Dr. Marvin Cain performs an acupuncture procedure on a horse in 1986

Dr. Marvin Cain performs an acupuncture procedure on a horse in 1986

Les Sellnow

Dr. Marvin Cain, 86, Dies

Developed acupuncture procedures for Thoroughbreds.

Dr. Marvin Cain, a veterinarian who helped organize the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, died Aug. 6. He was 86.

Born Oct. 1, 1931 in Versailles, Ohio, Cain died at the Garby Nursing Home in Troy, Ohio.

"He will be missed by many in the horse business," said his daughter Brett Cain. "He worked with Dr. Mark Cheney and he studied with Dr. Chris Cahill. Some of his clients included D. Wayne Lukas, Carl Nafzger, Nick Zito, and Billy Turner."

Dr. Cain was a small animal veterinarian for 25 years before being introduced to acupuncture in 1971. Fascinated by the subject when a group of Chinese acupuncturists came to the U.S. in the wake of President Richard Nixon's visit, he signed up for a course taught at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. He also studied in Korea, Japan, and China.

In an article that appeared in the Dec. 6, 1986 edition of The Blood-Horse, it was reported he treated several horses that ran in that year's Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park, traveled to England to treat a horse that ran in the Grand National Steeplechase, and helped with treatment via telephone for an entry in the Melbourne Cup (G1).

Turner and Hall of Fame trainer P. G. Johnson were featured in the article.

Turner said: "What really convinced me was when Dr. Cain examined a group of young horses I had in training. I knew these horses like the back of my hand because I had been with them from the very beginning. He didn't even take the bandages off their legs while he was examining them and he would say, 'You've got something below the right knee,' or 'This horse has a stifle problem.' He had never seen these horses before, and he was never wrong."

Another trainer, Winky Cox said: "It's amazing to watch Dr. Cain work. You think you've been watching horses go for a long time and you think you know horses. Then he'll come in and check a horse and say the problem is somewhere else after you think you've got it figured out. Acupuncture makes training a lot easier. A horse might be getting sore one place or another, but not be showing it yet. Dr. Cain can come in and pinpoint the source of the problem.

"As a treatment tool acupuncture gets rid of the secondary sources so you can work on the main problem."