Veterinary – Acupuncture in Emergency Treatment

We would like to thank Dr. Uwe Petermann for permission to post this article.  More information is available through his website,

Dr. med vet Uwe Petermann, (DVM),  prakt Tierarzt, Akupunktur,  Germany              e mail:

emergency,  horse,  dog,  laser,  acupuncture


In this lecture my personal idea and my personal experience with acupuncture and laseracupuncture in animal- emergency- treatment will be explained.  Points to treat in the first moment in collapsed patients for life serving are demonstrated. These points are working in one or two seconds so that You have the idea to switch on the life light again or better to avoid the complete breakdown of  blood circulation (so called „switch on points“). Further on the  following points for stabilisation of nerval regulation are shown,  when circulation has started to work again. The energetically aspects of emergency acupuncture will be pointed out. Emergency treatment and its points for serious colic in horses are explained. Acupuncture treatment in other emergency cases as birth-problems, uterus torsion and stomach torsion will be shown.

All these points and how they work will be demonstrated in a lot of case studies. All points will be explained by traditional Chinese energy rules (midday-midnight, mother child etc.) and , if possible, parallel to this by western acknowledgement.

Key words
Acupuncture, emergency treatment, horse, dog


I would like to report to you today on the possibility to treat emergency cases in animals with acupuncture with a very good and sure success. In human medicine acupuncture was increasingly established in the last 15 years. However the European Academy for Acupuncture, in which the following methods for the human medicine have been compiled and checked, has nearly 14000 physicians as members. This actually shows very clearly that acupuncture cannot be dismissed any more as outsider medicine and the day will be foreseen, when the sceptics  become outsiders, because modern acupuncture as it is practised today has been freed from any mystical ideas by intensive, scientific research, and the essential principles of the way in which acupuncture works are now well understood. In addition, acupuncture does not stand still. It is being continuously developed further in order to treat successfully even those cases which have been resistant to therapy till now. This development is rather necessary, because diseases have changed not only in the last thousand years, but also in the last 20 years in the same way as our and our animals life has changed. In today life, men and also animal are exposed to complete other stress situations, different environment pollution, chemical and physical. We cannot ignore this even in acupuncture. Especially in emergency care acupuncture shows its outstanding effect, because acupuncture could be carried out immediately in every emergency case and the biophysical acupuncture effect works so quickly. With acupuncture we have not to wait for fetching a medicine, to put it in the syringe, to find a vessel for injection and have not to wait until this medicine will come to ist biochemical effect on special receptors of the vegetative nerve system.

Acupuncture in shock treatment

Shock is caused by often sudden dysregulation of the vegetative system. This may be  in centralisation phase with loss of blood and even more in allergic reaction or shock caused by stress- situation. What kind of treatment will help better in vegetative function regulation than a therapy that works directly with the help of the vegetative nerve system and has a depressing effect on it. This therapy of course is acupuncture. Normally every combination ofpoints that makes balance between Yin and Yang that means parasympatic and sympatic balance would help in such cases. But there are two points that make a very sudden global yin/yang balance, because they make a short circuit between the yang of the GV and the yin of the CV. These two points are GV26 and the tip of the tail point. Only one of them is enough to give the impulse to vegetative system to set regulation in motion again. And because setting a needle in it  will not last longer than e few seconds, I would do this first, before I start closing a serious bleeding wound. As next I give the point Ht  9 or Hs 9. My choice between this two points is determined by the RAC control. That point which gives the strongest reaction on the pulse gets the needle. These two points always show such a spontaneously reaction that You have the idea to switch on the life light again, so that I and perhaps other acupuncturists as well, call them „switch on- points“. The next most interesting points in connection with shock therapy are two pairs of points to find by midday- midnight rule. As we know by midday- midnight-rule also is to make balance of yin and yang, because always one yin- and one yang-meridian that have their energy- maximum with a difference of 12 hours are combined. So we have in the case of shock- situation two pairs: The first pair is Hs 6, very interesting for western physicians, it is the ear point of the Ganglion Stellatum, (Petermann U.  2001) and his partner St 40 (very interesting for western physicians as well, it is the ear- point of beta- blocker). And here we can see how close in reality is western to eastern medicine and vice versa. The 2nd  point combination by midday- midnight- rule is Ht5 and Gb 37. These points I normally give more to prevent emergency cases in horses with bad heart conditions e.g. in chronic heart disease following myocarditis (see case- study 3). When we look for the mother- son- rule we find an indication for these two points as well. As gallbladder is the wooden yang partner of the liver and because wood is the mother of fire (heart is the yin- part of fire) with these points we can do many helpful things: first we make yin- yang balance from the hind part of the body  to the front part and second we make a very special yin-yang- balance because we give yang energy of the mother (wood) to the yin part of the child (fire). Another point, that will be discussed is the point Ht 3 sometimes called the „small tonification- point of the heart“. It is the Ho- point of its meridian and is the motoric heart point of the ear. At last the very simple shu -mo- technique will be described, because very often acute blockades of vertebras in the heart region can cause heart- emergency- situations because of acute vegetative heart- regulation- disturbance. These horses are characterised by extreme pain, extreme sweating and circulation- situation close to shock what occurs suddenly while riding (see case study 4). In these horses just following the „switch on-points“ I look  for vertebra- blockades. Normally there is one blockade in the neck and the second blockade in the thoracic region in the segment of Bl 14 or bl 15, the shu point of Hs and Ht- meridian. In shu- mo- technique these points are combined with the alarm-points, in this case CV 17 with Hs and CV 14 with the Ht. Now I will report some of a lot of these cases to show this reaction.

