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What is veterinary cold laser therapy?

Is your dog or cat suffering from pain? Cold laser therapy for pets may be an ideal non-invasive treatment option. In this post, our Southgate vets explain which conditions can benefit from this treatment, and how to determine if this therapy is appropriate for your pet.

What is cold laser therapy for animals?

Cold laser therapy is a safe, non-invasive, drug-free treatment option for pets that can help alleviate pain, stimulate and enhance cell regeneration and blood circulation, and improve healing.

Cold lasers are also known as low-level, low-power, or soft lasers. Because cold laser therapy only treats the surface of your pet's skin, it is often a safer alternative to surgical or hot laser treatments that penetrate deeper into tissue.

This type of therapy is cleared by the Food & Drug Administration for therapeutic use. It is often used in conjunction with conventional medicinal approaches to treating pain and disease. 

What happens during a treatment session?

Cold laser therapy treatment sessions typically take place in a spacious comfortable room and can last from anywhere between five minutes, up to 30 minutes depending on the condition being treated, your pet's size, specific needs and circumstances, and other factors. Your pet will be positioned on a mat to help encourage him or her to relax. Both the operator of the laser and your pet will need to wear protective eyewear. 

During these treatment sessions, your veterinarian will wave a low-intensity laser or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) over your pet's body to stimulate the tissue for therapeutic purposes. Your pet will receive a relaxing, concentrated, light-pulsing treatment that can help with any of the health issues listed below. The cells in your pet's tissue absorb the light from the laser, and repair and regenerate themselves. 

During the session, your pet's brain also releases endorphins, which makes them feel better. In fact, many pets even fall asleep during their treatment sessions, as they are able to relax and not suffer from pain. 

The laser's wavelength determines how deep it penetrates the tissue, so your veterinarian must be trained in this type of therapy and how to select the appropriate wavelength to reach the desired tissue. Photobiomodulation is the term used to describe the interaction between light and tissue.

No specific after-care is needed following a session. 

Which pets can benefit from cold laser therapy?

Some pets are unable to undergo traditional treatment methods and will benefit from cold laser therapy. These can include:

  • Pets who suffer from liver disease and can't take certain medications
  • Older pets that are unable to take medication due to decreased organ function 
  • Cats that are only able to have specific pain management medications
  • Exotic pets that may not be able to take medications in the way they are normally administered

Conditions That Can Benefit From Cold Laser Therapy

Veterinary cold laser therapy treatment has been used to treat a variety of conditions in pets, including: 

  • Acute injuries
  • Bone Fractures
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Ear Infections
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Muscle, ligament and joint pain and injuries
  • Skin (dermatological) issues such as lick granuloma
  • Symptoms of arthritis (including inflammation) 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Soft tissue trauma 
  • Strains and sprains
  • Wounds

How does cold laser therapy help pets with pain, inflammation, & wound healing?

Low-level laser light penetrates the skin and stimulates cellular activity, promoting increased blood flow which reduces inflammation, eases pain and stimulates healing. This process also helps to release endorphins, which are natural painkillers, providing relief for pets suffering from various conditions, such as arthritis or injuries.

Can cold laser therapy be used in conjunction with other treatments?

Yes, cold laser therapy for pets can be used in conjunction with other treatments such as medication, physical therapy, and acupuncture, just to name a few. It is important to consult with a veterinarian to create a comprehensive treatment plan that may include multiple modalities to address the specific needs of the pet.

Veterinary Cold Laser Therapy Treatment for Pets at Southgate Animal Hospital

Veterinary cold laser therapy is a fairly new method of treatment for symptoms related to various disorders and is most commonly used to help manage pain, inflammation, and wound healing for your pet.

There is no need for sedation prior to treatment, and your veterinarian will not need to pierce or shave any part of your pet's body. However, cold lasers are not a cure-all. They cannot reduce or eliminate tissue growth caused by conditions like ear canal mineralization, bone spurs, or arthritis-related deformities. Cold laser therapy is not recommended for cancer-stricken pets because it has the potential to exacerbate or spread the disease. Your pet should be able to resume normal activities after their session.

Speak to your Southgate vet if you would like to learn more about how your dog may benefit from veterinary laser therapy.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you wondering whether cold laser therapy may be right for your pet? Contact our Southgate vets to learn more about this treatment option or to book an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Southgate Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Southgate companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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