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Contact:
Emily Harrison, DVM, CVA

Credentials E-mail: oboevet@gmail.com
Phone: 914-420-5420

Areas of coverage:
Westchester and Putnam counties in New York and western portions of Fairfield County in Connecticut.

Equine Services Offered

With the Horses With the Horses

Equine Acupuncture FAQs

Select the question below to reveal the answer
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is the root of traditional Chinese medicine and operates on the philosophy that bodily functions and athletic performance are dependent on the smooth flow of energy throughout the body. This energy is called Qi (pronounced “chee”) and it flows along discreet, well-described pathways called “meridians”. Qi must flow seamlessly in order for the body to stay healthy, pain-free and in balance. When Qi does become blocked, we recognize this as disease or injury. Acupuncture involves placing tiny needles at very specific locations along the meridians to stimulate the flow of energy and return the body to its properly balanced state. While thousands of years of evidence supports the efficacy of acupuncture, there is also extensive modern-day scientific research proving the merits of acupuncture in treating pain, inflammation, and dozens of illnesses and various hormonal disturbances.
What kinds of problems can be treated with acupuncture?
  • Arthritis
  • Laminitis
  • Tendon and ligament damage
  • Sore backs
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Cushings Disease and Equine Metabolic Syndrome
  • Heaves and other breathing problems
  • Navicular syndrome
  • Uveitis
  • Fertility problems
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Behavioral issues
  • Neurologic conditions
  • WTEE (we’ve tried everything else)
How do I know if my horse needs acupuncture?
Dr. Harrison will perform a painless, quick “scan” over your horse’s body during which she looks for reactivity at specific acupuncture points. Based on your horse’s pattern of reactivity, she may be able to help pinpoint a vague lameness or the source of your horse’s pain, illness or lameness. Treatment can then be appropriately tailored to your horse’s needs.
How much time should I allow for an appointment and what should I expect?
An average routine acupuncture treatment takes about 30 minutes. However, during the initial appointment, please allow one hour so that a detailed Chinese and Western medical history can be obtained. At the beginning of every appointment, Dr. Harrison will perform an acupuncture “scan” and a Chinese exam including tongue color/quality assessment, pulse evaluation and external body temperature review. This exam will help Dr. Harrison determine a Chinese diagnosis as well as choose the most beneficial and appropriate acupuncture points for your horse.
What will my horse experience during his acupuncture treatment?
Acupuncture is essentially a pain-free process and your horse will most likely enjoy the treatment experience. Your horse will become so relaxed that you may see him yawn or repeatedly lick his lips which is a sign that his “Qi” is moving. He may even fall asleep during the session. The needles that are used range from 0.5” inches to 3” long and anywhere from 10-30 needles are placed in a given session. When appropriate, the needles may be hooked up to an electro-acupuncture unit that conducts a low-level electric current through the needles. Horses generally love this and the electricity increases the effectiveness of the treatment while also prolonging the positive effects. Other techniques, including moxabustion and aqua-acupuncture, may also be used to enhance treatment.
When can I expect to see or feel a difference in my horse?

It is important to remember that acupuncture is a cumulative process and that one session builds on the previous session. When a horse is treated for an orthopedic condition—including arthritis, back pain, tendon/ligament problems or navicular syndrome—improvement is generally seen or felt after 3 treatments spaced about 1 week apart. That said, most riders notice an immediate positive response in their horse’s comfort under saddle. Internal medicine conditions being treated with acupuncture may require more treatments (7-9) before a response to therapy is noted.

When can I ride my horse again?
Generally speaking, you should plan give your horse the rest of the day off from work after his acupuncture treatment. Turnout, however, is fine. You can plan to resume riding the next day.
When is an herbal medication appropriate for my horse?
There is almost always an appropriate herbal medication to accompany your horse’s acupuncture treatment. Although not required, herbal medication can enhance the effects of the acupuncture treatment and extend the amount of the time between acupuncture treatments. In most instances, herbal medication is taken for a relatively short period of time (1-3 months). Equine herbal formulas come in a powder form that is administered as top-dressing. Most horses tolerate the herb well and eat it without a problem. It is important to note that the herbal formulas prescribed by Dr. Harrison are not the supplements you feed your horse. All herbal medications prescribed come from Jing Tang herbals, a highly regarded supplier and manufacturer of veterinary herbal formulas.
Do you treat goats, cows or other domestic farm animals?
Absolutely! Dr. Harrison has successfully treated goats and cows on the farm with acupuncture and welcomes the challenge of other farm animal patients. (Sorry emu breeders—quadrupedal mammal patients only!)
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Fecal Egg Counts and Targeted Deworming

Deworming concept Image
+ Introduction to Fecal Eggs Counts & Overview of Targeted Deworming

In years past, most of us were taught that deworming a horse using a series of rotating dewormers every 8 weeks was the best way to combat a horse’s intestinal parasites. For years, automatically deworming a horse six times per year, regardless of the horse’s parasite load, was the industry standard. However, over time, this rotational deworming has led to a serious problem whereby intestinal parasites have become resistant to the dewormers intended to kill them.

