Current management procedures for treatment of diseases and disorders in ruminants involve the use of conventional drugs and chemicals. However, with the increasing trend towards a more natural system of production, complementary and alternative therapies are being explored. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of medicine which involves stimulation of different acupuncture points in the body to produce effects on different parts. It has been used for diagnosis, production of analgesia, and as therapy for various disorders. Several theories have been brought to fore to explain acupuncture including yin-yang, five elements, meridian system and circadian body clock, among others.
Acupuncture has been extensively used in other ruminants, particularly in dairy cattle, beef cattle and sheep. These include the production of surgical analgesia, enhancing reproduction, improvement of lactation, adjunct in surgery, facilitating wound healing, production of immunity, increasing hematological and biochemical values, increasing ruminal motility, and correction of musculo-skeletal disorders. However, limited studies have been conducted on the use of acupuncture in water buffaloes and native goats. These include the production of analgesia for surgical procedures, therapy of reproductive, musculo-skeletal and digestive disorders, and effect on hematological parameters. Potential applications of acupuncture consist of the widespread use of non conventional methods such as hypodermic needle acupuncture and use of herbal solutions for aquapuncture, prevention of diseases and disorders particularly respiratory and digestive diseases, and integrative medicine where it can be used to complement conventional medical procedures.
As there is a demand for a more natural system of production, acupuncture, being relatively cheap, has a great potential for increasing the productive and reproductive performances of ruminants, especially in water buffaloes and native goats. It is, therefore, recommended that extensive research on the use of acupuncture for production of surgical analgesia, treatment of various diseases and disorders, and increasing production and reproduction in ruminants be conducted.