Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is the use of vibrations (shockwaves) to stimulate the body’s production of growth factors.
Growth factors are useful in old injuries where the body has laid down scar tissue. This scar tissue takes the form of calcifications or fibrosis and restricts the normal function of ligaments, tendons and muscles. This in turn causes dogs and cats to limp or have a noticeably abnormal gait.
With shockwave therapy, the patient can create more normal tissue at the site of these old injuries, allowing for a more natural motion and a reduction of secondary injuries.
Another chronic injury that is very responsive to shockwave is arthritis. Growth factors act as anti-inflammatories and reduce the pain of arthritis. Generally, shockwave is used as one component of treatment, combined with medications, laser, acupuncture, and manual therapies as appropriate.
The machine used by Island Mobile Paws is a radial shockwave unit, which is well-tolerated and generally does not require any sedation.
The number and frequency of treatments varies by condition, but usually 2-3 visits are sufficient to see a response.
Shockwave can be combined with another therapy called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). In the near future, we plan to offer PRP injections.
In the meantime, if PRP is appropriated for your pet, we will refer you to a practice currently offering this service on the mainland.