I became interested in shockwave therapy for its neovascularization effects. I've been using this therapy with racehorses and pleasure horses for about five years now, and am very pleased with the results. In racetrack medicine, the emphasis is often on alleviating pain so the horse can run again; which isn't always in the horses’ best interest. What I most appreciate about shockwave technology are both the analgesic and the therapeutic benefits. It is a better and more ethical alternative then injecting the animal with cortisone to bypass pain so it can continue to race or perform. This technology not only helps the horse feel better but aides in the healing process. Many modalities do one or the other, but shockwave therapy accomplishes both at the same time.
Often, when there is pain in one area, the horse will compensate or overcompensate in another area, creating additional problems and a vicious cycle. If you can stop the pain cycle and address the problem at the level of causation, it makes a big difference. The horse not only feels better, you're actually making him better -- and supporting the horse's wellbeing and longevity. I've seen quite a few very nice turnarounds with shockwave therapy in cases where there was initial concern about the horse's career being in jeopardy.I have used the Storz MP 50 Vet shockwave therapy machine with many cases over the years and have had great success treating a variety of problems and conditions including tendonitis, suspensory ligament desmitis, joints, backs, fractures, endostietis, etc.
Recently I have used the technology to treat severe lacerations, wounds and bone abnormalities. I have found the decrease in healing time to be very impressive. A recent case I initially estimated 4-6 months for healing, but the horse was out of the clinic and on their way home in 45 days. I was amazed and pleased with the results. In fact, I have documented -- and am in the process of writing up -- this particular case of hind leg trauma and the dramatically shortened healing time using shockwave therapy.
Shockwave is a great adjunct therapy when used in conjunction with many other treatment modalities. For instance, I’ll commonly use shockwave on the feet of horses running on hard surfaces in conjunction with corrective shoeing.
Of course shockwave can't be used in isolation. It's important to make a big picture assessment, which may involve corrective shoeing, equipment changes or training modification, thus allowing the horse sufficient time to heal. Shockwave therapy is absolutely a great piece of therapy to add to the mix to keep the horse at the top of its game and as pain free as possible for as long as possible.
The bottom line is that I find shockwave an integral part of my treatment armament and practice. The MP 50 Vet shockwave machine is an outstanding tool for helping horses stay sound, happy and healthy.
-- Dr. Judy Tubman, VMD