Therapeutic laser treatment has been thought to be one of the most underutilized treatment methods available in veterinary medicine. Technology is rapidly advancing, and laser therapy is becoming more accepted as a pain management tool that’s also capable of speeding the healing process within the body. This surgery-free, drug-free, and non-invasive form of treatment is an excellent modality to help pets who cannot safely undergo anesthesia or handle medication.
What is a therapeutic laser?
Similar to acupuncture and massage, laser therapy reduces pain, improves circulation, and promotes healing. Instead of an acupuncture needle or pressure upon certain points, laser therapy uses light, or photons, to accomplish these medical goals. Unlike a laser that cuts during surgical procedures, therapy lasers are instead used to encourage healing.
How does a therapeutic laser work?
Therapeutic lasers aid in adjusting cellular functions through photobiomodulation, a process in which photons from a laser interact with targeted cells to either stimulate or inhibit biochemical processes. Fuel production for body cells is stimulated during photon transmission. This fuel, known as ATP, is what cells require for repair and rejuvenation. Damaged cells do not produce ATP at an optimal rate. Increasing the fuel needed for a cell to restore itself leads to drastically reduced healing times.
What can a therapeutic laser be used for?
If there is pain, inflammation, swelling, or infection present, a therapeutic laser can aid in healing. In almost any medical situation, laser therapy provides an excellent complement to other treatments.
Treatment of cancers with therapy laser is not advised because treatment can stimulate cancer cells to grow and divide more rapidly.
Laser therapy can be instituted to aid in treating the following conditions:
- Surgical incisions
- Tooth extractions
- Degenerative joint disease
- Ear infections
- Skin wounds
- Muscle, tendon, or ligament injuries
- Nerve damage
- Lick granulomas
- Animals unable to take medication due to organ dysfunction or species
- Animals difficult to medicate, such as cats or exotic pets
What are the benefits of a therapeutic laser?
With minimal side effects, laser therapy is a wonderful addition to a multimodal treatment plan. Paired with acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage, hydrotherapy, medications, and supplements, therapeutic lasers maximize health benefits. They are known to:
- Stimulate the release of endorphins
- Cause vasodilation, improving blood flow
- Promote lymphatic flow
- Flush out inflammatory cells
- Accelerate tissue repair
- Reduce scar tissue formation
- Improve nerve function
With minimal side effects, therapeutic lasers can be safely used in pets with heart, kidney, and liver disease. For the pet owner looking for a more natural way to alleviate her pet’s medical condition, or when traditional medical therapy is just not enough, consider adding laser therapy.
What is expected during a laser therapy session?
During a laser therapy session, we strive to make your pet as relaxed and comfortable as possible, providing a soft, padded surface to rest upon while the treatment is performed. Depending on the condition and how many areas require treatment, most sessions last from 5 to 15 minutes. Fortunately, there is no need to remove the hair from the area being treated, so we won’t need to shave your pet. And, since this procedure is not invasive, there is no need for anesthesia. The majority of pets tend to relax during laser therapy due to the soothing warmth provided by the laser. Immediate pain relief may also be felt due to the decrease in inflammation and the release of endorphins.
How many laser therapy sessions are required for treatment?
Although improvement is often seen after the first visit, multiple treatments may be required depending on your pet’s medical condition. Laser treatments are cumulative, and the benefits increase after each treatment, leading to a greater improvement in your companion’s condition after each visit. If your pet has a chronic condition, such as arthritis, treatments are performed on an as-needed basis. Some pets may need to be seen weekly, while others might require a monthly boost. Some pets may need to be treated two or three times per week, while others might require a weekly boost. Differing conditions will require different courses of treatment. A treatment plan will be updated after reviewing the progress following each session to maximize healing benefits.
Think your pet could benefit from therapeutic laser treatments? Give us a call to schedule an appointment.