Tooth abscess and Sinus infection- Horse

Case Study on Horse with tooth abscess and Sinus infection by Anna Llambias

Manus is a 12 year old Connemara Gelding that had what the owner said started with a fungal infection in the upper respiratory tract about 12 months previously and didn’t clear up. She then consulted numerous Vets and had X-rays done which showed that he had an abscess around two molars in the upper left jaw. As the antibiotics did not clear up the infection or tooth abscess the owner was given the option by the vets to pull the teeth out and do invasive surgery into the nasal cavity to operate on the Sinus. She didn’t want to take this option as pulling the teeth would cause other problems for the horse in the future and the sinus operation would require a lengthy recovery period with no guarantee of success.

On speaking with the owner she informed me that Manus’s paddock mate had died shortly before the onset of this infection and he had been in a paddock on his own since. As grief is the emotion that causes abscesses in the body we put this down as the initial cause of the infection.

I started the Acupuncture treatment using the points BL17 and GB31 for the abscess and also used moxabustion. LI1 and Lu11 were used to clear fire and L15 was used for the face and to ease the chest. BL13 was used for the grief and SP21 to disperse any blockage in the lungs.
The owner reported that following the initial treatment Manus had a yellow mucous discharge from the nose. This was still present at the time of the second treatment. I suspected that this could have been the sinus infection trying to clear.

The second treatment was done within the same week and the same points were used.
The owner at this time also borrowed a paddock mate for Manus from her sister in law so he now has another horse with him and is no longer on his own. This will play a large part in Manus being able to heal.

Two more treatments were done the next week and the owner reported that the discharge from his nose had stopped.

Two more treatments were done on the third week and a yellow/green discharge from the nose had started again. Acupuncture points BL12, CV22, LI20 and Yintang for the nasal discharge and sinuses were added to the treatment.

On the fourth week the horse still had a nasal discharge with the owner reporting that he had a bad smell coming from his mouth that she had noticed when feeding him.
I used the same acupuncture points as last week.

Upon the second treatment of the fourth week the horse had a profuse and very smelly discharge from his left nostril only, which the owner said had been present for the last few days.
The smell was extremely offensive and lingering, unlike any previous discharge.
I treated the horse using the same points as the last treatment, using moxa on BL17 at each treatment.
I believe this was the tooth abscess erupting into the sinus cavity and starting to clear.

During the fifth week there was still some discharge from the nose but the offensive smell was no longer present. The owner at this time consulted with a Vet who put Manus on a course of antibiotics for a week.
The course of antibiotics was completed last week.

It is now the seventh week since Acupuncture treatment started and the owner reports that Manus is going well and was ridden for the first time this week after months of not being able to be ridden.

Treating scars with needles and moxa

Scars should be examined upon first treating the horse. Depending on the age and depth of a scar it may be causing a Qi blockage which can allow other weaknesses to form. Assess to see if scars are related to any current symptoms. The following methods help the immune system by stimulating self healing forces
Shallow needling (1mm or less) at end points of the scar will create a current and restore Qi flow. 

For old scars needling may be done along the course of and within the superficial area under the skin only. Has immediate results and should not be painful.
On occasion deeper needling may be used to restore blood flow and Qi to deeper areas.

If scarring is over a large area with thick tissue damage use moxa lightly by beginning at the boundary and working in a circular motion to the centre then work your way back out again. 20 minutes of this daily for 5-10 days should heal up any scarring.
*Do not use this method of any heat/inflammation is present.