What is Shockwave Therapy for Dogs?
Shockwave therapy, officially named extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), has been used in dogs since 1999 when the first testing began but has been used in humans since 1992 to treat a variety of painful orthopedic conditions including rotator cuff injuries, plantar fasciitis and bone fractures. Shock waves are high-energy concentrated sound waves that originate outside the body and can be directed to a specific location within it. Since initial testing of shockwave therapy in dogs by numerous veterinary schools, there have been good results reported for the treatment of orthopedic conditions in dogs. At this time, the amount of studies is still limited.
How Does Shockwave Therapy for Dogs Work?
For shockwave therapy for dogs, a series of focused high-pressure acoustic pulses (sound waves) are generated by the equipment and pass from the probe into the skin and soft tissue. The energy contained in the shock waves is released and interacts with the tissue when it meets tissue interfaces of varying densities, such as where soft tissue, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone meet, creating both mechanical and cellular consequences.
Although the basis for these actions is unknown, shock waves appear to reduce pain and encourage healing within wounded tissue. ESWT, according to researchers, increases the body’s inherent healing resources, including increased blood supply, bone growth, and other variables. Calcium deposits that are occasionally related with tendinitis can be broken up by shock waves.
The exact mechanism by which this medication improves arthritic pain is unknown, although it may have something to do with the depletion of neuropeptides that cause pain and contribute to the inflammatory response.
What Does Shockwave Therapy Treat in Dogs?
It’s been proven that shockwave therapy for dogs can help numerous amount orthopedic conditions including:
- Hip and Elbow dysplasia
- Chronic wounds
- Tendon and Ligament injuries
- Non- or delayed healing bone fractures
- Degenerative disc disease
- Degenerative joint disease
- Back pain
- Osteochondrosis lesions (OCD)
- Lick granulomas
How Safe is Shockwave Therapy for Dogs?
Shockwave therapy is usually thought to be safe, but high-intensity or long-term therapy (more than 1,000 pulses) might cause tissue or bone damage. Horses’ bones have cracked following shock wave therapy, according to anecdotal reports, albeit the reason of the fracture is unknown. An increase in the risk of injury may come from overuse of this treatment.
The brain, heart, lungs, and intestines, as well as neurovascular tissues, must be avoided throughout therapy. Due to the danger of bruising, shockwave therapy is not indicated for dogs with coagulation abnormalities. Immunocompromised dogs may not respond well to treatment, which is reliant on the capacity of the body’s immune system to cure itself.
How Effective is Shockwave Therapy for Dogs?
The efficacy of shockwave therapy treatment for dogs is still being evaluated as it’s not as common in small animals as it is in horses and humans.
What Happens During a Shockwave Laser Treatment?
For roughly 5 minutes per site, the probe of the shockwave machine is kept against the area being treated but it can be unpleasant, especially when applied to painful places like an arthritic joint. Most animals, on the other hand, take the treatment well and do not require sedation.
Treatments are usually conducted two weeks to a month apart with anywhere from one to four treatments depending on the condition and severity. How many treatments can also be dependent on the improvement being seen after each treatment but it can also take a few weeks to see effects. Depending on the condition and whether it’s chronic or not, shockwave therapy may need to be repeated once a year.
Shockwave therapy should only be performed by a certified veterinary specialist. Find one near you in our specialist directory!
How Much Does Shockwave Therapy Cost?
There are many factors that go into the cost of shockwaver therapy treatments for dogs. The cost can vary based on the type of machine, how many areas on the body are being treated, if anesthesia is required or not and how much testing is needed prior. Shockwae therapy can often range between $200-$400 per location being treated which includes the price of the initial assessment, testing, and anesthesia or sedation.