Case 1

A 17 year old andalusian mare had bee fallen backwards in a small earth- hole, 2m deep with an area of 1 square metre. So for us only the front legs where reachable. The horse was hidden there like a cork in a bottle for nearly 3 hours, before we could pull it out of the hole with a rope  and a front loader of a tractor. When we had finished this operation the horse laid in side position on the floor like dead, without any reaction, the pulse was hardly to touch with a very high pulse rate.  So this horse seemed to be really in shock and all our work seemed to have failed. So I gave as first the „switch on- points“. No more than two seconds after inserting the needles the horse opened his eyes, rises his neck, set himself into chest position and seamed to ask: “what’s the matter?“ A few seconds later it stood up and seamed to be in a relative normal condition. But the pulse rate was still a little bit high (60/min) and the quality of the pulse was still a little bit slippery. Because the heart- meridian was already treated with Ht 9 I looked to regulate the Hs- meridian with Hs 6 and St 40 as described above. After this the horse was quite all right and needed no further treatment.


A veterinary -acupuncture- colleague came to me with his horse because of long standing therapy- resistant very poor performance. The horse couldn’t trot more than 20 m and was not able to gallop, because it was to weak. All western treatment with several diagnoses and several treatments and even acupuncture done by his owner had had no success. It had a very strong holsystolic heart noise with punctum maximum over the aortic cardiac valve. There was a lot of extrasystolic heart beats, which didn’t disappear after a little time of work. So this horse had vegetative heart- function disease. With help of the controlled ear- acupuncture I found that there must be a disturbing focus in the left front- hoof- region (Petermann U.   1989). Now looking at the left front- hoof I found a little scar, from that the owner didn’t tell me something before, exactly on the point Ht9. The following points where treated: Ht 9 (as a disturbing- focus- scar) with laserfrequency  A from Nogier, Hs 6 and partner St 40 with frequency C from Nogier. Because in disturbing- focus always yin- energy of the kidney is weak, always give the  source point with refer to the inheritance energy. So the point Ki 3 is the point for inheritance in inheritance (because kidney is source of inheritance and the source point of every meridian is the inheritance point of its meridian) that means one of the most important points for giving inheritance- energy to the body. And this energy You need to heal disturbing focus. The next point was the 3H5. It is the Point of the Thymus on the ear. This point is known as a good anti- infection- point (in the problem of disturbing focus even without his partner in midday- midnight rule, Sp4) and he is very effective in setting demarcation of tissue in motion again, what has not finished while wound- healing in disturbing- focus. At last I gave shu- mo- points Bl 15 and CV 14 for balance of yin and yang in the heart. After this treatment immediately there was no more heart noise and no more extrasystolic heart beats. Four treatments, one a week, in the same way where carried out by the owner of the horse and it was in a very good condition again for till now 3 years.

