded as a veterinary procedure and, as such, can only be performed by qualified veterinary surgeons.

What does it involve?

It entails placing very fine needles into specific points or muscles on the body.  These needles trick the brain into producing a variety of naturally occurring chemicals, including potent painkillers such as endorphins.  As a result, we are able to achieve natural pain relief as well as other positive effects on the body, such as relaxation.

The procedure is not painful as the needles are very thin, but it can produce some discomfort- especially if the muscles are very tight and painful.  Sometimes a short-acting sedative is given to prevent the horse tensing up and so resisting the positive effects of acupuncture.  Its action is not affected, only enhanced by sedation as the horse is more relaxed and tolerates the procedure better.

Equine acupuncture can be used to treat a number of conditions in horses: including muscular spasm throughout the body, especially neck and spinal pain, chronic arthritic processes such as spavin and ringbone, as well as temporo-mandibular joint tension (jaw pain) which can causing schooling issues.

Equine acupuncture can also be used to loosen off tight muscles following moderate to severe physical exertion such as Endurance Riding and Eventing.

What does it cost?

At our Equine Unit in Lackham:

  • The initial session costs £90. This includes a full clinical examination and session of acupuncture (including the needles).
  • Follow-up sessions cost £50 per session.

At your yard:

  • The same price as above, but the visit fee is extra (contact our surgery for details).
  • If sedation is required, this is also extra.
  • Do remember our clients can take advantage of the “pay-on-the-day” discount of 5% off the treatment.

The cost of acupuncture can be claimed for on your insurance – but please do check your own individual policy prior to embarking on a course of acupuncture.

I’m not a client of the Hale Veterinary Group; can I still have acupuncture for my horse?

You do not have to be a client of the Hale Veterinary Group to allow your horse to benefit from acupuncture, as Charlie accepts horses on a referral basis via your own vet.

She will have a chat with your vet about your horse prior to the appointment and provide your vet with a report on the acupuncture carried out.  It is important to stress that Charlie is happy to carry out acupuncture on referral cases but any additional work will need to be completed by your own vet. Payments for referral patients will need to be made at the time of the treatment.