Equine Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy Offered At Purdue

A new, non-invasive veterinary treatment utilizing high pressure waves to alleviate equine bone and tendon ailments—including navicular disease and degenerative joint disease of the lower hock joints—was initiated at the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine June 14 under the direction of Dr. Scott McClure, Assistant Professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences.

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) was first used for humans in Germany in 1980, and approved for use in the United States in 1984 for disintegrating kidney stones. More recently, ESWT has proven effective in treating human musculoskeletal ailments. ESWT uses intense pressure waves, generated by the discharge of a high-voltage spark under water. The pressure wave penetrates body tissues, and can be focused on extremely small treatment areas.

The Purdue equine ESWT program utilizes a system provided by Shock Waves, Inc. (SWI) of Marietta, Georgia (www.Shock-Waves-Inc.com), a company pioneering equine veterinary use of its Equitripsy technology. Beginning in the spring of 1998, SWI conducted initial clinical trials of its equine ESWT system (Equitripsy) at Interstate Equine Services in Oklahoma with the collaboration of Dr. G. David McCarroll, who has found ESWT to be particularly effective in treating navicular disease, arthritic changes in the hock, and saucer fractures.

“Scientifically, the treatment appears valid when evaluating publications from human and laboratory studies. Initial studies by Dr. McCarroll indicate ESWT can effectively treat musculoskeletal abnormalities in the horse,” said Dr. McClure. “Initially, it would appear that dorsal metacarpal disease/bucked shins would be a good indication for Equitripsy because of the need to stimulate osteogenesis on the dorsal aspect of the cannon bone.”

“SWI believes Purdue's scientific protocols will show Equitripsy to be a potentially viable treatment, as well, for tendinitis, joints, splints, ringbone, pedalostitis, sesamoiditis, and fractures. We are excited that Equitripsy is available at Purdue University, an equine veterinary teaching hospital,” said SWI President Tom Brooks.

Purdue is offering SWI's Equitripsy to those equine patients identified through diagnostic workups and radiographic examinations as suitable treatment candidates. Horses are anesthetized during treatment, and re-examined at Purdue following a six-week limited exercise recovery period, as well as at six months following treatment.

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