Veterinary cold laser therapy is often used to reduce pain, accelerate tissue repair, heal wounds, and improve nerve function and vascular activity in dogs. In this post, our Fountain Valley vets share how veterinary cold laser therapy works, and how it can benefit your dog.
Veterinary Cold Laser Therapy
Cold laser therapy (also referred to as low-level laser therapy or Class IV laser therapy) uses focused light to increase blood circulation and stimulate the regeneration of cells.
This non-invasive, drug-free treatment is used to treat inflammatory conditions. More recently, it has been used in conjunction with traditional medical treatments to treat soft tissue or tendon injuries and arthritis. It can also be used to encourage wound healing.
Currently, cold laser therapy is being utilized to treat a variety of conditions, including musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain, joint pain, inflammation, osteoarthritis, otitis, dermatitis, chronic or non-healing wounds, and decubital ulcers.
It is also common to use laser therapy for dogs after surgery. Post-op laser therapy for dogs has proven to effectively assist in the recovery process. Laser treatment after spaying, neutering, and other common surgical procedures can also be beneficial.
How Cold Laser Therapy Works
Laser therapy treatment can be used to reduce and manage pain by activating the lymphatic drainage system. This process helps reduce inflammation which in turn, reduces pain. Laser therapy also stimulates nerve cells to block pain signals from reaching the brain, reducing the level of pain your dog may be experiencing.
The cold laser is used to stimulate the natural healing process to help your dog recover as quickly as possible. This can help your companion recover from an injury, planned surgery, or general health problems. Laser treatment can safely be used to supplement other treatment options to give our pet patients the best possible outcome.
As for benefits, laser therapy can:
- Enhance circulation
- Decrease nerve sensitivity
- Reduce pain and swelling
- Speed the healing process
In addition, laser therapy does not have any negative side effects and no sedation is required. We also do not need to clip or shave the area being treated.
Conditions Cold Laser Therapy Can Treat
Laser therapy has been proven to successfully treat a wide range of medical conditions in dogs. Some health issues this treatment can be used for include:
- Fractured bones
- Post-surgical healing
- Chronic pain conditions
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Degenerative joint disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Respiratory issues
- Dental treatments
- Urinary tract issues
- Skin lesions and wounds
- Injuries of the ligaments, muscles, and tendons
Possible Side Effects of Laser Therapy for Dogs
Provided the veterinarian performing the treatment is well-trained and experienced in administering laser therapy and the treatment is performed correctly, there should be no pain involved for your dog.
In fact, in our experience when the vet waves a handheld laser wand back and forth over injured tissue, this seems to produce a pleasant sensation that most pets seem to find soothing or relaxing.
During a session, all veterinary staff and patients must wear protective goggles, as laser beams directed at an eye are capable of causing permanent damage to both human and canine retinas.
How Many Sessions Your Dog Will Need
Since every dog is different, each treatment is customized to the specific needs of each animal. The exact number of sessions of this non-invasive and painless procedure will depend on their individual circumstances, including the severity of their health condition.
When you bring them to their consultation, our Fountain Valley veterinary team will be able to provide an estimation as to how many sessions your pet may require. Keep in mind that this number could change depending on the effectiveness of the treatment and the rate at which your dog's condition improves.
Using this laser for wound healing may only require a couple of treatments depending on the severity of the wound. Each laser therapy session is entirely painless, straightforward, and does not require any downtime following the procedure. This means that you can take your dog home immediately following the treatment and go about your day as usual.
Length of Treatment
The length of sessions varies depending on the area being treated and how much energy is being delivered through the laser. A typical laser therapy session lasts between 5 and 20 minutes.
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.