Fourth-year students on morning rounds in the large animal hospital last Friday had an opportunity to see acupuncture in action. Dr. Jacob Mecham was treating a horse with a paralyzed arytenoid cartilage in her larynx by placing acupuncture needles in her neck. Student Melissa Flora helped by reading a list of designated locations from a treatment protocol to Dr. Mecham as he moved around the horse carefully twirling the needles into place.
Students Sarah Tremper and Whitney Madigan managed the scope that Dr. Mecham had inserted through the horse’s nose to view the larynx on a screen. “What was really neat about it is that they were running the endoscope so we could visualize the larynx while the acupuncture was happening to look for any immediate changes,” says Flora.
The treatment protocol was the result of a study done by Dr. Shen Huisheng Xie of the Chi Institute where Dr. Mecham received his acupuncture training. Dr. Mecham recently completed 130 hours of lectures and labs, and passed a four-hour written and practical exam to become certified in veterinary acupuncture. “Acupuncture is a great integrative modality with western medicine,” says Mecham. “Western medicine has better diagnostic capabilities and can provide surgery when necessary. Acupuncture helps with quality of life and probably the biggest, widest use of it is helping with pain control.”
Flora is currently enrolled in acupuncture education at the Chi Institute so she appreciates the value of students being able to observe this treatment. “It’s great for students who aren’t strongly interested in complementary medicine to be exposed to it, because clients know about it and often have questions that we should be equipped to answer. It is much easier to talk about something when you have a basic understanding and have seen it done.”