Case 3

A 7 year old hannoveranian gelding, a jumping- horse, came to me with a very poor performance as well for nearly 2 years following a long standing infection of the upper respiratory tract. He was examined and treated in several good qualified clinics. First diagnosis was COPD and second diagnosis was interstitial pneumonia. In my examination I heard nothing on the lung. Bronchoskopy showed no sign of lung disease. But the heart beat was very strong with a loud heart- sound like a drum. Also there was to hear a systolic  heart noise with punctum maximum on the aortic valve. When we tried to do a capacity- test it was hardly possible to get him to trot or to gallop for half a round in the round pen. After 5 minutes he began to stumble so that we had to stop the capacity -test. The heart- rate was 160/min and the breathing- rate was 140/min so that I worried about his life, because I had not any needle with me. So we walked slowly back to the stable. Arriving there 5 minutes later, breathing- rate had already decreased to 28/min but heart-rate was still at 130/min. My diagnosis in this horse was myocaditis following an herpes- infection. Two disturbing- foci where found by controlled acupuncture. The first was the canine dent in the mandible. This tooth is known in controlled acupuncture to make disturbance on the point Hs6. A scar big like a plum near liv 7 was also playing a fundamental role in the development of this heart- disease. I think this scar had hindered the liver as the mother of the children „heart“ and „heart- sexuality“ to play the role of optimal nutrition. Because in this horse deep structures already had been affected, I selected  the following points for acupuncture treatment. Hs6 (ganglion stellatum) and St 40 (beta blocker) and Ht5 and Gb 37 (midday- midnight- rule). These points where changed from treatment to treatment with the following points. Bl 14 and 15 as shu-points and CV 14 and 17 as the mo-points. Here is to mention, that these points have different localisations in different academies. For me there is not any doubt, that Bl13, the shu- point of the lung, is not on the cartilage of the scapula, but one segment behind this, where normally Bl 14 is said to be (Westermayer, 1997). Bl 14 is in the free segment before Bl 15. The next point is Ht 3 as the motoric  heart point. The disturbing- foci, the tooth and the scar, where treated with laser (frequency A from Nogier) accompanied by  3H5 and Ki3 as obligate points in disturbing- focus- treatment as explained above. While lasering the big scar (without touching the skin) the horse always became very exited in the first seconds of treatment but than growing relaxation could be noticed. After 7 treatments (2 weeks) we started a second capacity- test. When we took the horse out of the stable it started „dancing on the street“. So we put the gelding in the round pen. There immediately he started to gallop, kicking out his hind- limbs and demonstrated pure joy of life. After 10 minutes of trotting, galloping and kicking out, we stopped him for heart-examination. The breathing- rate was 60/min and the heart- rate was 80/min. There was no more pathological heart- sound or noise. Rest- breathing- and heart- rate was achieved after 15 minutes. After this test he got 4 further treatments within 10 days and was discharged to his home for normal training.

Case 4

I was called for an emergency case to a nearby stable, where a horse had got a circulation- collapse while riding. This 12 years old westfalian mare was a successful jumping- horse some years ago until it was kept out of tournament- sport because of serious back- problems. Unfortunately this horse didn’t come to acupuncture with this problem. When I came, the horse stood there like a sawhorse sweating so strong, that the water run from the body. The pulse was hardly to feel and the horse seamed to collapse every moment. The “switch on“- points didn’t work, what made me really wonder, because I seldom had seen this before. Than I realised that the sweating was particularly strong in a region of the neck and behind the scapula in the Bl 14 and Bl 15 region. When I wanted to touch these areas the horse became extremely anxious. So I looked with laser- frequency C from Nogier, the frequency for vertebra blockades for RAC- reactions. I found a blockade in C4/C5 on the right side and in Th9/Th10 on the left side. Because of the irritation of the stellate ganglion through the neck- blockade I gave Hs6 (without his partner). After lasering these three points there was seen an obviously relaxation in the horse. For this day the treatment was completed by making pain reduction and muscle- relaxation by Si3 and his cardinal-point- partner Bl 62 and Bl 10-1 (C1/C2) for relaxation of the spinal column and Li4 as the masterpoint of pain. Immediately after this treatment, all points where treated by laser, not by needles, the horse started to walk normally, there was not any sign of pain in the former untouchable points even in strong pressure and the horse was dried  within 20 minutes of walking. In this case the chronic back- pain was caused by the vertebra- blockades. While riding on this day probably the blockade of the neck had worsened and had irritated the stellate ganglion (Hs6). This was followed by a worsening of the thoracic blockade which was followed by a vegetative irritation of the heart function, which leaded to the dramatic acute situation. In this case not the complete yin and yang was in disharmony, that the „switch on“- points could do their work.  The main pathological problem was the local disturbance by the irritated stellate ganglion and the irritated vegetative heart- function by the radicular nerve- irritation in the heart segment, just as it is described by Bergsmann and Eder (1977) in the segment regulatory complex. After 4 further treatments the horse had no more back-pain and worked so well, so that the owner decided to start again with training for jumping- competition after more than 3 years of intermission.

