Sometimes the body needs a little help in getting better.
There are conservative options, such as physical therapy, orthotics, nutritional supplements, low-energy therapies (electrical energy, light energy/laser, and sound energy such as therapeutic ultrasound), and medications to further encourage healing.
There are also very aggressive options, such as various types of surgery.
Somewhere in between, we have the option of high-energy therapies (i.e. focused, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, or ESWT) and various regenerative therapies. Examples of regenerative therapies include platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapies, where some tissue or bodily fluid of the patient is removed, altered in some (hopefully) beneficial way, and re-injected to encourage an improvement. We can discuss that on some other blog…
Low-energy therapies and high-energy therapies tend to get lumped in together, but truly have different limitations and utilizations. Determining which is best to ensure quality healing (and possibly faster healing) is key.
Low-energy therapies are usually used in conjunction with more conservative treatment plans, and can be very effective – particularly when used ‘a little bit at a time’ over an extended treatment protocol. They are generally comfortable for the patient, do not require sedation or anesthesia, and used adjunctively with various types of physical therapy over a course of treatments and time period (anywhere from 5 – 10 treatments over a 2 – 4 week period).
High-energy focused sound wave therapy (shock wave) can be more impactful and is frequently utilized for patients where more conservative treatments have failed (or been regarded as unlikely to succeed). A more aggressive surgical option may not be beneficial or considered more than necessary. Shock wave treatments are usually delivered 1 – 3 times, 2-3 weeks apart. Like surgery, these treatments may require sedation or anesthesia due to the deep-penetration of the energy and ability to impact healing. Also like surgery, some of these treatments would benefit from follow-up rehabilitation.
When evaluating treatment options for your pet’s condition, there are a number of variables to consider, including likelihood of success, cost, potential adverse events, proven clinical results, and follow-up care requirements. Make sure that you research these variables to make the best choice and to help ensure the best possible outcome for your pet’s condition.