What do arthritis, a snakebite, a hot spot, and a surgical incision site all have in common?
The bad news is that they are all painful situations for your furry companion to have to go through. The good news is that they can all be treated with something you may not have heard of – cold laser therapy!
This is not your James Bond villain-style laser that can cut through metal tables, but rather a low-level laser which generates no perceptible heat at all, and which affects cells to enhance the healing process. With more and more people becoming open to a more holistic approach to treatment, laser therapy is gaining recognition as a wonderful option. With the FDA’s approval, the use of therapy lasers in both human and veterinary medicine has been climbing over the past 25 years. Its widespread success has impressed doctors, patients, and pet owners alike.
The Laser Therapy Experience
After an exam has been completed, your veterinarian will determine the best methods of treatment for your pet’s particular ailment. If laser therapy is deemed helpful, many veterinarians offer packages for multiple sessions.
Each treatment utilizes a small wand, which may look similar to an everyday laser pen. The light from this wand is moved over the affected area for brief periods of time, usually 5-15 minutes depending on the reason for treatment. Laser therapy can even be used on less severe problems and chronic problems as well, such as sinusitis, anal gland inflammation, and even ear infections. No direct contact is required; the waves emitted by therapy lasers penetrate deep into tissues to promote healthy cell growth and decrease inflammation. In turn, this leads to quicker healing times and a decrease in overall pain levels.
Cold Laser Therapy Benefits
Veterinarians, doctors, and more love being able to offer laser therapy for many reasons. For instance:
- It is a painless treatment for a myriad of ailments.
- It demonstrates no interference with pet medications or other treatments.
- It has never been known to have unintended side effects.
- Treatments themselves are relatively quick compared to most alternatives.
- Cold laser therapy is completely non-invasive.
- The results are promptly noticeable.
Aside from medical benefits, you may see a change in your four-legged friend’s reaction to coming to the vet. With therapy, they may start associating the vet with their relief of pain, and frequently come to enjoy their visits. Many pets have even been known to take a light nap during their treatments, because they are able to finally have some relaxation in their bodies as endorphins get released into their system.
Cold laser therapy may also have an effect on something else – your wallet! You may notice that you don’t have to give as many pain medications anymore once laser therapy has been started. Don’t forget that it’s always important to consult your veterinarian before making any dosing changes, to be safe.
Advancing Opportunities in Care
As the field of veterinary medicine continues to grow, so does the opportunity to create longer, healthier lives for our pets. Years ago, owners were faced with a difficult decision as their puppies and kittens grew into dogs and cats and started to experience the pains of old age. They would watch as it became difficult for their best friend to get up after laying down, or wouldn’t go up and down stairs anymore. Veterinarians routinely exhausted their best pain management methods, but ultimately some patients just needed something new and different to give them relief.
No longer does the excuse “She just doesn’t want to play anymore because she’s getting older” have to be true. A few sessions with the laser, and Fluffy may surprise you by chasing after her favorite ball once again. With so many success stories, there’s really no reason not to give it a try – for your pet’s sake!