The consequences of over-deworming are serious. To date, there are only 3 main classes of dewormers and there are currently no new types of dewormers under development. This potential crisis has necessitated the development of a new deworming strategy—targeted deworming through fecal egg counts—that is now the industry standard. A fecal egg count (FEC) is a simple, non-invasive and inexpensive lab test that identifies the number of parasite eggs that a horse is “shedding” in its feces. As only 20% of horses are contributing 80% of parasite eggs in the environment, identifying these “high shedders” is key to managing parasite control.

Most horses will be classified as “low shedders” meaning they shed no parasite eggs or a very small number of parasite eggs per gram of manure. These low shedders will only need to dewormed twice a year. Biannual fecal egg counts (easily tied-in with spring and fall vaccines) will confirm that the dewormers are doing their job and that the horse’s intestinal worms have not developed resistance. Those horses falling into the moderate shedder category will need an extra deworming and fecal egg count in the summertime. Those few horses deemed “high shedders,” are the ones who will require the most frequent deworming to ensure that parasite load does not become too high.

It is the goal of Dr. Harrison and Visiting Veterinary Services to segue all horses from an automatic rotational deworming program to a targeted one using Fecal Egg Counts. As there can be numerous factors that influence a horse’s parasite burden, the frequency of fecal egg counts (and deworming) will be tailored to your horse’s individual needs. Broodmares, foals, and horses with unknown deworming histories will be given different recommendations. The cost of the Fecal Egg Counts is recovered when you consider that most horses will be dewormed much less frequently and much more effectively.

+ How do I get my horse’s Fecal Egg Count collected?
Your horse’s manure will be collected for a Fecal Egg Count when Dr. Harrison comes to your farm to start spring vaccines and Coggins. At this time, most horses will be at least 8-10 weeks post-January deworming, making it the ideal time to first assess his/her Fecal Egg Count. You can expedite the process by placing two manure balls per horse in a zip-locked bag and labeling it with your horse’s name, age and the collection date. Samples should be collected within less than 24 hours of Dr. Harrison’s arrival.
+ Who will keep track of my horse’s Fecal Egg Counts and deworming?
Dr. Harrison will collect and keep track of all Fecal Egg Count results. These results will be shared with you, the horse’s owner, as well as the manager/agent acting on your horse’s behalf. Dr. Harrison will work closely with your barn’s management to ensure that all horses receive the appropriate deworming at the right time.

Targeted Deworming in a Nutshell

 

Low Shedders

Moderate Shedders

High Shedders

January No deworming No deworming

oxibendazole

March Fecal Egg Count followed by ivermectin or moxidectin deworming Fecal Egg Count followed by ivermectin or moxidectin deworming Fecal Egg Count followed by ivermectin or moxidectin deworming
July No deworming pyrantel pamoate deworming followed by FEC 2 weeks later pyrantel pamoate deworming followed by FEC 2 weeks later.
September ivermectin or moxidectin plus praziquantel followed by FEC 2 weeks later ivermectin or moxidectin plus praziquantel followed by FEC 2 weeks later ivermectin or moxidectin plus praziquantel followed by FEC 2 weeks later

Have any questions?
Feel free to call or email Dr. Harrison.
Cell: 914-420-5420
Email: oboevet@gmail.com

Horse care and equipment

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Pre-purchase exams

Buying a new horse? Dr. Harrison strongly recommends a pre-purchase exam before you buy your new horse. A pre-purchase exam is the most thorough and comprehensive exam offered and generally takes several hours. During this exam, your potential new horse is examined head to tail for any pre-existing illnesses or lameness. After a standing exam, your horse will be evaluated at the walk, trot, and canter to check for soundness. "Flexion tests" on all four limbs are performed to look for joint pain and neurologic tests are performed as well. Depending on what is going to be asked of your horse, many riders elect to have pre-purchase x-rays taken of the horse as well. These screening films can help identify early arthritis, past injuries and help give a prognosis for future performance. Blood tests—looking for Lyme disease and Cushings disease, for example—may also be run at this time to ensure that the buyer has all the information at her fingertips as she decides whether or not to purchase the horse. A full written report is provided after the exam is completed.

Mesotherapy

Mesotherapy is a human treatment that originated in France about 30 years ago and has since made its way to the veterinary world in the United States where it is becoming increasingly popular. Back pain is a common complaint in the equine athlete. It is easy for back muscles to become sore from a primary problem (such as kissing spines) or from a secondary problem such as hind-end arthritis or poor saddle fit. Mesotherapy involves lines of multiple tiny superficial injections along the back (or neck) into the mesoderm—the middle layer of the skin. The cocktail of medications injected during mesotherapy (which may include steroids, lidocaine and several homeopathic medications) helps to block pain pathways and facilitate muscle relaxation. Mesotherapy can be an excellent stand-alone therapy but can also prove to be very beneficial in conjunction with acupuncture.

