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Laser Therapy In Pets

June 5 2024

One treatment option that we are happy to offer here at Animal Hospital of Crested Butte is laser therapy. While this may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, lasers have been used in both human and veterinary medicine for decades now. A local Crested Butte vet offers some information on veterinary laser therapy in this article.

What Is Veterinary Laser Therapy?

Laser therapy, as the name suggests, is a form of physical therapy for pets that involves lasers. This may sound scary, but the type of lasers that are used are light-based, and do not cut or even penetrate the skin. 

How Do Lasers Work?

Let’s shine a bit of light on how lasers work. The technology is based on the use of light. In fact, the term ‘Laser’ is actually an acronym: it stands for Light Amplification Of Stimulated Emission Of Radiation.

They can produce three types of light beams. First we have monochromatic, which is single wavelength. Then there is coherent, which is electromagnetic radiation.  Last but not least, there is collimated. This type of laser emits photons, which will be focused in a single beam of light.

Coherent and Collimated lasers can be focused very precisely. That’s where we got the term laser focus.

Now that we have the types of lasers sorted, we can delve into categories. There are four types. Class 1 would be similar to something you see on barcode readers in grocery stores. They are the weakest. Class 4 is the strongest: this is the type that can make incisions. Class 3 is the type that is typically used in therapy.

That is of course the nutshell version: ask your vet for more detailed information. 

How Does Laser Therapy Work?

Laser therapy is based on photobiostimulation. The light from the laser is able to penetrate deep within the cells. This causes a chemical reaction, or technically a series of them. These include stimulating the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers; improving circulation; reducing inflammation; increasing healing time; reducing inflammation and associated pain;  and promoting bone healing. That’s a pretty impressive list! 

The effects and benefits of the therapy tend to be cumulative. That means your pet will continually improve after repeated treatments.

What Is Laser Therapy Used To Treat?

One reason we love laser therapy is because it is very versatile. It is often used to treat dogs that have bone and joint pain from arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other bone/joint issues. However, it is also utilized to treat many other conditions.

That list includes the following: 

  • Muscle Atrophy
  • Skin Problems
  • Nerve Issues
  • Tendon And Ligament Problems
  • Acute And Chronic Injuries
  • Muscular-Skeletal Abnormalities
  • Osteoarthritis  
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease  
  • Lick Granuloma  
  • Cellulitis  
  • Arthritis  
  • Ear Problems  
  • Sprains And Strains
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Gingivitis
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Wounds
  • Dental Procedures
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Bone Fractures
  • Injury Recovery

As you can see, this can be an effective way to treat a wide variety of issues. Ask your vet for more information. 

What Are The Benefits Of Laser Therapy?

Laser therapy offers some unique and wonderful benefits, many of which make it a great option for treating our furry friends. But what are the benefits of this rapidly-growing treatment? 

Let’s take a look at some of the key ones:

  • Painless When considering any sort of treatment for animals, one of the biggest concerns and questions should always be the pet’s comfort. This is one are where laser therapy really shines … literally. It’s completely painless! In fact, many pets seem to enjoy the treatments. It’s not uncommon for our patients to visibly relax during their sessions. Some of them even fall asleep!
  • No Incision Laser therapy treatment is a non-invasive treatment. There is no incision required. In fact, it often accelerates healing time.
  • No Anesthesia Required While anesthesia is generally safe, it isn’t something you would want to do unnecessarily. Occasionally, a pet may be given a calming medication before treatments, but it isn’t necessary for them to be put under.
  • No Recovery Time The facts that laser therapy is painless and noninvasive are great in and of themselves. However, these also add up to another great perk. Your pet won’t need any special aftercare, aside from maybe a nap and some extra forehead scritches. (A new toy or a yummy treat is optional, but would not be unappreciated.)
  • No Known Side Effects Laser therapy is extremely safe. In fact, there are no known side effects. That alone is a huge plus!
  • Quick Sessions Laser therapy sessions usually don’t take very long. Most appointments take around or just under 20 minutes. With so many people juggling busy schedules these days, that’s another great perk.
  • Customized Treatment Plan All of our patients are unique, and their treatments should be as well. Laser therapy can be incorporated into many different treatment plans. For instance, it may help one dog recover from surgery, while another may benefit from the reduced inflammation. This often allows us to provide the most robust and effective options possible while minimizing discomfort for our patients. We can also adjust as needed. 

How Often Should Pets Be Treated With Laser Therapy?

Your furry friend’s exact treatment schedule would depend on the issue he is being seen for. If your pet has an acute condition, they may benefit the most from daily sessions, especially if he or she is in pain. Another pooch may do better with two or three weekly sessions. 

Generally, the sessions would taper off once the full benefit has been reached. Your vet will monitor the results and update the recommendations as needed. 

Will My Dog Be Tired After Laser Therapy? 

It’s not uncommon for our furry friends to be a bit sleepy after his sessions. There are a few possible reasons for this. The biggest would be the reduction in pain and stiffness. That alone can be very relaxing. The relief can also help bring on deep, healing sleep. Make sure your furry pal has a comfy bed to relax in. 

Does Laser Therapy Work? 

Yes! In fact, that may be the single most important thing about it. Laser therapy not only works, but it can also provide pretty impressive results! We love seeing a stiff old dog becoming playful again, or just relaxing as their pain is relieved. At the end of the day, we’re here to help our animal companions stay as healthy and comfortable as possible. 

That said, it may not be the right course of action for every pet. Treatment options should always be offered on a case-by-case basis. If you think your four-legged friend may benefit, give us a call. It never hurts to learn more! 

Conclusion: Laser therapy is a painless, noninvasive treatment that can be used to help pets with a variety of medical issues. While it is most often used to help arthritic dogs, it is very versatile, and can be utilized for many different issues. 

Contact Your Crested Butte Veterinary Clinic

Do you think your pet may benefit from laser therapy? Do you want to learn more about it? Please feel free to contact us here at your Crested Butte pet hospital. We are here to help! 

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