A Veterinarian’s Love for Horses Led Him to a Career in Animal Acupuncture | New


SELINSGROVE — Michaela Naugle’s passion for horses developed as a young teenager involved in therapeutic riding and today, in her work as a veterinarian, she returns the favor.

Naugle, 29, is certified in animal chiropractic and acupuncture, services she provides throughout the valley through the Egleston Equine and Farm Animal Clinic.

“I am a firm believer. If it works on humans, why shouldn’t it work on animals,” said Tom Walker, owner of a McClure hobby farm and horses who have benefited from Naugle’s care.

Naugle’s veterinary career was inspired early in life after she and her twin sister, Alexis, were born eight weeks premature with cerebral palsy. Naugle has mild symptoms of the disease, while his sister underwent 13 surgeries when she was 12.

Their mother, Stacie Anders, enrolled them in therapeutic riding at the Random Canyon riding program at Selinsgrove’s RED Farm.

“It sparked my interest,” Naugle said of his decision to pursue a career as a veterinarian. “I’ve seen how horses can help people and, I guess for me, that’s my way of taking care of them.”

Her attraction to alternative medicine was piqued in veterinary school when she saw a horse unable to stoop being treated with acupuncture.

“There are always side effects to medicine, but acupuncture has none,” said Naugle, who provides services for competitive, recreational and duty working animals like his own horse, Baye.

At 29, Baye is used as a therapy horse at RED Farm and Naugle treats the animal frequently to ensure he is up to the task.

She determines where the horse may be feeling pain or discomfort by taking her hands and pushing gently on her back and other key points on the animal’s body.

Pulling out several small acupuncture needles from his kit, Naugle gently thrusts them into Baye’s rear end.

Then Naugle picks up his hoof and stretches it, causing a slight “pop”.

“You can manage chronic pain with chiro or acupuncture,” she said. “It makes a huge difference. We want to give them the best quality of life.”

Clients with horses in competition say Naugle’s work helps them achieve peak performance.

Lora Knelly, owner of a training facility in Berwick, said Naugle has worked on several of her quarter horses, including Bodie who recently placed first at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio.

“He’s just one example,” Knelly said of the benefits of Naugle’s services. “A lot of our horses feel more balanced.”

Walker, owner of Tee, a Western Pleasure horse known professionally as Hotroddin Sheik and ranked eighth in the country in 2007, said Naugle’s skills have improved the 22-year-old horse.

“He was stiff and upright like he was in pain. I could tell he was in pain,” said Walker, who holds a master’s degree in equine science. “Dr. Michaela was awesome. She did chiropractic and acupuncture on Tee. He went from a crippled old horse to now acting like he’s 2 years old. It’s like night and day .

“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Michaela’s skills in the field,” he said. “Horses are athletes and they need adjustments. Whether it’s a show horse, work horse or trail horse, they need to perform.”

Naugle sees the service she provides as a way to give back to the animals who give so much to others.

“At the end of the day, it makes a huge difference and we want to give them the best quality of life,” she said.


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