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Shockwave Therapy

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive treatment modality that utilizes high-energy acoustic waves to stimulate healing and reduce pain in various musculoskeletal conditions. Originally developed to break up kidney stones, shockwave therapy has been adapted for use in veterinary medicine to treat a wide range of conditions in pets. Here are some key points about extracorporeal shockwave therapy:

Mechanism of Action

During an ESWT session, a handheld device delivers focused acoustic waves to the affected area of the body. These shockwaves create microtrauma within the tissues, stimulating the body's natural healing response. Additionally, shockwaves may disrupt the transmission of pain signals, leading to pain relief.

Pain Reduction

ESWT can effectively reduce pain associated with various musculoskeletal conditions, including osteoarthritis, tendonitis, ligament injuries, and muscle strains. By targeting the source of pain and promoting tissue healing, shockwave therapy can provide long-lasting relief without the need for medication or surgery.

Stimulated Healing

Shockwave therapy promotes the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) and accelerates the production of collagen, a key component of connective tissue. This enhanced blood flow and tissue regeneration can improve healing outcomes and restore function to injured or degenerated tissues.

Non-Invasive and Well-Tolerated

ESWT is a non-invasive procedure that does not require anesthesia or sedation in most cases. The treatment is performed on an outpatient basis, allowing pets to return home the same day. While some animals may experience mild discomfort during the procedure, it is generally well-tolerated, and any discomfort typically resolves quickly.


Extracorporeal shockwave therapy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions affecting different parts of the body, including the limbs, spine, and soft tissues. It is particularly beneficial for chronic conditions that have not responded to conventional treatments or for cases where surgery is not feasible or desired.

Complementary Therapy

Shockwave therapy is often used in conjunction with other modalities such as physical therapy, acupuncture, and medication to provide a comprehensive approach to pain management and rehabilitation. Combining therapies can enhance the overall efficacy of treatment and improve outcomes for pets with complex or multi-faceted conditions.

Veterinary Applications

In veterinary medicine, shockwave therapy is commonly used to treat conditions such as osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, tendon and ligament injuries, chronic back pain, and non-healing fractures. It is especially beneficial for older pets or those with degenerative joint disease, as it can help improve mobility and quality of life.

Overall, extracorporeal shockwave therapy offers a safe, effective, and minimally invasive option for managing pain and promoting healing in pets with musculoskeletal conditions. With its ability to stimulate tissue regeneration and reduce inflammation, shockwave therapy can provide significant relief and improve the overall quality of life for furry companions.
Image by Scott Longerbeam
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