Have you heard of Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) Therapy? This cutting-edge non-invasive therapy is becoming more frequently requested by pet parents – and for good reason! It can be used in the management of a variety of acute and chronic issues in animals by delivering electric and magnetic fields into the tissues using inductive coils. The use of PEMF has accelerated over the past decade, however, PEMF devices have been used over the past 100 years for their therapeutic benefits.
Who can use PEMF therapy?
PEMF devices generate electromagnetic fields that have a positive affect on a variety of biological processes, making them an ideal solution for many health issues in humans, as well as both small and large animals. PEMF helps in the process of bone healing, promotes wound healing, has anti-microbial properties, and reduces pain, inflammation and edema. This therapy can be used as a stand-alone treatment or in conjunction with other treatments in veterinary care. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their use in humans to treat orthopaedic conditions, PEMF devices can provide the same benefits in animals as well, improving clinical outcomes.
Currently, PEMF equipment is only available with a prescription. Specialised PEMF therapy can only be administered by a veterinary practitioner or by a licensed therapist under direct supervision of a veterinarian.
A brief history of PEMF
Although PEMF has been used therapeutically for over a century, there was very little scientific evidence of its benefits until more recently. Over the past decade, scientific research has accelerated and, as a result, the use of PEMF devices has become more popular.
Earlier PEMF devices used radio-frequency electromagnetic waves to deliver heat deep into the tissues, and produced little to no heat. Later, non-thermal devices were introduced, which were supposed to help in wound healing and pain management. In the late 1970s, the implanted electrodes were replaced with non-invasive inductive antennas. These devices could successfully treat delayed and non-union fractures in dogs and humans. In the early 1980s, low-powered PEMF devices called bone growth stimulators (BGS) became U.S. FDA approved for human use. Later in the 1990s, PEMF devices were developed for treating soft tissue instead of bone.
Fast forward to the 2000s – a scientist developed a PEMF device called “targeted PEMF” which could successfully reduce inflammation. Hence, it became an FDA approved therapy for treating edema (swelling) and postoperative pain.
What are the uses of PEMF in animals?
PEMF can be used in the treatment of the following conditions in animals:
- Hip dysplasia
- degenerative joint disease
- Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
- Chronic wounds
- Swelling (edema)
- Post-operative pain
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Musculoskeletal or neurologic conditions
- Faster healing of traumatic injuries and surgical wounds
What are the benefits of PEMF in animals?
The benefits of PEMF therapy include:
- Non-invasive and safe
- Can be used in small and larger animals like horses
- Effective because it penetrates deep into all types of tissues, including bone
- Well-tolerated because it does not make sound or vibrations
- Can be delivered through devices, strips, beads, wraps, leg wraps, boots, harnesses, blankets, mats and pet beds, adding to comfort.
How effective is PEMF in animals?
PEMF Devices are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their use in humans to effectively treat orthopedic conditions such as certain bone fractures, plantar fasciitis, edema, post-operative pain and to promote faster wound healing. Veterinarians have had successful clinical outcomes in animals as well, with or without other adjunct treatments. There are several double-blind studies that have demonstrated the clinical benefits of PEMF in veterinary medicine.
Is PEMF safe?
PEMF is safe with no known side effects, and is well tolerated by animals. The size of the magnetic field used in PEMF therapy depends on the size of the animal, the condition being treated and the depth of tissue penetration required. Hence, specialized PEMF therapy is only administered by a veterinary practitioner or by a licensed therapist under direct supervision of a veterinarian, to ensure safety and efficacy.