By Heather Crispell, DVM and Amber Black, LVT; Vet At Your Door
We are very excited to announce that we are now offering laser therapy! This is one more service we can offer to you and your pets in the comfort of their home! Laser therapy is a non-invasive, pain free and drug free method used for relief and treatment of many conditions. In most cases it can be used in conjunction with other treatments already in use. What is therapeutic laser and how does it work? At its core, therapeutic laser is using light energy to stimulate healing. This process is called photobiomodulation. The light from the laser simulates energy production from cells, dilates small blood vessels and stimulates signaling molecules (nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species). Helping to stimulate tissue repair, increase oxygen and nutrient delivery to the tissue and remove waste products. All of which helps to reduce pain and inflammation as well as stimulate healing. This video helps to explain the process http://www.LiteCureInfo.com/IntroToPBM. Is your malarkey/hogwash/B.S. sensor going off? If this all sounds like hocus-pocus, trust us when we say it’s not. You can look here (laser allows ability to reduce anti-inflammatory medications by 50%), and here (laser helps wound healing), here (laser helps with nerve pain), and here (laser helps with skin conditions) for very good scientific evidence that it fastens healing times, reduces inflammation, and reduces pain.
What conditions benefit from therapeutic laser? Therapeutic laser can be used for so many conditions! It is used for both chronic and acute pain and inflammation. Commonly it is used for arthritis, muscle sprain or strains, ligament injury, spinal pain / disc rupture, post-surgical healing, wounds, lick granulomas, anal gland issues, hot spots, abscesses, bladder inflammation, feline asthma, ear infections, and more! What happens during a therapeutic laser session? During the session, your pet can be in the comfort of their own home, on their bed or wherever they may choose. Each treatment session lasts typically 2-10 minutes, depending on the size of the pet and number of treatment areas. Before we start treatment, glasses are needed to protect our eyes from the laser and here is the best part: Your pet gets to wear some really cute Doggles (or cat-ggles?)! We bring all the necessary eye protection with us. Once the laser is started the pet experiences a warm sensation as the laser is moving across the their skin. This warmth is similar to what we would feel in a warm shower, just without the water! How long does it take to see results? That depends on the type of condition that we are treating. Some conditions like ear infections, hot spots, post-surgical healing and wounds only need 1-2 treatments to accelerate the healing process.
For chronic conditions we think of treatment as having three phases. The first phase is induction, this is when we are treating most often (typically 2-3 times a week) until we have a significant response to treatment. This phase often lasts 2-4 weeks and can range from 3-12 treatments. The second phase is transition, this is when we are decreasing the frequency of treatments to maintain a clinical response. We will steadily taper the frequency of treatments until we reach the maintenance phase. This often means treatments 1-2 times a week for 4 weeks. The maintenance phase is the final phase of treatment, which typically requires one treatment every 2-4 weeks. This can vary with each patient’s response to treatment. Your veterinarian will determine the best treatment plan for you pet.
Many owners can see improvements in as little time as the first treatment but most within the first 3-6 sessions. And it's amazing how the animals get used to it and actually get excited when it's laser time, because they know it makes them feel better.
Can therapeutic laser be used along with other treatments?
Yes! Therapeutic laser aids in a multimodal approach to treatment. Many patients benefit from our acupuncture services alongside laser therapy. Additionally, pets with arthritis often are taking joint supplements, omega 3 fatty acids, NSAIDs (carprofen, meloxicam, Galliprant), gabapentin, CBD and/or amantidine. Laser therapy can allow us to reduce the medications, and their side effects, while improving pain management! Wound and ear infection patients also usually receive antibiotics in conjunction with laser therapy.
If you think your pet may benefit from laser sessions please reply to this email or reach out to schedule a visit!
Here’s a testimonial from a client:
“I have used laser therapy in my own dogs and love the results. My 5 year old American Bulldog needed surgery for a luxating patella (kneecap) 3 years ago. Every time he would go outside, his patella would move out of place and he’d come back inside holding his back leg up. We did laser therapy 1-2x a week on his knee while we waited for his surgery date. We saw significant improvement even after the first session, he was able to go outside and come back in with all 4 feet on the ground. Using it post-operatively helped in his healing and recovery process as well.
My 9 year old beagle has arthritis in his spine and hips. He is on daily anti-inflammatories which has helped significantly but I wanted to find him a little more relief. During his first session I thought he was going to fall asleep, he became so relaxed with the probe on his back, you could see pure enjoyment in his face during the treatment (see video here!). That evening, he was bouncing around like he was 4 years old again. He also looked really cute with his doggles on. “