Healing with Shockwave Technology
What is shockwave technology?
Shockwave therapy – high-energy sound wave technology – generates sound waves outside of the body, offering a noninvasive treatment option of dogs experiencing lameness and pain. The high-energy sound waves – also called pulses or shockwaves – travel through soft tissue at customized depths, reaching a specific treatment area and triggering the body’s own repair system. In comparison to ultrasound or lasers, shockwaves result in a higher energy output and deeper penetration and have been proven to reduce healing time, improve mobility, and relieve pain with 1-3 treatments.
Shockwave can be used instead of an increased NSAID dose, as part of a rehabilitation or routine postoperative program.
Shock wave 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
Ease of Application
An average treatment is relatively fast and easy, typically 5-10 minutes in duration. Dealing with only sound energy and deep tissue penetration, the patient will require a short acting sedative. This is necessary to ensure optimal comfort without any distress. Preparation of the treatment area is minimal and requires clipping of the dog’s fur overlying the treatment area to make certain sound transmission is not disrupted by fur. A conductive gel is used with the applicator while it is gently moved over the treated area but will be removed immediately after treatment – no sticky mess goes home.
Different sized applicator heads (5mm and 20mm) allow shockwaves to penetrate to different depths, and various energy settings allow for customization of application.
Shock wave is a research-validated technology that provides high efficiency with a low rate of repeat treatments.
Shockwave is noninvasive so dogs are able to receive treatment with minimal recovery time. While results may appear to be seen immediately, it takes time for the biological responses to take place. 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. An additional treatment may be needed after 2-3 weeks, depending on the indication.
Mechanism of Action
Shock wave aids in healing by stimulating the body’s regeneration process. The shock waves work at a cellular level, releasing proteins that accelerate healing. Energy is released as a shock wave as tissue interfaces where the density of the tissue or impedance of the sound waves changes. These changes of impedance occur where soft tissue, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone meet. The energy released leads to a cellular reaction that causes the release of various substances including BMP-2, eNOS, VEGF, and PCNA. Neovascularization takes place, leading to increased blood supply to the treated tissue, resulting in tissue regeneration in tendons, joints, and bone.
How is shock wave different from laser therapy?
- Shock wave uses sound energy where laser uses light energy
- Shock wave is FDA-approved and is supported by more than 10 years of research in veterinary and human medicine.
- Shock wave creates a higher energy output and penetrates deeper than a laser can. Lasers are mostly beneficial for superficial indications that require a few millimeters in depth.
- 1-3 treatments provide long-term healing with shock wave, whereas lasers require 10-15 treatments for any given injury, and the healing has not been studied or proven long-term
- There is no risk of burns with sound energy, and no protective eye-wear is required.
- No adverse effects have been reported with shock wave therapy.
How long will my dog be hospitalized?
This treatment is performed on an outpatient basis – treatment, recovery and discharge from the hospital can all be performed while you wait.
How much does this treatment cost?
An individualized estimate will be provided during your initial consultation. If a patient has not been treated previously by VREC, and is presenting for shockwave therapy only, Dr. Danova – surgery dept. – will consult with you in regard to the underlying problem and application of shockwave therapy. Initial diagnostic testing such as radiographs or bloodwork may be required. Overall, we will provide an estimate to include everything – treatment, brief hospitalization and care through to discharge. Additional charges may be incurred for management unrelated to shock wave therapy treatment.
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
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.