Therapeutic laser is a non-invasive, drug-free treatment that will reduce pain and inflammation while speeding the healing process. At Animal Care Clinic, therapeutic laser is an integral part of our treatment of:
- all wounds and abscesses
- “hot spots”
- post-operative incisions
- post-extraction of teeth
- arthritis, tendonitis and other orthopedic issues
- hip and elbow dysplasia
- ACL and other knee injuries
- back and neck pain
- acute soft tissue injuries
- lick granulomas
- ear infections
- anal sac disease
- anything where inflammation is involved
What is Therapeutic Laser Therapy?
Laser is in essence a focused light beam. With low level therapeutic laser, the light beam penetrates into the cells and stimulates structures within the cell to encourage the healing process – thus the name photobiomodulation: using light (photo) to effect (modulation) living tissue (bio)! The stimulated tissues respond by increasing blood supply to the area and dilating vessels which increases oxygen delivery to the tissues. It also leads to the release of “cytokines” which bring immune cells to the area and thus stimulate healing. You may have heard of surgical lasers, these are high energy and very different from therapeutic lasers. A surgical laser is designed to cut through tissue, while a therapeutic laser will do no harm at all. In fact, therapeutic laser cannot be felt at all aside from a mild warming sensation on the surface.
How is Photobiomodulation performed?
Because therapeutic laser therapy actually feels good, animals learn to relax during treatments and no sedation is required! After an ACC DVM develops the proper protocol, one of our nursing team members will sit with your pet and direct a hand held wand over the area of concern. For wounds and incision the wand is held just over the skin. For orthopedic conditions, the wand is pressed lightly into the tissue. There is no discomfort involved at all and you are welcome to be present during all treatments. Wounds and similar skin lesions are usually treated in under a minute and may only need 1-3 sessions. Orthopedic issues may take longer, but generally only about 5 minutes per site. These treatments may be three times a week for a few weeks or may benefit from lifelong intermittent therapy.
Can Photobiomodulation hurt?
Therapeutic laser can cause issues in 2 ways. First – it is very damaging to the eye. The laser should never be pointed directly at the eye. To be 100% sure that you and your pet are safe, everyone gets to wear cool laser safe eyewear during treatments. The dogs and cats wear their own “Doggles!” Secondly, we do not use laser on suspected cancerous lesions. Increasing the blood supply to a tumor could increase its ability to spread, and we sure do not want to do that!
Click to learn how photobiomodulation helped “Stevie Nicks” recover after orthopedic surgery.