Objective—To measure alterations in lameness severity that occur following use of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) in horses with naturally occurring unilateral forelimb lameness.
Design—Nonrandomized clinical trial.
Animals—9 horses with unilateral forelimb lameness.
Procedures—Force platform gait analysis was performed prior to administration of any treatments (baseline) and after use of local anesthesia to eliminate the lameness. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy was then administered, and gait analysis was repeated 8 hours later and then daily for 7 days.
Results—Compared with the baseline value, peak vertical force was significantly increased 8 hours and 2 days after ESWT, and peak vertical force on day 2 was not significantly different from force measured after use of local anesthesia to eliminate the lameness. Similarly, vertical impulse was significantly increased, compared with the baseline value, 8 hours and 2 days after ESWT, but at all times, it was significantly lower than vertical impulse measured after use of local anesthesia.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that in horses with naturally occurring lameness, use of ESWT results in a period of acute improvement in lameness severity that typically persists for 2 days. Thus, in horses undergoing ESWT, exercise should be controlled for a minimum of 2 days after treatment to prevent further injury.