Cold laser therapy is a new innovation for treating canine and feline acute conditions (wounds, tissue trauma, sprains, etc.) and chronic conditions (degenerative joint disease, lick granulomas, arthritis, etc.).
This type of therapy is also used to treat post-surgical patients as it significantly increases the formation of new capillaries in damaged tissue, which results in more rapid wound closure while reducing scar-tissue development. With no typical unwanted side effects, cold laser therapy is a noninvasive way to treat pets without the use of prescription drugs.
Cold laser therapy can also be used to enhance treatments that have already been recommended by your veterinarian.
It involves the use of a beam of laser light that travels at a frequency to allow it to create heat and penetrate deeply into the tissue without damaging it. This therapy induces a response in the cells called “photo bio-modulation,” which leads to reduced pain and inflammation, as well as helping to increase healing speed.
The laser light is delivered through a hand piece that is placed on the affected area and applied in a “basket-weave” motion. The pet receiving the treatment will feel gentle warmth, and most treatments can take as little as two minutes.
One of our patients, Josie, a 13-year-old chocolate Labrador, has had immense improvement since starting a cold-laser-therapy regimen. Prior to receiving the laser treatments, she was tripping and falling down a lot — her rear legs, especially, not moving as they should. After a few weeks of laser therapy, Josie’s range of motion and quality of life were much better.
Another patient that receives laser therapy is Merlin. Merlin, an extremely happy, 12-year-old black Labrador, has been doing excellent since starting the treatment. He goes straight back to the treatment area with a big smile on his face every session.
Cash, a regal 13-year-old Australian shepherd, was, at one point, unable to climb the stairs to his home so he was carried up and down stairs for his laser treatment. Eventually, he received laser treatments at home because of his mobility issue.
While it may seem that laser therapy is mostly for the dogs, cold laser can be administered on cats, too. Neferkitty was seen for a severe wound that required surgical repair. We were concerned with nerve damage causing pain, so we added cold laser therapy to her post-operative care. After several sessions with the cold laser, Neferkitty’s trauma has healed, with little to no scar.
Of course, treatment protocols are unique to each patient and their diagnosed condition; therefore, laser therapy treatments vary in time, cost and complexity.
MEGAN L. FOUCH is the office manager at the Madison Park Veterinary Hospital (www.madisonparkvet.com).
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