by Dr. Cathy Gajewski
In a nutshell “laser” therapy is treatment with light. What can it do? It can be used to treat a multitude of common conditions that cause pain and inflammation. How cool is that? Even better, it is safe, non-invasive and has no side effects. We have been using it at Broadview Animal Hospital for several years to help pets with all kinds of conditions, such as painful arthritis and wounds. We use laser therapy every day on our patients undergoing surgery on the surgical incision to kick start the healing process and to manage postoperative pain as soon as they come out of the operating room. Our Doctors and clients, not to mention patients, all love that!
How does it work? At our hospital we have a class IV laser unit that is FDA approved. The type of laser is important because just like anything else, not all laser units are created equal. The class 4 unit has a probe that emits a powerful light beam (don’t worry-it is not Star Wars powerful) at the appropriate wavelength that when placed over the skin, it penetrates deep into the tissue without damaging it. The energy from the light wave is absorbed by the tissues and this energy is used by the body to help healing. This process is called “photo-bio-modulation”.
How can it help your pet? Chances are that if the condition is painful and inflamed the laser can help. One of the most common conditions we see in the summertime is painful skin and ear infections. Most of our older pets suffer from painful arthritis as they age. Some pets suffer from chronic mouth inflammation. These are just a few of the conditions that respond to laser therapy. Here is just a partial list of conditions that can be treated with laser therapy:
• Dental conditions and inflammation of the mouth
• Skin and ear infections
• Nasal or sinus inflammation
• Traumatic injuries including fracture
• Bladder inflammation (especially cats)
• Painful areas in the spine
• Hip dysplasia
• Lesions caused by licking (lick granuloma)
• Post-surgical incisions
Please feel free to ask your veterinarian if laser therapy could benefit your pet. Often it is used in addition to other treatments and may be especially useful if other treatments seem inadequate or if the pet cannot tolerate more traditional treatments. Some conditions will respond in 1 or 2 laser sessions and other more chronic conditions benefit from treatments on a long term basis. Your veterinarian can discuss with you the best treatment protocol for your pet’s condition.
Here is a customer testimonial about using laser therapy:
“Dave and I were asked by the staff at Broadview Animal Hospital to write a testimonial regarding our German Shepherd, named Midnight, and her experience with laser therapy treatment on the left knee.
Midnight has responded exceptionally well to laser therapy. After the first treatment alone, she was running from our bed to the couch, back and forth, back and forth. This is something she used to do, but hasn’t done for quite sometime because of her hips and knees.
Midnight also started running laps in the backyard, which is also something she used to do all the time but hasn’t for a while. She is also sleeping more sound at night, not tossing and moving around trying to get comfortable.
Midnight’s experience with laser therapy has been amazing! Dave and I would highly recommend it to others.”
(Submitted by Kylee O’Clair & Dave Guerrette)