Breeding season can mean a growth in acupuncture needle inventory for many horse reproduction specialists. Such veterinarians combine strategic insertion of tiny needles with Western veterinary techniques to address subfertility issues in mares–and even stallions. During a presentation at the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas, Rhonda Rathgeber, DVM, PhD, a partner at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, in Lexington, Ky., discussed using acupuncture to improve mare and stallion fertility.

"Integrating principles of Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine can provide the best treatment for equine reproductive disorders," Rathgeber said. "Acupuncture is used widely in human infertility clinics, and acupuncture for infertility cases has been cited in literature since 11 A.D."

Mare Infertility

"Acupuncture stimulates increased blood supply, relieves local pain, and relaxes muscles," Rathgeber explained. "Acupuncture also increases the immunity of local tissue by stimulating the large number of mast cells at each acupoint.

"All of these factors should facilitate the uterus to be healthier, reduce inflammation, and be more suitable for implantation (of an embryo as occurs in pregnancy)," she continued. "They should also help the uterus clear any post-breeding inflammation more readily."

Rathgeber explained that she has used acupuncture to treat a variety of reproductive issues in the mare including:

  • Anestrus (mares that aren’t cycling);
  • Cystic ovaries;console.log('scenario 2');