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VersaTron Shock Wave Therapy Use in Young Horses

Optimizing the training of young horses at an early age is crucial to their performance and can determine the value of the horse in the immediate future.  Unfortunately, pushing a young horse to improve their performance can also cause injuries caused by the stress of increasing their work load.  The most common injuries at this stage include suspensory ligament desmitis, stress fractures, splints, fetlock problems, and subchondral bone cysts.  These injuries will need to be addressed immediately and aggressively to return the horse to work as quickly as possible.

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is a safe and timely treatment option to use for young horses.  This non-invasive treatment can be used to stimulate healing by using energy waves that are transmitted through the skin to reach deeper anatomical structures.  The VersaTron shock wave device is a reliable treatment for common injuries seen in young horses due to conditioning and training. Even though people associate the term “shock wave” with electrical shock, it’s actually a physics term used to describe a high energy impulse or sound wave (like the sound of a gun firing or thunder).  When it comes to your young equine patient, we know safety is a concern and a top priority.  For over 15 years, VersaTron’s technology has been clinically proven through extensive research to be safe and effective.  The VersaTron is used at more veterinary universities worldwide, and it is also the Official Shock Wave technology of the United States Equestrian Federation.

Suspensory ligament injuries are one of the most common injuries seen in the equine veterinary world today, and it has also been reported as the injury most commonly treated with the VersaTron high energy shock wave device.  Shock wave technology creates a more rapid healing time than any other alternative.  Dr. Larry Matheny reports that “shock wave treatment increases blood flow to areas of the lower limb, such as the suspensory ligaments, that have a limited blood supply, resulting in significantly decreased healing times.”

Splints and stress fractures are also common among race horses and young horses due to the stress on bones that are not fully developed.  The VersaTron can speed up the healing process, enabling the young horse to recover at a faster rate, and decreasing the resting period.

While shock wave therapy can help speed healing and return horses to work more quickly, it is important to note that various state racing commissions have established regulations for when shock wave therapy can be used prior to racing and breezing.  Please check with your local racing commission to obtain information on withdrawal periods.

For more information on treating young horses with VersaTron shock wave therapy, please see our white paper here, and to find a veterinarian in your area who offers shock wave therapy you can view our vet locator here.