When your pet is dealing with chronic pain, alternative medical treatments are available to ease your pet’s discomfort and help them heal. For example, therapeutic lasers are a non-invasive and pain-free way to treat your pet’s pain. During laser therapy light waves target damaged tissue and stimulate the cells to promote healing.
Laser Therapy and How It Works
Laser therapy uses deep-penetrating light to stimulate cell regeneration and increase blood circulation, encouraging injured cells to heal more quickly. Low Laser or Cold Laser therapy treats the skin’s surface, like wound healing and skin irritations, while hot laser treatments affect deeper tissue disorders.
The most common forms of laser therapy are Class 3 and Class 4 lasers. The higher the power of the laser, the shorter the time needed to deliver a particular dose of energy into the animal’s tissues.
Laser therapy is a treatment that relieves a pet’s pain, helps to repair tissue, and helps alleviate discomfort. The benefits of laser therapy include the following:
- Release endorphins
- Relax muscles
- Better blood flow
- Decrease inflammation
- Increased collagen production
- Improved lymphatic flow
What Disorders Can Laser Therapy Treat?
- Muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries
- Post-surgical and soft tissue trauma, including healing surgical incisions
- Back pain
- Hip Dysplasia
- Knee pain and CCL tears
- Chronic ear infections
- Hot Spots and open wounds
- Arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Degenerative disc disease and IVDD
- Anal gland infections
The Benefits of Laser Therapy
It may be surprising, but many animals find laser treatments soothing. Laser therapy is pain-free and is a relaxing process that gently warms the area, which can calm dogs.
Laser therapy targets a specific area, allowing the technician to focus on where your pet’s pain radiates. Joint pain and orthopedic issues are the most common problems that benefit from this type of therapy, but lasers can also relieve muscle pain, treat sprains, and help wounds heal.
How Can Laser Treatments Help My Dogs Mobility?
Cold Laser therapy is the best option to increase mobility in dogs. In fact, laser therapy is even beneficial for paralyzed pets. In some cases, after undergoing treatments dogs have regained leg function and able to walk again.
The laser combats inflammation by causing vasodilation or opening blood vessels to increase blood flow. In addition, laser therapy will trigger the lymphatic drainage system, where immune cells live! An increase in immune cells will stimulate healing. The result is a reduction in swelling or inflammation which means a decrease in pain.
Older dogs dealing with arthritis pain will often have laser therapy because of its pain-relieving benefits for senior dogs. However, a dog or cat dealing with inflammation may require an extended treatment plan. How long your dog will require treatment will vary by condition but plan that your dog will need multiple sessions over several weeks.
For paralyzed pets or those dealing with leg weakness, a dog wheelchair can be used during your pet’s therapy session to help them stand upright throughout their laser treatment.
When Will I See Results?
Most dogs will see a noticeable impact after the very first treatment. However, it may take several sessions to see significant improvements in your dog’s mobility. Depending on your pup’s condition, your Vet may recommend more or less frequent treatments, and generally, the treatment will last 3 to 10 minutes per side on your dog.
It’s quite common for pets to need multiple laser treatments. Laser therapy’s benefits are cumulative, meaning the positive benefits will increase over time throughout the sessions. Alternative therapy can take time, and dogs with chronic conditions may require weekly treatments.
Are There Any Side Effects?
There are no adverse effects from laser therapy when performed correctly. Canine laser treatments are widely used in the veterinary field and are considered safe.
Inappropriate use of higher-power lasers or excessive duration of treatment can result in thermal tissue damage. This is very rare, and since the laser is only ever handled by a trained veterinary professional, this is unlikely. A pregnant dog should never undergo this treatment as the laser can cause miscarriage. Dogs with cancer should proceed with caution. Pointing the laser at a cancerous growth may speed up the cancer cell growth.
These complications make it very important to discuss alternative treatments with your veterinarian and always research the laser clinic to be confident in their skills.