Features May 2008 Issue

Shock Wave Therapy For Dogs With Arthritis

A new form of therapy offers arthritis pain relief for dogs using sound waves.

Last June, I received this note from Debbie Efron, of Manalapan, New Jersey: "Do you know anything about shock wave therapy for dogs with arthritis? I am considering this treatment for Taylor, my almost 13-year-old Labrador Retriever, who has arthritis in her hips, spinal column, and right hock, and has just torn a ligament in her right knee. It was recommended by my vet, Dr. Charles Schenck, who is a past president of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association." Shock wave therapy? Is that like what they did to the Bride of Frankenstein? I had never heard of such a thing, and I was skeptical, to say the least, thinking it might be some new gimmick. But I was surprised and immensely intrigued by what I found. Shock waves have nothing to do with electric shocks. They are actually high-energy focused sound waves generated outside the body that can be focused at a specific site within the body. In human medicine, extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) been used for over 25 years to break up kidney stones and gallstones (lithotripsy) without the need for invasive surgery ("extracorporeal" means "outside the body").

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