Vaccine Recommendations for Adult Horses

Core vaccines: These are vaccines that all horses living in the northeast should have regardless of age, use or exposure to other horses.

Disease Frequency of vaccination Comment
Tetanus Annually in the spring. Booster given only if horse receives penetrating injury. Booster given only if horse receives penetrating injury. Vaccine prevents the usually fatal anaerobic bacterial infection that causes rigid paralysis.
Rabies Annually in the spring. Vaccine prevents the fatal neurologic disease.
Eastern & Western Equine
Encephalitis (EEE/WEE)
Annually in the spring. Booster given if horse travels to areas where mosquitoes are prevalent year-round. Vaccine prevents the often-fatal neurologic disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes.
West Nile Virus (WNV) Bi-annually in the spring and fall. Vaccine prevents potentially life-threatening neurologic disease.

Risk-based vaccines: These vaccines are recommended based on the likelihood that your horse will be exposed to a given disease. Recommendations are based on your horse’s use, where he is boarded and to what population of horses he is exposed. Dr. Harrison will tailor a vaccine protocol to your horse’s individual needs.

Disease Frequency of vaccination Comment
Equine Herpesvirus
(Rhino)
Bi-annually in the spring and fall. Vaccine limits the severity of the respiratory and abortion-inducing form of the disease (not the neurologic form).
Any horse exposed to other horses should be vaccinated..
Equine Influenza
(Flu)
Bi-annually in the spring and fall. Vaccine prevents the extremely contagious virus that causes high fever, depression & respiratory signs.
Any horse exposed to other horses should be vaccinated.
Potomac Horse Fever
(PHF)
Bi-annually in the spring and early fall Vaccine reduces likelihood of potentially life-threatening complications (laminitis & diarrhea).
Spread by insects known to carry the organism in our geographic area.
Strangles Bi-annually in the spring and fall. Vaccine limits the severity of clinical signs (fever, abscessed lymph nodes) for this highly contagious disease.
Horses exposed to those leaving the property should be vaccinated.

Coggins test:

A Coggins test is a federally-regulated blood test to insure that your horse does not have Equine Infectious Anemia, a contagious and fatal blood disease of horses spread by mosquitoes. A Coggins test is generally run once annually although certain interstate and international travel may require more frequent testing. Visiting Veterinary Services uses GlobalVetLink, a computerized system that allows you access to your Coggins test whenever you need a copy. Three photographs of your horse will be taken when blood is pulled and then GlobalVetLink will automatically age him or her every year going forward. The following information is needed in order for a Coggins test to be run:

  • Show name (if applicable)
  • Barn name
  • Age
  • Breed
  • Color
  • Gender (mare, gelding, stallion)
  • Physical address where the horse is boarded
  • Address of the owner
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Chinese Herbs

Jing Tang Herbal Logo

Chinese herbal medicine is an important adjunct therapy to almost all acupuncture. Combinations of powerful natural ingredients can both enhance the effects of the acupuncture and maximize the Dok's Formulaamount of time that your animal can go between acupuncture treatments. The Chinese herbal formulas used by Dr. Harrison all come from Jing Tang Herbal, a state-of-the-art and closely regulated facility that produces high-quality veterinary herbal medicine. Through Jing Tang Herbal, Dr. Harrison has access to hundreds of herbal medicines. The herbal formula she selects for your animal depends on the animal’s Bian Zheng—the results of his/her Chinese physical exam.

Most herbal formulas are used for anywhere between 1 and 6 months. For an acute problem or HJorse Syrupinjury, your animal may only need a short course of herbal medicine. For more chronic problems, herbal therapy may be extended. The Chinese herbs come in powder form and many of the more commonly-used herbal medications also come in concentrated forms to ease administration. While goats, camelids and other ruminants can be safely given herbal medication, their unique form of digestion requires a MUCH higher dosage of the herb—this is often cost-prohibitive or impractical.

Some examples of commonly prescribed herbs:

  1. Body Sore (good for treating soft tissue injuries, back pain and musculoskeletal problems)
  2. Shen Calmer (good for calming anxious animals)
  3. Stasis Breaker (good for slowing tumor growth in stable animals)
  4. Hindquarter Weakness (good for stabilizing and promoting hind-end strength)
  5. Tendon and Ligament Formula (good for promoting healing of tendon/ligament injuries )
  6. External Wind (good for quieting down itchy skin)
  7. Hot Hoof II (good for treating laminitis in horses)
  8. Dok’s Formula (good for treating arthritis, chronic joint pain, hip dysplasia and degenerative joint disease)
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Visiting Veterinary Services, PLLC • PO Box 413 • Katonah, NY 10536 • 914-420-5420 • oboevet@gmail.com