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  • Author or Editor: Isabel Imboden x
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Objective—To evaluate the effects of shock wave treatment on cutaneous nerve function, compared with the effects of local nerve block and sedation.

Animals—18 clinically sound Swiss Warmbloods.

Procedure—Horses were randomly allocated to 3 groups and received different amounts and types of shock waves (extracorporeal shock wave treatment [ESWT] or radial pressure wave treatment [RPWT]). Horses were sedated with xylazine and levomethadone. Shock waves were applied to the lateral palmar digital nerve at the level of the proximal sesamoid bones on 1 forelimb. Skin sensitivity was evaluated by means of an electrical stimulus at the coronary band before and 5 minutes after sedation and at 4, 24, and 48 hours after application of ESWT or RPWT. On the contralateral forelimb, skin sensitivity was tested before and 10 minutes after an abaxial sesamoid nerve block.

Results—No significant changes in skin sensitivity were detected, regardless of the shock wave protocol applied. Mean reaction thresholds after sedation were more than twice the baseline thresholds. After the abaxial sesamoid block, no reaction was recorded in any of the horses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Application of ESWT or RPWT to the palmar digital nerve had no effect on cutaneous sensation distal to the treated region for at least 2 days after application. The analgesic effect of sedation on reaction to electrical stimuli was distinct but varied among horses. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:2095–2100)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine via histologic examination and scintigraphy the effect of focused extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) on normal bone and the bone-ligament interface in horses.

Animals—6 horses without lameness.

Procedure—Origins of the suspensory ligament at the metacarpus (35-mm probe depth) and fourth metatarsal bone (5-mm probe depth) were treated twice (days 0 and 16) with 2,000 shocks (energy flux density, 0.15 mJ/mm2). One forelimb and 1 hind limb were randomly treated, and the contralateral limbs served as nontreated controls. Bone scans were performed on days −1 (before ESWT), 3, 16, and 19. Histomorphologic studies of control and treated tissues were performed on day 30.

Results—ESWT significantly increased the number of osteoblasts but caused no damage to associated soft tissue structures and did not induce cortical microfractures. A significant correlation between osteoblast numbers and radiopharmaceutical uptake was noticed on lateral views of the hind limb on days 3 and 16 and on caudal views of the forelimb on day 3.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that ESWT has the potential to increase osteoblast numbers in horses. The correlation between increased osteoblast numbers and radio-pharmaceutical uptake 3 days and 16 days after the first ESWT suggested that stimulation of osteogenesis occurred soon after ESWT. No damage to bone or the bone-ligament interface should occur at the settings used in this study, and ESWT can therefore be administered safely in horses.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research