Benefits of Shockwave Therapy in Horses

  • Rapid reduction in pain and decreased healing times
  • Works on chronic and acute conditions
  • None of the side effects of steroid treatments — nor the dangers of further injury
  • A great alternative to drugs and their side effects
  • A successful alternative to surgery as a treatment for horse injuries
  • Requires no sedation, medication or anaesthesia – one of the few horse injury treatments that require no drugs of any kind
  • A quick out-patient treatment for horse injuries
  • Available on-site with mobile shock wave units
  • Virtually no side effects
  • A complete course of treatment in only a few sessions (the average treatment for horse injuries is completed in 3-5 sessions)
  • A cost-effective treatment for horse Injuries

Conditions often treated with ESWT are injuries to the suspensory ligaments, both in fore and hind-limbs, other tendon and ligament injuries, kissing spines, sacroiliac pain, lumbosacral and other back pain. It can also be used for treating bone spavin, navicular syndrome, sesamoiditis, splints, non-healing wounds, stress fractures and treatment of non-union fractures.

Research has demonstrated that in the suspensory ligament ESWT has been shown to increase the formation of collagen fibrils and growth factors. Tendon injuries treated with shock wave therapy showed more mature and parallel collagen fibres and increased new blood supply when compared to untreated controls.

Recent studies of wound healing have indicated that shock wave therapy promotes healing of wounds in horses by increasing growth factors, reducing inflammation and promoting tissue proliferation. Shock wave therapy has also been shown to decrease inflammation associated with arthritis in horses. While the exact mechanisms of shock wave therapy seem to differ among the various tissues being treated, the effect of shock wave therapy appears to be dose-dependent.

There are two types of shock wave therapy devices: radial and focused shock wave modalities. Focused shock wave machines are capable of generating a unique waveform with more power than radial machines therefore potentially a lower dose can be used. Both forms of ESWT have been shown to produce a localised analgesic effect at the treatment site for approximately 3 days following treatment therefore it is important not to overwork the injury during this time frame.

Various racing commissions and the FEI have regulations concerning the waiting periods post-treatment prior to competition.

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