Shock Wave Therapy

How does Shock Wave Therapy work? Despite the name, shock wave therapy does not use electrical waves but rather focused, high-pressure acoustic pulses (sound waves) that are directed from the probe through the skin and into soft tissue. When the waves meet the tissue the energy contained in the shock waves is released and interacts with the tissue. 

Shock waves are shown to reduce pain and stimulate healing. They  induce new blood vessel formation at the junction of the tendon-bone as well as activate the release of growth factors to accelerate healing. Shock waves can also break up calcium deposits that are sometimes associated with tendonitis. Pets with chronic arthritis can also benefit from the pain relieving qualities of shockwave therapy and there is some indication that it can help slow progression of osteoarthritis.

What conditions benefit from Shock Wave therapy?


Soft tissue injury

Non-union fractures

After some orthopedic surgery to accelerate healing

Back Pain and Lumbosacral disease

Patients who do not tolerate pharmaceutical medication

How is the treatment performed? Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive (non-surgical) treatment. The probe is held against the area of treatment for the prescribed dose. Because it uses acoustic waves, as one might expect, there is a noise associated with each “shock wave.” It produces a fast, rhythmic and slightly percussive tick, tick, tick sound. Most pets tolerate the noise very well. Ultrasound gel (a water soluble but somewhat messy gel) is used between the skin and the probe to be sure good contact between the probe and your dog’s skin is achieved. Once dried, this can be brushed out. 

Is shockwave painful? Most animals tolerate the treatment well without requiring sedation. We always aim to providing a pain free treatment whenever possible however some pets/conditions may require sedation for the best treatment.

How often will my dog need shock wave treatment? The treatment protocol can vary, but commonly anywhere from one to four treatments, every 7-10 days and then as needed – sometimes never, sometimes every 6-12 months – your pet will be the best judge! 

How effective is Shock Wave therapy? Typically about 70% of pets have a remarkable response to the treatment. Another 15% have some improvement and 15% show no improvement. Shoulders, elbows, backs and hips seem to respond best to ESWT.

What should I expect after Shock Wave treatment? Your pet may be sore for a few days following treatment, though sometimes the opposite is true and the treatment produces a short-term anesthetic effect.

How much does Shock Wave therapy cost? Depending on your dog’s condition, the cost associated with a treatment can start at less than $100.00 per treatment/per site. We are happy to proved a more accurate estimate after we have seen your pet for an initial evaluation.