Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)
We use a PiezoVet shockwave machine to provide focused shockwave therapy to the treated tissues.
A shockwave is essentially a sound wave with more energy. The shockwave travels through the probe which is coupled to the skin with ultrasound gel to the point at which the tissue impedance (resistance to the movement of sound wave through a tissue) changes. The shockwave releases its energy at that point (soft tissue/bone, tendon/para-tendon, skin/subcutaneous fat, and soft tissue/bone interfaces). This energy release effects the tissue the shockwave was immediately aimed at and reverberates in the surrounding tissue. The reverberation allows for the treatment of conditions within a tissue, instead of only treating the tissue surfaces.
An example of treatment of a deeper condition would be bone cysts within a navicular bone or fetlock. The shockwave's energy can not be directly applied to a cyst within a bone, since the energy would be released at the cartilage/bone interface, however the local reverberation of the energy through the bone stimulates bone remodeling.
The PiezoVet machine focuses the shockwaves to create a focal zone, which allows the bulk of the total energy being produced to be delivered to the area being treated. This increases the depth of penetration and the effect on the tissues. During the beginnings of extracorporeal shockwave therapy, machines were used that created radial shockwaves rather than the focused shockwaves we currently utilize. Radial shockwaves have a lower depth of penetration, with most of the energy being released at the skin surface.
We have the ability to vary the power of the shockwave as well as the depth of penetration of the shockwave. With this we can use Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy to treat conditions ranging from Ligament and Tendon tears and inflammation to Osteoarthritis to Splint Bone Fractures to Kissing Spines or Back Muscle Pain and Navicular Syndrome.
Many conditions have been shown to improve with or require only one treatment, while some injuries may require up to three treatments over a period of time.
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy is non invasive, and our PiezoVet ESWT machine is quiet, allowing us to treat most horses without sedation.
Treatment stimulates the re-ignition of stagnant healing processes and remodeling of many conditions. This means that controlled, and structured exercise is an important part of the post treatment program. A temporary analgesia (pain relief) is often seen in the first 48 hours after treatment, with healing and resolution of the condition continuing after the analgesia wears off.