A Shock Can be a Path to Healing

Rehabilitation techniques are only as good as the owner’s commitment to a protocol aimed at healing a horse’s injury. Walking, cold soaking a leg, or stall rest have a place, but sometimes your horse and you need a shock to advance healing. This summer, I learned about the benefits of shock wave therapy when my vet and friend administered the healing tool on my horse’s leg.

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is classified as a physical therapy or rehabilitation protocol and helps to manage and heal several maladies in a horse. Tendinitis and other tendon injuries common in athletic horses, ligament inflammation, deep muscle pain, and osteoarthritis are some conditions benefiting from shock wave therapy.

Safe and effective, administered without sedation, shock waves are applied to the injured area of the horse’s body, emitting electric pulses that literally break the sound barrier. The shock wave probe attached to a generator can travel deep into body tissue. Widely used but not completely understood, the energy waves are purported to impact cell-to-cell communication, influencing factors that promote healing.

Pretty cool, huh?

My vet, Berkley Chesen, DVM, is a friend and a good sport and allowed me to videotape her administration of the shock wave probe on my horse’s leg while explaining the process. I have uploaded the video I recorded. My vet’s sweet-aged dog, Rainey, managed to video-bomb the filming, too!