07/02/2002 11:00PM

California restricts shock use

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The California Horse Racing Board has restricted the use of shock wave therapy, which is sometimes used to treat orthopedic injuries to racehorses.

Effective July 24, opening day of the Del Mar meeting, horses receiving shock wave therapy cannot be entered for the next seven days. In addition, shock wave therapy machines must be registered with the official veterinarian and can be operated only by veterinarians. Shock wave therapy treatments must be confidentially reported to the official veterinarian.

"It's considered a practice of medicine," said B. William Bell, a CHRB veterinarian. "Anything like that can only be done by a veterinarian."

The treatment is used as a pain reliever for bones and soft tissue and has been used on people for conditions such as tennis elbow, kidney stones, and gallstones. Veterinarians have expressed concern that shock wave therapy, whose effects can last for as many as five days, has been used to mask pain on raceday.