Roxane Kirton
BVMS MSc MRCVS
Equine Veterinary Behaviourist
Equine Veterinary Acupuncturist

 
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About Me

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Roxane Kirton BVMS MSc (Clinical Animal Behaviour) MRCVS

 

I have always loved animals and I spent as much of my childhood as I could mucking around with ponies, owning and competing my own as well as grooming for a driving team.  

This early passion for animals led to me head off to Glasgow Vet School where I graduated in 2005 with a veterinary degree.

After graduation I spent just over a year in small animal veterinary practice before joining the charity sector as an equine vet.

Working primarily with horses and ponies from backgrounds of neglect and abuse fundamentally shaped my approach to delivering veterinary care. It really highlighted to me that behaviour and health are not separate entities and how important an integrated, holistic approach is. 

With this in mind I decided to expand my knowledge and skills in clinical equine behaviour by doing a Master's in Clinical Animal Behaviour at the University of Lincoln where I graduated with distinction in 2020. 

Many of the unwanted behaviours we see in animals, including horses, are related to physical problems, particularly painful conditions. They can often be complex cases to diagnose and treat which is how I developed an interest in acupuncture. I am very interested in improving the recognition and management of chronic pain and acupuncture can be a really effective tool which is why I completed the Western Veterinary Acupuncture Group acupuncture course.

The techniques and methods that I use and recommend are based on the latest research and scientific understanding. Continuing to develop my knowledge and skillset in this rapidly evolving field is something that I am very passionate about and I believe we owe it to our horses to do the best we can for them. 

In order to help me achieve these goals and to guarantee the standard of service I provide I am a member of several membership organisations, including:

Services

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Regions Covered

I am based in Norfolk and primarily cover East Anglia area. If you are outside this area but are interested in a consultation please feel free to give me a call and we can discuss your requirements. 

Equine Behaviour Consultations
All consultations are done under referral from your own vet. This is really important as physical problems often contribute to unwanted behaviours. 
 
The consultation process:
  1. Get in touch for a chat to see if I am the right person to help you and your horse. 
  2. Complete and return a behaviour history and behaviour vet referral form along with a copy of your horse's clinical history from your vets.
  3. Book a convenient date and time for a consultation.
  4. Consultation visits usually last at least 2 hours during which time I will find out more about the problems you are having, do a full evaluation of your horse's behaviour and answer any questions you may have.
  5. Following the consultation I will send you a full report including an individual behaviour modification and training plan. I will also send your vets a report so that they are up to date with the behaviour plan.
  6. Follow up support is available via email and phone for 3 months following the consultation. Training and behaviour modification often isn't simple and can take time but I'll be here to support you through it.
Price:
Consultation plus report - £250 + travel*
Follow up sessions (for the same issue) - £50 + travel* 
Equine Acupuncture Consultations

All consultations are done under referral from your vet. This is really important because they are the ones primarily responsible for your horse's health and wellbeing. They will also be the ones to establish the initial diagnosis and provide any other treatment and diagnostics that your horse might need in order to effectively manage a health problem so it is really important that we work closely together so your horse receives the best care possible.

The consultation process:
  1. Get in touch for a chat to see if I am the right person to help you and your horse. 
  2. Complete and return an acupuncture vet referral form along with a copy of your horse's clinical history from your vets.
  3. Book a convenient date and time for a consultation.
  4. The first consultation will normally be about an hour and involves palpation, assessment and needle placement. Following sessions are usually shorter and may only be 30 - 45 mins.
  5. An initial course of 4-6 treatments at weekly intervals is normally recommended after which the sessions can be usually be gradually spaced out to every 4-6 weeks.
  6. This may be enough for some conditions but for chronic issues, such as arthritis, treatment may need to be continued long term.

Price:

Initial consultation - £100 + travel*

Follow up consultations - £75 + travel*

Initial consult + 3 follow up session package - £300 + travel*

*Travel charged at 45p per mile from NR15

 
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Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the practice of inserting fine sterile needles into specific parts of the body for therapeutic purposes. 

There are two main approaches to acupuncture in the UK, Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture and Western Medical acupuncture. Western Medical acupuncture is the more widely practiced approach in veterinary medicine and the approach I use.

 

Traditional Chinese acupuncture is based on a traditional diagnosis, which varies significantly from western medicine diagnostic processes. The selection of acupuncture points is based on these traditional diagnoses which revolves around the philosophy of maintaining balance and the flow of Qi, life energy, in the meridians or channels throughout the body and organs. 

Western Medical acupuncture uses acupuncture following orthodox medical diagnosis and points are selected on neurophysiological principles and include needling of trigger points, tender and acupuncture points.

Who Can Perform Acupuncture on Animals?

