Chiropractic Care and Shockwave Therapy for Horses

Musculoskeletal disorders are extremely common in performance horses. Partly because horses are expected to work, perform, and carry a rider, putting significant strain on the bones and muscles. Forelimb pain, osteoarthritis, tendinitis, and ligament sprain are all examples of this. 

These issues can not only cause lameness and poor performance, but they can also cause excruciating pain in your horses. These issues, however, are treatable. Chiropractic Care and Shockwave Therapy are two of the most popular treatments for musculoskeletal disorders right now.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractic care is a comprehensive approach to treating joint disease. It aims to restore normal joint motion, stimulate neurologic reflexes, and alleviate pain and muscle spasms. Trauma, overuse, or underuse can develop problems with the vertebrae, and even healthy horses can benefit well from realignment. However, the most common reasons horse owners seek chiropractic services are persistent pain and poor performance. 

Because the neurological system controls both mobility and pain, chiropractic services can be very helpful in enhancing mobility and reducing suffering. Other reported benefits of chiropractic care include improved immune function, a healthy metabolism, and a faster rate of recovery. 

Chiropractic care can also be used to improve gait and performance in horses. Gait abnormalities can overwork or injure musculoskeletal tissues and applying chiropractic adjustments early on can help prevent them.

The following are examples of equine behavioral issues that may respond to chiropractic care:

  • discomfort when saddling or riding
  • standing in an abnormal position
  • hollowing down the rear when cycling 
  • Bucking, tail wringing, and head tossing
  • jumping resistance or refusal, lateral work, and collection
  • asymmetry and muscle atrophy


Chiropractic adjustments aren’t only beneficial to performance horses. It can also benefit foals, older horses, mares that have recently given birth, and even small animals like dogs and cats. Before beginning routine chiropractic treatment, serious diseases requiring conventional veterinary medical care must be ruled out and treated. Chiropractic care, on the other hand, aids in the rehabilitation of most post-surgical cases or severe medical conditions by assisting in the restoration of normal musculoskeletal function.

Shockwave Therapy

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy or ESWT is a non-invasive procedure that uses high-energy waves to help horses with musculoskeletal disorders or bone and soft tissue injuries heal more quickly. Shockwave treatments help your horse’s back and many lower limb lamenesses and produce excellent results every time. 

It has been shown to improve blood flow, reduce pain, stimulate tissue regeneration, and encourage the formation of new blood vessels. ESWT was first utilized in human medicine to treat several musculoskeletal ailments including tendon injuries, splints, suspensory ligament injuries, back discomfort, and more. 

What to expect during your appointment

A typical shockwave therapy session lasts approximately ten minutes. To ensure the animal’s comfort and avoid distress, a short-acting sedative is usually administered. Shaving the fur in the treated area of a dog or other furry animal may be necessary. 

Oftentimes, the results are almost immediate but it usually takes 24 hours to see the full effect. A number of sessions may be required for certain conditions in conjunction with other therapies like chiropractic care and acupuncture. 

Don’t let your horses suffer! 

If your horses or pets are showing signs of chronic pain from musculoskeletal disorders and bone and soft tissue injuries, call your trusted vets at Bannon Woods Veterinary Hospital right away. We have complementary therapies to liberate your horses from pain and suffering and make them the healthiest they can possibly be.