To assess the therapeutic efficacy of acupuncture in combination with Chinese herbs for treatment of horses affected with anhidrosis.
44 horses affected with anhidrosis for up to 3 years’ duration were enrolled. Inclusion required both compatible clinical signs and results of a quantitative intradermal terbutaline sweat test.
Study horses were randomly allocated into 2 groups. Group 1 (n = 19) was treated with daily Chinese herbs and 4 weekly acupuncture sessions. Group 2 (n = 25) was given daily hay powder as a placebo and 4 weekly sham acupuncture sessions. Horses were tested by quantitative intradermal terbutaline sweat test within 2 days after treatment completion and again 4 weeks following treatment.
Terbutaline-induced sweat responses (mg) were not different between groups within 2 days and 4 weeks after treatment. Two days after treatment, ratios of sweat responses (compared to baseline) were higher (P < .05) in the treatment group compared to the placebo group at terbutaline concentrations of 1.0, 100, and 1,000 µg/mL. The number of horses responding to treatment was higher in the treatment group (5/19 [26%]), compared to horses in the placebo group (1/25 [4%]) for 1 of 5 terbutaline concentrations 2 days (10 µg/mL) or 4 weeks (0.1 µg/mL) after treatment.
Ratios of sweat responses were higher in treatment horses 2 days after treatment, compared to baseline, but not 4 weeks later. The efficacy of a traditional Chinese veterinary medicine protocol for anhidrosis treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs was low but higher in treated horses compared with placebo.