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What Is Shockwave Therapy for Dogs?

Shock wave therapy is a technology that uses high-energy sound waves to treat dogs experiencing pain or lameness. It is non-invasive, with the pulses reaching the treatment areas by traveling through the pet’s soft tissue.

The sound waves used in the therapy trigger the activation of the pet’s repair system.

There are different sizes of the applicator head, depending on the levels the shock waves penetrate. The application is customizable via the energy settings. Shock wave therapy is different from lasers or ultrasound due to its high energy and ability to penetrate deeper.


How It Works

Shock wave therapy stimulates the regeneration that helps the body heal. The treatment releases shockwaves on a cellular level. It accelerates healing by releasing proteins.

The shock waves penetrate different tissue interface densities like cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. The waves’ energy fuses with the tissue and produces cellular and mechanical effects. The shock waves stimulate healing in the targeted tissue and relieve pain.


Conditions That Shock Wave Therapy Benefits

Below are the conditions treated through shock wave therapy:

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Back pain

  • Lick granulomas

  • Joint injuries

  • Ligament and tendon injuries

  • Hip dysplasia

  • Fractures

  • Osteochondrosis lesions

  • Tendonitis


What to Expect

Your veterinarian must have a specific specialization in performing shock wave therapy. They will begin by performing a routine diagnostic exam on your dog. The testing will include urinalysis, blood work, and fecal and physical examination.

Your veterinarian at South Willamette Veterinary Clinic may take an ultrasound or radiograph of the injured site before the shock wave therapy.

A shockwave device has a handheld wand attached to the energy source. Below is a description of the procedure:

  • Your veterinarian will lightly sedate your dog to keep it calm. Doing so will help apply the treatment accurately.

  • The vet will shave the body part where your dog will receive treatment for better contact.

  • A contact gel like the one used during ultrasound will be placed over the shaved part.

  • The specialist will use the handheld wand and apply it to the affected shaved site to begin releasing the shockwaves.

The cycle of treatment is short-lived and lasts five to 10 minutes. The admission of the shock waves emits small amounts of pain. The treatment may need repeating, usually after two or three weeks.

The results may occur immediately. However, the biological response to the treatment may take a while. Shock wave therapy is usually an outpatient treatment. So after treatment, your pet can recover while at the facility, and you will return home with them. Ideally, ensure your dog avoids high-impact or strenuous activity for a few days for effective healing.


Efficacy of Treatment

Most pets respond positively to shockwave therapy. Typically, close to 70 percent benefit from the treatment. The other 15 percent show a slight improvement, while the other 15 percent do not respond to the therapy.



Shock wave therapy takes a few minutes. However, the preparation and recovery process will take up to one hour. Your dog will recover in a cage while being lightly sedated until the sedation completely wears off. After the recovery, your dog can return home.

For more about shockwave therapy, visit South Willamette Veterinary Clinic at our office in Creswell, Oregon. You can also call (541) 313-3352 to book an appointment today.

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