Sponsored by PulseVet
Originally published in The Plaid Horse. Reprinted with permission.

HORSES CARRY the dreams, hopes, and goals of equestrians in all disciplines. Riders, owners, veterinarians, farriers and countless others work hard to put horse welfare first. Various modalities are used to maintain the health and wellbeing of horses, including shock wave therapy.

The term shock wave is a bit of a misnomer, because there is no shock delivered. The goal of any treatment is to reduce pain and improve how horses feel and heal. While many therapies appear similar, they are all vastly different.

“Not all shock wave is the same, and not all shock wave is created equal,” said PulseVet’s director of client education, Trudy Gage. “Find one made in the U.S. and backed by science.”

Shock Wave Therapy Basics

According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) for horses is a noninvasive treatment option which uses sound waves to promote the healing of joints, ligaments, tendons and wounds.

Dr. Molly Bellefeuille treating a horse's back with PulseVet shock wave therapy
Photo Courtesy of PulseVet

The goals of shock wave therapy include increasing blood flow, improving the growth of new blood vessels, providing pain relief, reducing inflammation and promoting a healing environment.

Instead of going straight to invasive procedures, licensed veterinarians can deliver a safe and effective treatment that helps the horse’s body regenerate healthy tissue to promote healing from within. There are no negative side effects.

How Shock Wave Therapy Works

Shock wave treatment is provided using a trode attached to a generator unit, sending sound waves to the treatment area through the trode. Trode sizes are tailored to penetrate different depths of tissue (up to 110mm), giving veterinarians the ability to treat various indications, from superficial injuries to deep injuries of the muscles, joints or even the spine.

Vet treating horse's tendons with shock wave therapy
Photo Courtesy of PulseVet

Only licensed veterinarians should prescribe treatment. Check with your governing body regarding regulations on shock wave treatments before and during competition.

Conditions Treated by Shock Wave Therapy

This therapy can be used for acute injuries, chronic conditions, and as a prophylactic for general wellness.

Numerous studies have proven the effectiveness on many common equine conditions, including:

• Tendonitis
• Ligament injuries
• Osteoarthritis
• Fractures and bone injuries
• Navicular disease
• Muscle pain
• Wounds

Shock wave therapy can also be used to help avoid injury, maintain elasticity in tendons and ligaments, and promote overall wellness.

The PulseVet Shock Wave Difference

PulseVet uses electrohydraulic-focused shock waves to deliver treatments up to a depth of 110mm.

While therapies utilizing light waves can help with healing, the light is dispersed across a superficial area and cannot penetrate deep tissue.

Protect your horse and your pocketbook. Know what you’re paying for, because the results will not be the same if you go with an unproven, not-covered treatment.

Trudy Gage, Director of Client Education

“When a light is shined into a pool at night, it does not reach the bottom and dissipates quickly,” Gage said. “However, a sound made underwater at one end of the pool can be heard at the opposite side clearly. Water and tissue carries sound waves effectively.”

Because PulseVet’s shock waves can treat noninvasively and effectively, veterinarians only need to treat between one and three times, spaced out in 14-day intervals.

PulseVet Benefits

The healing effects of shock wave therapies include:

  • 90 percent success in treating chronic back pain and kissing spines
  • Faster healing of tendon and ligament injuries
  • 81 percent improvement in horses with navicular syndrome
  • 50 percent faster healing of collateral ligament injuries

An average treatment is 1,000 pulses, which takes less than 5 minutes, and is generally included as a fully covered therapy with equine insurance.

With results lasting several months, shock wave therapy is cost-effective.

“Protect your horse and your pocketbook. Know what you’re paying for, because the results will not be the same if you go with an unproven, not-covered treatment,” Gage said.

Using PulseVet to Gain Greater Healing

PulseVet shock wave therapy machine

PulseVet’s products are made in the USA with quality materials.

A vet locator is available on PulseVet’s website to find licensed veterinarians in your area who provide this type of treatment.

Horses carry more than riders; they carry hopes, dreams, and joy. Keeping them healthy is an important job that takes a team of dedicated people. Learn more by contacting PulseVet today at (800) 245-4417 or [email protected].

More research is available at pulsevet.com/research/equine


Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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