Emergency- Acupuncture in dramatic colic of the horses

Here is not meant „normal“ constipation colic or „normal“  spastic colic. Here is meant the really dramatic form of colic as we see it in invagination and dislocation of the small intestine and in torsion of the of the large intestine and in ileum constipation etc.. In these cases there always is a secondary overloading of the stomach. The horses are sweating very strong and want to throw themselves down because of extreme pain. First I will say what in my opinion we should never do. In the case of secondary overloading of the stomach, we never should treat stomach points. This is very different to primary overloading of the stomach. First I normally set the control to the blood circulation (depending on every special case) with Ht 5 and his partner in the midday- midnight rule, Gb37. I don’t use HS 6 and his partner St 40, because of it is a stomach point what clears mucous from the stomach, but the way for the mucous is constipated. So by treating these points I would set regulation in motion whta runs against a wall, what is not to overcome. In the energy flowing concept of midday- midnight- rule there is no one way route between this partners as between lo-point and source point. In midday- midnight rule energy- flow is possible in both directions. So You cant make any mistake in acute circulation -problems. In colic circulation problems it will work better than Ht9 or Hs9. As next, or when circulation is not the mean problem in this moment, at first, You can treat Li11 as the ho-point of the Li musculature and also the tonification point of the large intestine. St 37 as a 2nd ho-point of the Li (of the Li mucous membrane) I would not give as I told before. The next important point is Si 3 the spasmolytic masterpoint and cardinal point and tonification- point of Si. In the ear- acupuncture this point is identical with the point of the plexus coeliacus (Bahr 1997). Also in this case You see how close is western to eastern idea. Si 8 the ho point and sedation-point of Si is also indicated in colic but only in enteritis and not in spastic colic. The next important point is the Li4 the masterpoint of pain (and the thalamus-point of the ear acupuncture) and the source point of the Li . If You want, You can give his partner Lu7 the lo-point as well to get more energy from lung into large intestine meridian. At last I normally make shu- mo technique with Bl 25 (Li) and Bl 27 (Si) and CV 3 as the alarm-point of gastrointestinal part of 3Heater. In some special cases I give Liv 3 as the source- point and spasmolytic point when this point is found as an active point by RAC/VAS control. When You find big oedema in the intestine by rectal investigation it is good to give Bl 40, the anti- histaminic point. If You like and if You have time enough, You can give an intravenous infusion with plasma- expander  or electrolytes now. Of course You should also make an irrigation  of the stomach, when You have set Your needles or have lasered Your acupuncture points. When these treatments are carried out, I let the horse walk and when even possible also go a little bit by trot for 5 minutes. When after this time no peristaltic sounds are to hear again, I send the horse to another clinic for operation. But in that cases, when haemoragic infarcation  of the intestine had not already lead to death of parts of the intestine this treatment will work very well and peristaltic grows up from minute to minute. Now I will tell about a very spectacular case of acupuncture colic treatment.  A 7 year old hannoveranian gelding had a torsio coli with very swollen and overfilled small intestine and a secondary overloading of the stomach. The horse was sweating so serious that water dropped from his hair. Heart- rate was 72/min, scleral blood- vessels where strong injected and there was not any sound to hear by stethoscope investigation in the intestine. Because the horse always tried to throw itself down it was very difficult to irrigate the stomach, but at last I was able to irrigate about 30 litres of ingests from the stomach. But it had no positive effect to the horse. After this I treated the points described above with controlled laseracupuncture. Two or three minutes after end of the treatment suddenly a very loud noise was to hear in the intestine without stethoscope (where some minutes before it was absolutely quiet). From this moment the horse didn’t show any further sign of pain. The function of the intestine was normal again. Pulse and circulation was normal 40/min and the horse became dry in a few minutes.

