Therapy lasers are seen more commonly in veterinary practices across the country, including our own hospital. While we use pharmaceutical therapy for many pets, not all animals are candidates for medication. To help heal every pet possible, we have turned to different treatment methods and modalities, and have purchased a therapy laser that has done so much good for pets suffering with arthritis, non-healing wounds, and muscle and ligament injuries. As veterinary medicine continues to advance, we strive to be at the forefront to provide innovative care to our beloved patients.
How a therapy laser works
Most pet owners are familiar with surgical lasers used to cut or cauterize tissue, but are less aware of lasers used for healing. These lasers used to be differentiated as “cold lasers” or “low level lasers,” but this terminology is now outdated. Therapy lasers work differently than surgical lasers through the photobiomodulation process. All lasers use light wavelengths to perform a specific task, but therapy lasers focus on stimulating the body’s natural healing response. A therapy laser used for its photobiomodulation properties either stimulates or inhibits biochemical pathways to aid in patient healing or pain relief.
Laser therapy is used to:
- Increase circulation
- Reduce swelling
- Reduce central nervous system damage following a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury
- Reduce muscle spasms
- Enhance tissue healing
- Reduce stiffness
- Slow the effects of degenerative conditions
- Reduce pain
- Stimulate nerve healing
- Reduce inflammation
As we use our therapy laser more frequently, we find new ways to take advantage of its healing benefits. Almost every condition can be helped with increased blood and nutrient flow to an affected area.
How a therapy laser can help your pet
Therapy lasers provide all pets with numerous benefits. Our therapy laser helps us administer drug-free, surgery-free, and pain-free healing treatment. In our hospital, we use our laser frequently for the following conditions:
- Ear infections
- Anal gland impactions
- Tooth extractions
- Ear hematomas
- Intervertebral disc disease
- Surgical incisions
- Wound healing
- Chronic sores, such as lick granulomas
- Hip dysplasia
- Cranial cruciate ligament injuries
- Bladder inflammation
- Inflammatory bowel disease
You may be wondering what a therapy laser cannot heal. We avoid using laser therapy only in pregnant animals and patients with tumors.
What you can expect during your pet’s therapy laser session
Unlike surgery, a therapy laser session does not require anesthesia or sedation. Some pets may be anxious and restless because they are in a veterinary hospital, but they usually calm down when they realize nothing frightening is happening. We try to ensure your pet can lie down in a comfortable position for treatment, especially for conditions that require a longer session, such as osteoarthritis management.
When we formulate a therapy laser treatment plan, we first determine whether the condition is acute or chronic.
- Acute conditions can profit from daily sessions, especially if significant pain is involved. We may perform daily sessions for wound healing, broken limb repair, surgical incision healing, or severe inflammation cases. Acute conditions may only require one or two sessions before we see improvement.
- Chronic conditions are initially treated two to three times per week and then tapered down. For example, osteoarthritis cases may require twice-weekly sessions for the first month, and then monthly sessions. We usually treat chronic conditions until the pet is comfortable and use “tune-up” sessions when a pet shows signs of discomfort again. Your pet may need several sessions to improve her condition, but each treatment is cumulative and builds on the previous session.
Therapy laser can be used safely with other forms of treatment, including acupuncture, chiropractic care, medicinal therapy, massage, and physical therapy. A therapy laser used with other forms of therapy is ideal to maximize the healing powers for your pet.
If you think your pet may have a medical condition that will benefit from a therapy laser treatment, schedule an appointment to reap the healing effects for your furry friend.