Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) for Horse

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is used for the treatment of musculoskeletal soft tissue pain as well as superficial and soft tissue injuries and disorders. Short and sedation-free therapy sessions provide successful relief of acute and chronic pain, and improvement of chronic disorders to restore painless mobility and stimulate bone growth and tissue regeneration.
Equine conditions that respond well to Shock Wave Therapy include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Wounds and Chronic Wound Care
  • Acupressure Points
  • Non-union or delayed-healing of Fractured Bones
  • Joints
  • Bone
  • Large Muscles
  • Tendon Injuries
  • Chronic Back Pain
  • Ligament Injuries
  • Painful Scar Tissue
  • Trigger Points
  • Connective Tissue
  • Cosmetic Applications

Specific equine pathologies that have successfully been treated with Shock Wave Therapy include:

  • Insertional desmopathies such as proximal suspensory ligament desmitis, suspensory branch desmitis, suspensory avulsion fractures, inferior check ligament desmitis, distal sesamoidean ligament desmitis, nuchal ligament, and other ligament injuries
  • Tendinopathies with & without calcification such as superficial & deep digital flexor tendon injuries, e.g. bowed tendons.
  • Metacarpal Stress Fractures & dorsal metacarpal disease such as bucked shins
  • Fractures & stress fractures of splints, coffin bone fractures
  • Tibial & humeral stress fractures, and Bone Exostosis
  • Angular Limb Deformities (ALD) in Foals
  • Sesamoiditis & Sesamoid fractures
  • Navicular Syndrome (Caudal heel pain)
  • Osteoarthritis such as pastern degenerative joint disease (DJD), Ringbone, and hock degenerative joint disease, Bone Spavin
  • Osteochondrosis lesions (OCD)
  • Soreness/Stiffness in muscles and gluts
  • Sore back problems such as dorsal spinal process, sacroiliac problems, and Kissing Spines

The many benefits of equine shockwave as a treatment for horse injuries include:

  • Rapid Reduction in Pain and Decreased Healing Times
  • Works On Chronic and Acute Conditions
  • None Of The Side Effects Of Steroid Treatments — nor the dangers of further injury
  • A Great Alternative to Drugs and Their Side Effects
  • A Successful Alternative To Surgery as a treatment for horse injuries
  • Requires No Sedation, Medication or Anesthesia – one of the few  horse injury treatments that require no drugs of any kind
  • A Quick Out-Patient Treatment For Horse Injuries
  • Available On-Site With Mobile Shock Wave Units
  • Virtually No Side Effects – which can’t be said for most treatments
  • A Complete Course Of Treatment In A Few Sessions (the average treatment for horse injuries is completed in 3-5 sessions)
  • A Cost Saving Treatment For Horse Injuries

Equine shock wave not only offers many benefits to horses and their owners for the treatment for horse injuries, but is also a great low-cost investment for equine veterinarians and their practices. Many facilities invest in technology and diagnostic equipment to identify musculoskeletal and orthopedic disorders, but few can offer a beneficial therapeutic solution after the diagnosis.  Most only offer pharmaceuticals that may result in adverse side effects or recommend surgical solutions.  Neither of these options, however, can offer the safe, rapid and effective clinical outcomes of ESWT as a treatment for horse injuries.  For most equine patients, ESWT provides fast, reliable and effective treatment for horse injuries and for horses suffering from chronic pain.


Review of the application and efficacy of extracorporeal shockwave therapy in equine tendon and ligament injuries.Shockwave therapy for treatment of a burn injury in a horseExtracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Treatment of Osteoarthritis in the Horse: Clinical Applications
“Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) has been implemented as a treatment for musculoskeletal injuries in horses. ““Shockwave therapy may be a viable supplemental option for treating burn injuries in the horse, with no noted adverse effects.”“Recently, veterinarians have begun using ESWT for treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) in horses.”
Ultrastructural and immunocytochemical evaluation of the effects of extracorporeal shock wave treatment in the hind limbs of horses with experimentally induced suspensory ligament desmitisThe role of extracorporeal shockwave therapyin the rehabilitation of soft tissue injuriesin the equine athleteEffect of shock‐wave therapy on patellar tendinopathy in a rabbit model
“Results have indicated that ESWT appears to facilitate the healing process in horses with experimentally induced hind limb suspensory ligament desmitis.”“Shockwave therapy has become an established tool to assist in the management of soft tissue injuries in athletic horses. ““SWT may increase collagen synthesis and collagen crosslink formation during early healing process. “
The use of radial extracorporeal shockwave therapy in the treatment of urethral urolithiasis in the horse: a preliminary studyCharacterization of the use of shock wave therapy among equine veterinariansInflammatory mediators are potential biomarkers for extracorporeal shockwave therapy in horses
“In all cases, radial ESWT was able to fragment the calculus partially, enabling retrieval of the remaining fragments via the urethra. ““Practitioners in equine-only practice were more likely to use ESWT than those who worked in mixed practice. ““Plasma concentrations of five inflammatory factors changed following ESWT. “
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy raises mechanical nociceptive threshold in horses with thoracolumbar painRadial Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Chronic Insertion Desmopathy of the Proximal Suspensory LigamentRadial Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment Promotes Bone Growth and Chondrogenesis in Cultured Fetal Rat Metatarsal Bones
“Three treatments of ESWT 2 weeks apart raised MNT over a 56-day period in horses with back pain…”“This condition seemed to be ideal for ESWT treatment evaluation, for ESWT is known as a safe, alternative, non-invasive therapy without serious side effects.
“Substantial evidence exists to show the positive effects of radialextracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) on bone formation. “
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