Doctors and veterinarians have used therapy lasers for decades in human and equine medicine, especially for healing athletes’ sports injuries. Now, laser therapy has advanced for cats and dogs, and we are excited to offer this innovative treatment. Laser therapy works on a cellular level, essentially removing the bad cells and stimulating the good. We use the therapy in our hospital to treat a variety of acute or chronic conditions, to manage pain, and as an integral part of recovery from surgeries or injuries.
What is a therapy laser?
Therapy lasers use a process called photobiomodulation to reduce pain and inflammation and speed healing. Photobiomodulation delivers a therapeutic dose of light to impaired tissue to stimulate the body’s cells to repair the damage. Therapy lasers are not the same as cutting lasers—they are cold lasers or low-level lasers, but they can burn if kept on the same spot for too long.
Therapy lasers work to reduce inflammation and pain by vasodilation, or opening the blood vessels, and activating the lymphatic drainage system to ease swollen areas. Once the swelling decreases, pain also decreases. Laser therapy also works to block the nerve signals that transmit pain to the brain. In addition to blocking pain nerve signals, therapy lasers stimulate endorphin production, which helps your pet feel better. This innovative treatment is a non-invasive, surgery-free, and drug-free method to reduce your pet’s pain and inflammation and promote healing.
What veterinary conditions can a therapy laser help?
Laser therapy can be used in almost every situation, except near tumors, testicles, eyes, actively bleeding areas, and growth plates, and in pregnant pets. We use our therapy laser for:
- Sprains and strains
- Dental procedures
- Surgical incisions
- Degenerative joint disease
- Lick granulomas
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Bladder inflammation
- Anal gland impaction
What can you expect during your pet’s laser therapy session?
We use every available method to help heal your pet, and we welcome cutting-edge technology to improve our skills. The laser therapy process is fairly simple and requires only that your pet sits relatively still and relaxes during treatment.
- There’s no need to shave your pet. We don’t need to visualize the skin to perform a laser treatment, so even the fluffiest pet does not need to be shaved. Our laser software allows us to correctly calculate the dosage needed for your pet’s specific measurements. We can choose between canine and feline patients, body weight, hair length, skin color, and treatment for an acute or chronic issue.
- We don’t need to anesthetize your pet for laser therapy. Laser treatment is non-invasive and does not require anesthesia. We take advantage of surgical recovery periods to treat a surgical incision, but that is unnecessary for future sessions. Nervous or anxious pets will always benefit from a mild sedative when visiting the veterinary clinic, and we may recommend you give your pet an oral sedative at home to relax and settle her down for her treatment.
- Your pet’s therapy session may be long or short. Your pet’s condition determines the session time. For example, a pet with an infected anal gland may take only a few minutes to treat, whereas a large Labrador suffering from hip dysplasia and knee pain will need a half-hour session. Acute issues require less treatment time but more frequent sessions, while the opposite is recommended for chronic conditions.
- You may notice that your pet improves immediately. Each pet responds differently to treatment. Pets suffering from crippling osteoarthritis pain may walk out of our hospital a little more easily, even after the first treatment. On the other hand, they may be mildly stiffer, since they sat for their session for a long time. Laser therapy is a cumulative treatment, where the benefits build on each previous session.
- Your pet may require daily or weekly treatments. Acute injuries benefit from daily sessions. We likely will recommend daily visits for wound healing, surgical incision repair, ear hematomas, or anal gland inflammation, while chronic issues often require a loading period with weekly sessions for the first three or four treatments. Osteoarthritis patients do best with weekly sessions until they’re comfortable, and then tune-up sessions to keep arthritis pain at bay.
Do you think your pet may be a candidate for a non-invasive form of healing? Give us a call to see if your furry friend can benefit from laser therapy.