September 26, 2022 at 3:36 p.m.
As Pitterle studies to become a veterinary technician at Madison Area Technical College, she became interested in pulse electromagnetic frequency, or PEMF, and the ways it could benefit dairy cows.
“PEMF is something that has been popular for a while in the equine world, and my goal is to bring it to the forefront of therapies available for dairy cattle,” said Pitterle, of Watertown.
About a year ago, Pitterle invested in the equipment necessary to launch her business, Propulse PEMF LLC. Pitterle launched her business while attending classes at MATC and working at Smith-Crest Holsteins in Watertown.
According to Pitterle, the reasons to use PEMF as a treatment for dairy cattle are many.
“PEMF helps to increase blood flow to nerves and tissue,” Pitterle said. “It can help alleviate pain, soreness and inflammation. It also can relieve tension and knots that sometimes happen when animals are placed under stress or when traveling in trailers to shows, which can be very fatiguing for them.”
Pitterle said PEMF can also aid in improving digestion for dairy cows.
“It really gets their bowels moving and detoxifies their system,” Pitterle said. “They tend to drink a lot of water after a session, and that helps really flush out those toxins.”
According to Pitterle, PEMF can be particularly helpful for fresh cows, especially those with large amounts of edema present in their udder because of the increase in blood flow. Cows that are experiencing distress, even those that are down, can be helped with a PEMF session as well, Pitterle said.
“I have worked on two cows that have been down and have been able to help get them back up on their feet,” Pitterle said. “One had toxic mastitis, and in three sessions, she had streams of milk coming again from the quarter.”
Pitterle said she believes the therapy to be as beneficial to dairy cattle as it is to other species and hopes to build the awareness among dairy farmers that PEMF exists as an option to aid in cow care.
Most of Pitterle’s business thus far has come through word-of-mouth.
“I am finding that mostly dairy farmers are open-minded,” Pitterle said. “Someone they know shares their experience, and they are willing to give it a try. That has been a great validation, when someone sees it work and then shares that experience with others.”
Depending on the goals of the session and what the animal is presenting with, Pitterle caters each session to each animal, using a variety of paddles and ropes to apply the PEMF. Like people, animals have different levels of sensitivity and tolerance to PEMF, so Pitterle evaluates and adjusts the intensity based on the reaction of the animal.
“Most of the time I find them to be very relaxed while I am working on them,” Pitterle said. “They will chew their cud and doze a bit. I have had horses fall completely asleep.”
Each session lasts around 45 minutes, and Pitterle applies massage therapy in conjunction with the PEMF to help work knots and tension out of certain areas.
To become trained in PEMF, Pitterle completed an online certification course offered through MagnaWave, the Kentucky-based company that makes the PEMF machine Pitterle uses.
“I was able to complete the course online at my own pace, but I finished it in about a month,” Pitterle said. “The more I learned, the more excited I was to get started helping animals.”
While she trained and since she has started her business, Pitterle has worked closely with Dr. Janelle Remington-Schmitt, a Watertown-based chiropractor who specializes in animal chiropractic care. Pitterle plans to improve her services and has plans of taking a class that will instruct her in specialized massage techniques for animals.
While she has been growing her business, Pitterle attends many cattle shows and fairs. She said she can share more about the benefits of PEMF with those who might become potential clients.
“I have been getting very busy this summer before shows and fairs,” Pitterle said. “More people are learning about what I am doing and are curious to see how it might benefit their own animals.”
Pitterle hopes those experiences will lead to dairy farmers bringing her to their farms to bring those benefits to cows that might be facing challenges to their health. She has been traveling throughout Wisconsin and into Minnesota and Illinois to bring PEMF therapy to farms.
“Cows are such large and complex animals; their skeletal systems are so expansive, and they carry so much weight,” Pitterle said. “Like us, sometimes they require some additional maintenance to keep everything running as it should, and I am so happy to be able to provide that extra help for them.”
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