Acupuncture has been used on animals for over 4000 years. Legend has it that veterinary acupuncture was discovered when lame horses used in battle were found to become sound after being hit by arrows at distinct points. In any event, there is evidence that Chinese âhorse priestsâ, the caretakers of the armyâs horses, practiced acupuncture during the Zang and Chow Dynasties around 2000-3000 BC. Numerous texts on veterinary acupuncture and old engravings of cows and horses, on which acupuncture points have been marked, are dated back to as early as 221 BC. During the Zhou dynasty (1122-770 BC), veterinary acupuncture was designated as a separate branch of traditional Chinese medicine.
The study of veterinary acupuncture had reached Europe by the 17th century. It gained popularity in the United States during the Nixon era with a special symposium entitled, "Acupuncture for the Veterinarian" held in the United States in 1974.