The Ultimate Holistic Approach to Supporting Injuries and Illness in Pets
Laser therapy is a fairly new treatment in the veterinary industry to help manage pain, inflammation, and the healing of wounds in pets. Cold laser therapy is considered a holistic approach to a pet’s rehabilitation due to no medications being involved in these therapeutic treatments, and it can be used in conjunction with orthopedic bracing for recovery at home. Additionally, because it has no pharmaceuticals involved, it will not create any risk of negative drug interactions.
There are four classes of lasers currently identifiable based on their wavelengths:
- Class 1 lasers: are safe for daily use such as scanning devices.
- Class 2 lasers: produce visible light and are commonly used in laser pointers.
- Class 3 lasers: most common application is therapeutic lasers.
- Class 4 lasers: commonly used in surgical lasers that can cut and cauterize tissues.
Therapeutic lasers use light waves of a specific wavelength to alter the physiology of the affected tissues. The light emitted by these lasers throughout treatment will help to stimulate the cells within the tissues and allows for faster cellular regeneration. Several conditions have been shown to improve with the use of laser therapy including muscle and joint pain, arthritis symptoms, healing of surgical incisions, ligament and tendon injuries, and muscle spasms.
The wavelength of the laser used will determine the tissue that can be affected. Most used lasers emit near-infrared light with the use of lower wavelength lasers becoming more common. Low wavelength lasers are used to treat areas near and involving the skin while the higher wavelength lasers can focus on deep tissue repair.
A few things that veterinary laser therapy have helped with are:
- The release of endorphins
- Vasodilation can increase blood flow ultimately increasing oxygen and speeding up the healing
- Allowing the muscles to relax
- The ability to decrease inflammation
- Speed up healing and repair
Due to laser therapy’s holistic nature, some pets that have limited options for traditional treatment may benefit from veterinary laser therapy, such as pets:
- who suffer from liver disease leaving them unable to take commonly used medications
- Exotic pets that cannot have medications administered normally
- Cats that are only able to use specific pain management medications
- Senior pets that cannot be safely medicated due to decreased organ function
How will laser therapy feel to pets? Will it be painful?
Many times, pets find laser therapy to be relaxing. The process involves a slow movement of a warm laser over the affected area. Typically, sessions last about half an hour or less, and the frequency and number of treatment sessions will depend on the symptoms and severity of injury or illness.
Laser therapy is a very safe procedure when administered by a trained veterinary professional. Protective eyewear should always be placed on your pet to protect from any sight-related damage that could occur from the lasers. Many times, before treatment, a practitioner will perform a full physical exam, in addition to x-rays if required, to determine whether cold laser therapy is the right treatment option for your pet.