Equine Integrative Sports Medicine Service
Welcome to the Equine Integrative Sports Medicine Service at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. This service can determine what condition may be causing your horse’s poor athletic performance. This service is directed towards sports medicine and lameness and incorporates routine lameness work-ups, diagnostics and treatments in addition to complementary modalities including acupuncture, chiropractic, saddle fit, laser therapy and rehabilitation.
Clinical Activities and Procedures
The Equine Integrative Sports Medicine Service provides a wide variety of diagnostic and treatment procedures for equine athletes and horses that may benefit from an integrative approach to certain ailments. The Service is led by a board-certified equine specialist with extensive training in equine lameness and sports medicine, acupuncture and chiropractic. Cursory evaluations and follow-up treatments can be performed at local farms, boarding facilities and training centers. State-of-the art imaging and diagnostic techniques are performed at the VMTH and include digital radiology, ultrasound, nuclear scintigraphy, CT scan, MRI, treadmill evaluations and endoscopy.
Equine Sports Medicine
In-depth evaluations and diagnostics of horses with respiratory, cardiac, musculoskeletal, and metabolic causes of poor performance or exercise intolerance are performed in the Claire Giannini Hoffman Equine Athletic Performance Laboratory. This program features the collaboration of specialists throughout the VMTH in a state-of-the art facility equipped with two high-speed treadmills, a video motion analysis system, and advanced monitoring capabilities, including electrocardiogram, cardiac ultrasound, airway endoscopy and blood analysis.
Acupuncture and traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM) are offered at the VMTH as an adjunctive clinical service to inpatients and outpatients. Acupuncture and TCVM can easily be integrated into conventional diagnostic and treatment modalities to optimize clinical outcome.
Please see our Acupuncture FAQs page for more information on acupuncture treatments.
Chiropractic is offered at the VMTH as an adjunctive clinical service to inpatients and outpatients and can easily be integrated into conventional diagnostic and treatment modalities to optimize clinical outcome.
Please see our Chiropractic FAQs page for more information on chiropractic treatments.
Sarah le Jeune, DVM, DACVS, DECVS, DACVSMR, CVA, CertVetChiro
Chief of Service
Elizabeth Acutt, BVSc
Frequently Asked Questions
- What treatments are offered by the Equine Integrative Sports Medicine Service?
- Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) and Chiropractic are offered at the VMTH’s Large Animal Clinic as an adjunctive clinical service to inpatients and outpatients. Horses may be examined at the clinic or at their local barn. Acupuncture, TCVM and Chiropractic can easily be integrated into conventional diagnostic and treatment modalities to optimize clinical outcome and performance, particularly in musculoskeletal conditions.
- What does an exam/treatment entail?
- Dr. le Jeune will perform a thorough physical exam and go over the detailed history of the horse. She will palpate muscles for tension and scan the animal for pain along certain acupuncture points. Thereafter she will evaluate the horse for lameness and/or altered performance at all gaits, in hand and possibly under saddle. If an obvious lameness is identified, efforts will be made to identify the source of the lameness with diagnostic nerve blocks, followed by diagnostic imaging. If only a subtle gait abnormality or stiffness is noted Dr. le Jeune will proceed with a chiropractic examination and treatment, followed by acupuncture treatment, as needed.
- How long does an exam/treatment last?
- Typically, each session will take between 20–60 minutes. If a full lameness exam is needed, this may require several hours, depending on the complexity of the lameness.
- How many treatments are needed?
- The number of treatments depends on the nature, severity and duration of the problem. A single treatment may be enough for a very acute condition but generally 3–5 treatments are necessary to obtain results for chronic conditions. Some animals may need to be treated at regular intervals to prevent recurrence of degenerative conditions; this is particularly true for horses with back pain.
- How safe is acupuncture and chiropractic?
- These are very safe medical procedures when performed by a qualified veterinarian. Very few negative side effects have been reported in clinical cases.
- Does acupuncture or chiropractic hurt?
- Most animals tolerate this very well and progressively relax throughout the duration of the treatment. Typically, there is no need for sedation or heavy restraint.