In veterinary medicine, therapeutic laser therapy (called photobiomodulation) can relieve both acute and chronic pain in dogs and cats by targeting involved nerves that send pain signals to the brain. The way laser energy works are that it increases the speed of tissue repair by increasing circulation in the problem area, at the same time stimulating the immune system and reducing swelling and inflammation. Laser therapy uses light waves of a specific wavelength to alter the body’s cells and tissues, and when the light is absorbed by the cells, electrons are activated and work to promote cell growth, and repair. Laser therapy for dogs can also aid muscle healing, and speed up post-operative recovery.
How Can Laser Therapy Help My Dog or Cat?
Laser therapy can help dogs and cats in a variety of ways:
- Muscle relaxation
- Reduced inflammation
- Release of endorphins
- Edema and tissue swelling
- Vasodilation increases blood flow to tissues and speeds up the healing
- Decreased inflammation
- Decreased pain
- Wound healing
- Post-operative surgical healing
- Osteoarthritis and joint issues
- Tendon and ligament injuries
- Muscle injuries/trauma
- Nervous system injury/surgery
- Increased metabolic activity
- Improved nerve function
- Reduced fibrous/scar tissue formation
What Other Conditions Can Laser Therapy for Dogs Treat?
Laser therapy for dogs is used for many veterinary medical conditions in dogs and cats, including:
- Chronic arthritis
- Pets with liver/hepatic disease who cannot tolerate certain medications
- Pain management in cats
- Exotic pets where administration of oral medications is difficult
- Geriatric dogs and cats with reduced organ function or metabolic disease
- Ulcerations and open wounds
- Back pain
- Neuromuscular disease
- Acute and Chronic Ear Infections
What Happens During Laser Treatment for My Dog or Cat?
A typical treatment session involves the technician or veterinarian getting your cat or dog in a comfortable position. Protective eyewear is provided to prevent eye injury to both technician, the client, and even your pet. A handheld laser is moved back and forth over the damaged tissue, producing a warm sensation that most pets can find pleasant and relaxing. A typical session runs 15 to 30 minutes. Repeated sessions may be needed depending on the nature of the injury or condition. Chronic conditions may be treated once a week, whereas surgical incisions and open wounds often require daily treatment.
Laser therapy sessions for post-operative surgical sites are generally done once after surgery. Sessions that target wounds, ulcerations, or infections typically only need one session. For dogs and cats with more chronic or severe pain, a series of treatments is recommended, and as mentioned above, the treatment varies with the condition. For example, for chronic low back pain or arthritis, veterinarians may recommend six treatments once a week. If a dog or cat with a chronic condition has responded well to weekly laser treatments, the veterinarian may recommend extending the treatment visits to bi-monthly or monthly. Laser treatment for dogs and cats are cumulative, and each additional treatment offers a greater improvement in your pet’s condition.
Human patients who receive laser treatments say that they have experienced a warm feeling in the treatment area. We know that laser treatments release endorphins, and many dogs and cats will relax during and after treatment. Laser treatments do not require sedation, and pets don’t need to have their hair clipped. The majority of pets will show improvement from 12 to 24 hours after a treatment.
Is Laser Therapy Safe for My Dog and Cat?
Laser therapy for dogs and cats has no known side effects and is considered both safe and effective across the veterinary industry.
Laser therapy is a non-invasive, non-surgical technique that has been shown to adequately treat pain in humans for over 50 years, and it works just as well in dogs and cats. And since laser therapy works by using a penetrating light to stimulate and accelerate your pet’s natural healing ability, there is no need for needles or incisions, and no significant recovery time. If you would like to learn more about laser therapy for dogs or cats, contact your veterinarian in North Hollywood at (818) 980-1313 for more information.