Therapeutic Ultrasound

Therapeutic ultrasound has been used by physical therapists as a treatment modality since the 1940’s. Around 1970, veterinarian’s discovered that the healing benefits of therapeutic ultrasound could help animals heal as well. In an animal’s case, most people may be familiar with the use of diagnostic ultrasound as a way to diagnose problems or injuries but therapeutic ultrasound can be used to facilitate enhance and facilitate healing.


The benefits of therapeutic ultrasound are the same for humans and animals alike. The ultrasound produces waves that are applied by moving the head of the ultrasound unit during the course of the treatment, either in small circles or in a straight line in the direction of the tissues being treated. When using therapeutic ultrasound, sound waves pass through the skin which causes a vibration within the surrounding tissues. This vibration is heat-producing helping penetrate deep into injured tissues. The side-effects of therapeutic heat are:

  • Increase in the flexibility of ligaments, tendons, scar tissue and joint capsules
  • Reduction in pain and muscle spasms
  • Improve the healing of injured tissue

 The reason therapeutic ultrasound is a popular modality is because it is non-invasive in addition to being effective in treating pain and swelling. However, ultrasound therapy is contraindicated for use on animals that have orthotic implants (such as hip replacements), bone plates (for fracture repair), pregnancy or over growth plates in young animals.