Healing with Shockwave Technology
What is shockwave therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a high-energy sound wave technology offering a noninvasive treatment option of dogs experiencing lameness and pain. The high-energy sound waves – sometimes called pulses – travel through soft tissue at customized depths, reaching specific treatment areas. These waves trigger the body’s repair system to activate. Different sized applicator heads (5mm and 20mm) allow shockwaves to penetrate to specific depths. Various energy settings allow for customization of application.
Shockwaves result in higher energy outputs and deeper penetration than ultrasound or lasers. This kind of therapy has been proven effective with reducing healing time, improving mobility, and relieving pain. It can be used as part of a rehabilitation/routine postoperative program or in place of increased NSAID doses.
How does shockwave work?
Shockwave therapy aids in healing by stimulating the body’s regeneration process. The waves work on a cellular level, releasing proteins that accelerate healing. Energy is released as a shockwave as tissue interfaces where the density of the tissue or impedance of the sound waves changes. Neovascularization takes place, leading to increased blood supply to the treated tissue, resulting in tissue regeneration in tendons, joints, and bone. Shockwave is noninvasive so dogs are able to receive treatment with minimal recovery time. Many pets begin to see relief in one to three treatments. Results may seem to appear immediately, however, it takes time for the biological responses to take place.
Non-invasive shockwave therapy is completed on an outpatient basis, meaning treatment, recovery and discharge can be performed while owners wait. A typical treatment lasts 5-10 minutes. Because there is non-invasive sound energy and deep tissue penetration, your pet will only require a short acting sedative. We do this to ensure optimal comfort and minimal distress.
Preparation of the treatment area is minimal. A technician will clip any fur overlying the treatment area. This ensures uninterrupted sound transmission. Conductive gel is applied and the applicator head gently moves over the affected area. Gel is removed immediately after treatment so no mess goes home. It is important that dogs do not take part in strenuous or high-impact activity for a few days so their body may effectively heal. Depending on the case, additional treatments may be needed after 2-3 weeks.
Shockwave is beneficial in the following applications:
- Joint injuries – hips, elbows, stifle (knee), and shoulder
- Chronic back pain, lumbosacral disease
- Non-union or delayed union fractures
- Tendon/ligament injuries
- Chronic soft tissue wounds
What is the difference between shockwave therapy and laser therapy?
- The biggest difference between shockwave and lasers is the energy source. Lasers use light energy while shockwaves use sound energy.
- Shockwaves create higher energy outputs and can penetrate deeper than a laser. Lasers are mostly beneficial for superficial indications that require a few millimeters in depth.
- One to three shockwave treatments can provide long-term healing. In contrast, lasers require 10-15 treatments for any given injury. There is no proof using lasers for long-term healing is effective.
- Shockwave therapy is FDA-approved. There is over 10 years of shockwave research in both veterinary and human medicine.
- There are no risks of burns with sound energy. No protective eye wear is needed.
- Shockwave therapy has had no adverse effects reported.
The evaluation of extracorporeal shockwave therapy in naturally occurring osteoarthritis of the stifle joint in dogs. Dahlberg J, Fitch G, Evans RB, McClure SR, Conzemius M. VCOT 2005;18(3):147-52
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for supraspinatus calcifying tendinopathy in two dogs. Danova NA, Muir P. Vet Rec 2003 Feb 15;(7):208-9.
The effect of shock wave therapy on patellar ligament desmitis after tibial plateau leveling osteotomy. Gallagher A, Cross AR, Sepulveda G. Vet Surg. 2012 May;41(4):482-5
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy in inflammatory deseases: molecular mechanism that triggers anti-inflammatory action. Mariotto S, de Prati AC, Cavalieri E, Amelio E, Marlinghaus E, Suzuki H. Curr Med Chem. 2009; 16(19);2366-72.
Effects of radial shockwave therapy on the limb function of dogs with hip osteoarthritis. Mueller M, Bockstahler B, Skalicky M, Mlacnik E, Lorinson D. Vet Rec 2007 Jun 2;160(22):762-5