Shock Wave Technology With Over A Decade Of Proven Results

Written by C. Lechleitner (2017,May). A Healing Touch. NSBA Way to Go, 44-45. Reprinted with permission.

It’s something no horse owner wants to deal with, but is also part of working with our equine athletes:  injuries.

Thankfully, there are therapies available to help ease our equine partners pain and heal more quickly and efficiently.  Kate Workman, DVM, manages the rehabilitation center at Hassinger Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and takes us through one of today’s treatment options.

FOCUSED ELECTROHYDRAULIC SHOCKWAVE: “Shockwave is really a unique product in the industry, and it does get results,” noted Dr Workman.

“Electrohydraulic focused shockwave is a high-energy accoustic wave, transmitted into tissue,” explained Trudy Gage, representative with Pulse Vet, which produces the Shockwave device. “It is a non-invasive, regenerative option, working with the horse’s body to stimulate healing.  There is often an analgesic effect, helping to manage pain, without needing the assistance of pharmaceuticals.”

Cells are stimulated and release multiple proteins, osteogenic (bone) and angiogenic (blood vessel) growth factors, and inflammatory cytokines. Shockwaves cause a cascade of biological response in musculoskeletal tissues; when the cells are stimulated, they release positive growth factors that result in bone growth, tissue healing, and new blood vessel formation to promote healing time.

Trudy noted that some horse owners like this therapy over other options because pharmaceuticals can sometimes create a new set of problems. “There can be concerns with kidney and liver function, as well as the possibility of ulcers in some cases, requiring yet additional medications to be purchased and administered,” she said.  “Shockwave allows horse owners to avoid those risks.”

Another advantage to Shockwave treatment is its effectiveness with just a few treatments. “Treatments are typically applied approximately 10-14 days apart,” Trudy said. “One to three treatments is the average number of treatments required for common injuries such as a suspensory injury. Shockwave also works well for back, ligament or tendon injuries, kissing spine or SI, wounds or even splints, and has been shown to improve horses with navicular.  Healing time is often shortened, and the quality of healing is improved as well.”

Shockwave can penetrate tissue up to 110 millimeters in depth.   “That’s a really important point, because many other therapies out there cannot get that depth of penetration,” Trudy noted. “Veterinarians have different probes that are used depending on the needed penetration depth.  Shockwave is often used in conjunction with other treatment options such as PRP or stem cell,” she explained. In addition, PulseVet Shockwave treatment is often covered as part of your horse’s insurance plan.

“Most horses do not require any sedation, however the treatment can be a bit loud, depending on the location being treated and the individual horse,” she noted. “It is relatively quick, taking just a few minutes depending on the location.  Often you will notice when a horse is having his/her back treated with shockwave, they will exhibit signs of total relaxation and pain relief. It can be funny to watch at times, as the horse may lean into the probe the veterinarian is using.  You may see them lower their head, and begin to lick and chew,” Trudy noted.

Available only to licensed veterinarians, PulseVet Shockwave has 15 years of past and ongoing clinical research, which has proven its efficacy through hard science, Trudy said.