shock wave therapy

Shock wave therapy offers many benefits, including helping treat soft tissue and bone injuries and musculoskeletal problems. It might have an analgesic (pain-relieving) effect, as well. If you are competing at a United States Equestrian sanctioned event, review the current guidelines regarding the use of shock wave before the competition so you can avoid violating drug rules.

Stephen Schumacher, DVM, head of the Drugs and Medication department at United States Equestrian, said there have not been any substantial changes to the shock wave guidelines over the past few years.

“This treatment modality is only to be done by, or on the order of, a licensed veterinarian,” he explained. “The rule was initially promulgated because shock wave therapy has the potential to provide analgesia, and we believe it’s important that it be addressed in the rulebook to ensure the safety of competing horses and athletes.”

Here are the current guidelines:

2022 USEF Guidelines & Rules for Drugs and Medications

GR 414 Prohibited Practices

  1. Shock wave therapy may only be administered by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. If sedation is required for shock wave therapy, only sedation performed by a licensed veterinarian and administered at the same time as the shock wave therapy will be considered therapeutic and GR411 will apply. No sedation associated with shock wave therapy will be considered therapeutic if administered within 24 hours prior to competition. No horse may be treated with shock wave therapy within the 3 days preceding competition with the following exception:
  2. Shock wave therapy may be administered by a licensed veterinarian within the 3-day prohibited period, but no closer than 12 hours prior to competing, and is limited to application to the back and dorsal pelvis areas. No shock wave therapy is permitted within the 12 hours prior to competing. This exception is permitted only when the “Trainer” as defined under GR404 properly files, or causes to be properly filed, an Equine Drugs and Medications Report Form within one hour after the administration of shock wave therapy.

Read about the other regulations on drugs, medications, and therapies in the current 2022 USEF guidebook.