Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) has become an emerging new technology for treating musculoskeletal problems, soft-tissue injuries and bone injuries in horses. ESWT is non-invasive and is used to stimulate healing to return horses to a level of fully sound, useful activity without recurrence of disease.
Today we are fortunate to be able to interview Michael Langdon, the CEO of Enhanced Shockwave Solutions, the master distributors for the Worlds No 1 brand of Shockwave machines, produced by Storz Medical.
So, Michael, from your background in Shockwave Therapy give us a simple explanation of what ESWT is and how it works?
“Well from outside the body (extracorporeal), the machine generates high-intensity pressure waves, which send a pulse to a specific site within the injured tissue. Though its actual mode of action is still in dispute, it stimulates and accelerates the healing process, essentially combining an immediate analgesic effect with a reduction in inflammation, and an increase in blood flow, to speed up the natural healing process of the body”.
Thanks Michael, so that sounds simple enough, but can you give us a list of some of the most common things we can use ESWT for on a racehorse or jumps horse.
“Yes sure, ESWT can be used to treat various conditions found in the equine world, such as suspensory ligament desmitis, navicular disease, saucer fractures, bucked shins, bowed tendon, sesamoid fractures, stress fractures and vertebral spinal pain (kissing spine lesions). Most people might be surprised at just how many conditions can be treated with Shockwave. I have also had a lot of feedback from trainers who have had a great deal of success using this device on a lot of different areas like sore feet, stifles, joints, hamstrings, suspensory attachments, sacroiliacs, backs and general muscle soreness".
That’s a nice list and many issues there that our readers can relate to for sure, so in practice how does a treatment take place?
“Well the shockwave unit operates using standard single-phase power and this provides the energy source for the handheld wand of the unit. For the simplest shock wave procedure, the area to be treated can be shaved (optional) to provide for good contact and a contact gel is then placed on the horse's skin, and the hand-held wand is applied to the horse to deliver the shockwave pulses. The treatment takes only minutes and the horse does not experience pain.
Electrical energy from the unit is used to initiate the pressure wave and in essence this is probably where the therapy derived its name (shockwave) but in reality there is no electrical shock of any type applied at all, it’s a simple pulse that is generated from the wand. The energy settings and the number of pulses are important and we have full training, including demonstration videos, to ensure our clients have full confidence in how to use the machines.
Thanks for that explanation Michael, it’s all starting to make much more sense and far less mysterious. But what is the science behind how it works?
“ Well the mechanism by which shock waves stimulate healing is actually still in debate.. Theoretically, shock waves can increase cellular membrane permeability, cellular division, and stimulate cytokine production by bone marrow, neovascularization of soft tissue and osteogenesis in bone. Pressure waves might help physically break down or move a hematoma or fluid from the lesion to allow the fibroblasts to more rapidly fill the defect. In fact, there is some new research that shows startling results with the use of Shockwave immediately after PRP treatment. It appears that the action of the Shockwave Therapy triggers a greater release of growth factors, which the result being an extremely rapid healing time”.
Okay now we know that compliance and testing in the racing industry has gone to a new level in Australia. How does Shockwave Therapy fit into all of this and is it still legal?
“Great question. ESWT is certainly still legal, and the way things are today it may actually be the only safe and effective way to treat your horses for injury, and at the same time speed their recovery, without getting yourself in hot water. Of course, there is a 7-day withholding period for treating performance horses, but given that most treatments are best done post-race to speed up injury recovery, it all fits well into a typical racing format”.
Thanks Michael, and finally what sort of investment is the average trainer or veterinarian looking at to allow them to use Shockwave?
"A really good quality machine that is portable & robust enough for equine use starts at around $12,990.00 and can go up to around $15,990.00 depending on what additional options are chosen. Our best-selling model at that price range is the MP100. While this might sound like an large outlay, longterm it works out very cheap when you consider each treatment area of 2000 shocks is only costing you approximately $ 6.50. I think the most important thing though is that you are able to provide your equine athlete with a great therapeutic treatment that can be used on a broad range of areas which will help keep it sound and performing to the best of its ability. In fact, if you don’t have one in this day and age you are really putting yourself way behind the leaders in injury management".
Thanks Michael … where can our readers get more information?
Take a look at our website at http://www.shockwavesolutions.com.au for a list of machines and options. Anyone wanting a demonstration or to discuss more options can email me personally at [email protected] or call direct on 0413 724 337.
And finally Michael can you tell us who is using it in racing in Australia and New Zealand ?
"That’s a tough question to answer because although the use of Shockwave is fully compliant with racing rules our best customers appreciate confidentiality. Shockwave gives such an edge that most users keep it pretty tight as part of their overall management system. I can tell you that prestigious organisations such as Melbourne Equine Veterinary Group and Morphettville Equine Clinic are 2 of the more prominent sources that use our machines, and overseas we have the Hong Kong Jockey Club as Storz brand advocates, but as for individual trainers you can merely be guaranteed that the top 5-10% of all trainers in Australia are using Shockwave Therapy".
We have a slogan for the equine industry that says ”If you’re not using Shockwave you’re at the tail end of the field” and in all honesty it’s not just a slogan, it’s the truth. Anyone who wants to be at the top level owes it to themselves to investigate the options.
Thanks again Michael … great interview and I appreciate your frank and honest answers.
Enhanced Shockwave Solutions
Since our company’s creation we have provided health care practitioners with outstanding service and the latest in Storz Shockwave technology. It’s why we have never had a single shockwave unit returned to us. We provide our customers with everything they need to implement shockwave therapy into their practice, to provide technologically advanced care complete with 24/7 support. Exclusively our clients have access to a portal with the latest information on updated treatments, which you can pass onto your clientele
P: +61 413 724 337
M: +61 413 724 337