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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Mohon-Sturch

Laser Therapy Treatment for Animals

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Pain management for your pet can sometimes be a trial, especially if your fur baby can’t or won’t take medication orally. It can also be trying for you if you must give those meds daily.


A rising treatment that can help ease pain in animals comes in the form of laser treatment. The therapy has been in use for about a decade for animals (several decades for humans) and because it has been so effective, the use has been steadily on the rise. The treatment isn’t only for pain but can also be used to heal surgical scars and other wounds in a quicker fashion.


HOW DOES LASER THERAPY WORK?

The word laser is an acronym. It stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The laser has been around for many decades and in different forms. The kind of light therapy we’re discussing here today is low-level laser therapy (LLLT), also known as cold laser therapy. In a nutshell, what the laser does is stimulate cells allowing for blood flow and reduction of inflammation which lowers pain.


WHAT SPECIFICALLY DOES LASER THERAPY TREAT?

Dogs and cats are receiving LLLT for various reasons. Here is a list of several of the instances:

- Faster healing of surgical incisions

- Faster healing of wounds

- Pain from Osteoarthritis

- Muscle pain

- Injuries to tendons or ligaments

- Helps with nerve function


Depending on the wound or injury, your veterinarian will sometimes prescribe a stand-alone laser treatment therapy, or use it combined with other therapies, such as acupuncture or massage. Perhaps even medication. Again, it depends on the ailment and the severity of it. It may also be a one-appointment procedure, or your vet may need to do a series of treatments for your animal.


WHAT HAPPENS DURING A LASER THERAPY SESSION?

Since we are talking about lasers, all present in the room will need to wear protective goggles, as noted in this very cool photo I found on PetMD by Chewy.


Lasers can be harmful to the eyes which is why eye protection is necessary. Your pet will need to have the fur removed from the area being treated. There is no anesthesia involved. The light radiating from the instrument onto your pet’s skin will be warm, not hot, and may actually have a soothing effect on your pet. The length of the procedure will be determined by your veterinarian, but normal procedures last mere minutes.


AREAS THAT SHOULD NOT BE TREATED WITH LASER THERAPY

Laser therapy should not be used on:

- the uterus of a dog or cat that is pregnant

- the thyroid

- tumors

- growth plates on growing animals


CONCLUSION

If used responsibly and by your veterinarian, laser therapy is a safe option to use for your animal. If you have a pet that you think might benefit from the use of laser therapy, be sure to contact your vet and ask them if LLLT would work for your pet.


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