By: Dr. Ilana Smolkin, DVM | Nov 1, 2016
Dr. Smolkin discusses the benefits of therapeutic laser therapy for dogs and cats and how it can be used for pain control as well as promote healing, blood flow, and bone healing. Topics covered in this video include how laser therapy treatment works, the different types of lasers used, treatment duration and recovery and cases that it can be used for including skin issues, arthritis as well as its use in joint inflammation, skin inflammation, phototherapy and anti-inflammatory.
Laser therapy can be used for both pain control and other things in veterinary medicine. We have lasers that do surgery for us so it actually cuts but the type of laser I want to talk most about right now is the one for pain control. When we’re using laser, we’re using a very specific wavelength or frequency of that laser to penetrate into the tissue and depending on what wavelength and strength we use, we can get either deeper down. We can treat skin issues, so things like rashes or when dogs get lick granulomas those can be treated with laser. We can also get further into the joint and deal with inflammation and arthritis in a joint. Laser can even help with bone healing.
Basically the light energy enters those cells and stimulates those cells to promote healing. There’s a lot of science involved and I’m not going to go into what parts of the cell it stimulates but basically in the cell we get promotion of healing. Around the cell we get promotion of blood flow into the area, we get increased lymphatic drainage or basically flow out of the area to decrease swelling. We get some blocking of nerve pathways that are pain-related so we help inhibit pain with the laser. The laser also helps with healing so if you think of when you get a cut and that needs to go through lots of stages. First its kind of bloody then you get a big ugly scab there and then finally that falls off and that skin takes a little bit of time to heal back to your original look. The laser can help speed that process and let it happen in a little bit more of an organized fashion.
Treatments can last anywhere from a couple minutes up to quite a while depending on what area’s being treated and how many different areas are being treated. It’s also going to depend on the type of laser that’s being used. There are different classes of laser, some are cold lasers or basically don’t emit any heat. Others are actually hot lasers and you can actually feel that they’re warm to the touch as that treatment is going so it’s important that the practitioner obviously knows what type of laser that’s being used so they don’t do any damage to the area.
If the appropriate area has been chosen to be treated then usually you’ll see an improvement between one and three treatments with a normal course of treatment being about five to seven treatments over the course of a few weeks again depending on what we’re trying to treat and what we’re trying to take care of.
More chronic problems like arthritis and the older dog, those are going to need a little bit more ongoing therapy although usually the frequency of treatments can slow down after we’ve gotten things a little bit better under control. If you’re interested in laser therapy this is something that your vet may have available for you or they might be able to refer you to another vet in the area that’s able to do this treatment and again they will work with that individual to make sure that the right treatment and the right area is being looked at because what’s most important to us is your pet’s health here at healthcareforpets.com.
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