Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy on Lower Back Pain

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Dalmatian dog sitting on a tree trunk


Lower back pain, or lumbosacral pain, is a leading cause of pain and early retirement in working and sporting dogs. Management of lumbosacral pain can involve medical and/or surgical treatment, but a large proportion of dogs (10-30%) will fail to improve. In dogs that improve, 3-27% have recurrence of their pain, regardless of initial treatment. Finding treatment modalities that are safe, non-invasive, and effective for lumbosacral pain is important. Shockwave therapy is a minimally invasive, inexpensive, safe modality used to treat numerous things including things like knee arthritis and shoulder injuries. There are a number of studies in humans that show significant improvement of lumbosacral pain in patients after shockwave therapy, and a recent study showed that it improved comfort in horses with back pain. However, no studies have been performed in dogs.

The purpose of this study is to determine whether extracorporeal shockwave therapy, which is a treatment that delivers a series of low-energy shock waves to a designed area, decreases low back pain in dogs diagnosed with clinically evident low back (lumbosacral) pain.

What qualifies my pet for this trial?

To participate in this clinical trial your pet must:

  • Any breed or gender; Weight 15kg to 40kg; Over 12 months of age
  • Clinically apparent pain in the caudal lumbar/sacral vertebral column, or pelvic limb lameness without orthopedic source.
  • Dogs should show clinical signs of pain such as lameness, weight shifting, altered vertebral positioning, or reluctance to jump/climb stairs.

What does enrolling in this clinical trial involve?

Each dog enrolled in the study will have a full pain assessment and gait analysis on a pressure sensitive walkway. Each dog will undergo sedation and have radiographs of the lumbar spine (lower back) performed. Imaging (radiographs) will only be performed once at the beginning of the study. A shockwave therapy treatment will then be performed over the lower back and dogs will be reversed from sedation. Each dog will receive three shockwave treatments 2 weeks apart on days 0, 14 and 28. On days 14 and 28 pain assessments and gait analysis will be performed, followed by sedation and the shockwave treatment. The sedation will then be reversed. A recheck for pain assessment and gait analysis will also be performed on day 60 with no sedation occurring at that visit.

Client Compensation

The cost of the initial evaluation ($150) will be paid for by the client. If enrolled in the study, radiographs will be paid for by the study. Three extracorporeal shockwave treatments and associated sedation will be paid for by the study. All rechecks, gait analyses, and pain assessments during the 60-day period will be paid for by the study.


Dr. Joanna Pogue
email: pogue.6@osu.edu

If you believe your pet may be eligible to enter this study,
please fill out a pre-screening questionnaire.

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