In the UK performing acupuncture on animals is classed as an act of veterinary surgery so only registered veterinary surgeons (MRCVS) can perform acupuncture on animals.

How Does it Work?

Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system to release hormones and neurotransmitters, including the body’s own pain relieving chemicals, increasing local blood supply, relieving muscle spasms and modulating the immune system.

When Should Acupuncture be Used?

Acupuncture is not a replacement for conventional medicine but can be a really useful adjunct to assist in improving quality of life, optimising recovery from illness and injury and, as part of a multimodal treatment plan, can increase effectiveness or reduce reliance on other therapies. It is particularly helpful in cases of chronic or long term pain management.

It can be used in the treatment of conditions such as:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions - such as arthritis/lameness/back pain/laminitis

  • Respiratory conditions - such as equine asthma/allergic rhinitis

  • Skin conditions - including sweet itch and chronic wounds

  • Gastrointestinal conditions - such as low grade colic/diarrhoea

  • And others!

How Will Your Horse React?

The vast majority of horses are good responders and find the treatment relaxing however, there will be some that will either not tolerate the placement of needles, for example those that are very nervous or fearful of the vet, or may not find acupuncture beneficial, either because the condition is not responsive or the horse itself is not a good responder. 

Most of the time insertion of the needles is relatively painless and well tolerated, humans report sensations such as tingling, warmth and sometimes aching or numbness during deeper placement so it is likely that horses feel similar if not the same sensations. Direct placement of a needle into an active trigger point may cause a pain response as well as a local twitch and occasionally some localised swelling and patchy sweating. 

Each horse is an individual so response will be variable but many can be very relaxed and even sleepy by the end of the treatment. Because of this it is recommended to keep a close eye on them until they are completely back to normal and avoid exercise for 24-48 hours afterwards, particularly in the early stages of treatment.  

How do You Know if it Has Been Effective?

Following the treatment you may see a variety of responses including:

  1. No response. Obviously this is disappointing but in some horses and particularly in chronic conditions it may take several treatments before a response is apparent. If there has still been no response after 4 treatments then it is unlikely that acupuncture is going to help.

  2. Improvement following treatment. This will generally increase in magnitude and duration during the initial course of treatment with each additional treatment until a plateaux is reached, usually at about week 4-6. Ongoing treatment is then aimed at maintaining this plateau.

  3. Slight increase in stiffness or discomfort. It may mean that the intensity or duration of treatment has been a bit too much and should be reduced on the next treatment. This should only be transient but if it is severe or persists for more than a couple of days then veterinary advice should be sought.

 

Equine Behaviour

Unwanted behaviours are usually symptoms of an underlying issue. This may be a physical issue, such as pain, or it may be a management, training or situational problem.

It is really important that the root cause of the issue is correctly identified so that so that a targeted and effective plan can be put in place. This is important to help prevent recurrence of the issue and to prioritise the welfare of the horse. 

All the techniques I use are evidenced based and adhere to the principles of LIMA (Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive). 

The types of issues are commonly seen include:

 

Handling Issues: Leading, catching, tying up, leg handling, rugging, bathing/hosing, grooming, tacking up, biting when girthed, difficulties with the vet, farrier or being clipped, head shyness.

Anxieties: Separation related problems, nervousness, fear of objects, vehicles, places or other animals, fear of veterinary procedures including injections, the farrier or dentist.
Management and travel: Loading and transporting, crib-biting, weaving, box-walking, tongue-lolling, head bobbing, windsucking, etc.
Aggression: Towards humans, other horses or animals. 

Each horse is different and some problems will be complex and need significant time and retraining to resolve and others will be relatively simple, needing only small management changes. 

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Contact, Forms & Payment T&Cs

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CONTACT

Email: info@equinebehaviourvet.com
Tel: 07377 964926

Location: East Anglia, England

FORMS

Equine Behaviour History Form

Equine Behaviour Veterinary Referral Form

Equine Acupuncture Request Form

Equine Acupuncture Veterinary Referral Form

PAYMENT TERMS & CONDITIONS

Payment is by BACS (bank transfer) only. Details will be provided on the invoice which will be sent once booking is confirmed.

Payment must be complete at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled appointment otherwise the appointment will be cancelled with no compensation. 

Please note: 

Cancellations less than 72 hours prior to appointment will still incur a 50% charge (excluding travel) of the cost of the appointment.


Cancellations on the day of the appointment will still require full payment (excluding travel).

Occasionally Equine Behaviour Vet may need to alter appointment times or dates because of circumstances beyond our control. If this happens we will contact the client as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements. We will endeavour to reschedule the appointment and will only refund any fees already paid if this is not possible. In this instance we will not be liable for any costs the client may have incurred in preparation for the consultation.