Stomach torsion of the dog

Very different to the secondary overloading of the stomach in horses are the problems in stomach torsion of the dogs. Here of course we can treat and must treat stomach points. First of all there are the shu-mo- points of the stomach, what will already be enough treatment for some cases: Bl 21 and CV 12, the masterpoint of the stomach. Because in this problem there is „heat“ in the stomach and we have to remove mucous from it we can treat St 40. It is the lo-point and it removes the mucous to Sp 3, the source- point of the Spleen. St 36 is the next important point, not only because it is the ho- point of St, but also because in the classic correspondence it is the earth-point of the „earth“-meridian stomach and makes so a very intensive regulation on it. At last one can give Si 3 as the masterpoint against spasms.

Birth- emergencies

In all kinds of birth- problems in all kinds of animals acupuncture improves as very effective and often can avoid emergency- operation to develop the fruit. If there is lost of birth pains or Uterus spasm or Uterus torsion, acupuncture makes a good regulation in the procedure of birth. The only contraindication of acupuncture is  an absolute to big fruit, because even with acupuncture You can’t get the fruit smaller. In a second case, when there is lost of Calcium e.g. in cows it is better to make a Calcium – infusion before You start with acupuncture. While getting the Calcium- infusion sometimes cows like to do their final deep breath, even when You give the infusion very slowly. Here the „switch on“- points will do their good work again. They can be combined with Bl 18, Bl 23, the shu-points of liver and kidney and liv 13. Liv 13 is known as the hypophysis- point and the ACTH-point of the earacupuncture and so ist the best working point in metabolic disorders in special in this triangle- combination. But now back to the birth- problems. In earacupuncture there are 3 body- points in the area of the Uterus. These are Bl 31, Sp 6 and CV 7. In uterus spasm  on one side Si3 as the spasmolytic masterpoint and on the other hand the everywhere to find St 40, because he is the beta-receptor-point and these receptors are regulating the uterus- contraction. In this case You obviously can see, how acupuncture is regulating in the right direction. When beta- blocker- operation will be achieved and when beta- mimetic operation will be achieved, You can use the same point, the point for beta- receptor- regulation, the St 40. The body will lead the energy in the right direction. There will be many other points in special cases of birth- problems but in my own experience these points are working very good. At last in this connection lets speak about neonatal asphyxia. What is the leading- point in this problem? Of course St 40 as well! He moves the mucous out of the lung (traditional reason) or he makes as the beta- mimetic -point the dilatation of the bronchioli, that means he reduces the bronchiospasm. After this point, You can give the shu- point of the lung and the diaphragm  Bl 13 and Bl 17 and the respiratory alarmpoint of the 3 heater, CV17.


As pointed out acupuncture is a very successful therapy in so many cases of emergency, because it works very impressive, very quickly and as one could see in the example with the St 40 as beta- blocker and beta- mimetic- point, it works always in the right direction, that means  in that direction what the body needs in this moment. The next advantage of acupuncture treatment is, that we try to treat not only symptoms but we try to look for the reasons of the patient’s problems and treat them as well as the symptoms.


1  Ambron G., Petermann U., Werner L. (2001) Earacupuncture in Veterinary Medicine (Ohrakupunktur in der Veterinärmedizin) Sonntag-Verlag, Stuttgart, 37-39
2   Bergsmann, O. (1977 ) : Die biokybernetische Wirkung der Akupunktur im klinischen Versuch. Dtsch. Ztschr. f. Akup. 5, 131ff
3   Bahr, F. (1997)  Scriptum Systematik und Praktikum der wissenschaftlichen  Akupunktur  für weit Fortgeschrittene und Experten. Eigenverlag, München 1997
4   Petermann U. (1989) Die Ohrlokalisationen der Gelenke beim Pferd.  Akupunkturarzt/Aurikulotherapeut 7-8/1989/167
5   Westermayer, E. (1993)   Lehrbuch der Veterinärakupunktur. Bd. 2:         Akupunktur des Pferdes., Haug, Heidelberg