Laser therapy for dogs is a fairly new addition to the veterinary world. Since it has been introduced, veterinarians are finding a multitude of different conditions it can help to improve, and the ways that it can enrich a painful dog’s life.
What is the difference between Cold Laser Therapy and Laser Therapy?
When researching laser therapy for dogs, you will see a list of different types of laser therapy that are available. Some of these names include hot laser therapy, cold laser therapy, low-level laser therapy, LLLT, soft lasers, and more.
Generally, the term cold laser therapy is used to describe a treatment that helps to treat conditions close to the surface of the skin, while hot lasers can treat deeper into the tissue. No matter what the treatment is referred to, the benefit is generally the same. Laser treatment as a whole is used to stimulate cell regeneration and increase blood circulation to a certain area of the body. The array of different names for this type of treatment can get overwhelming, so just remember that the overall benefit is the same.
What types Of conditions can Dog Laser Therapy be used to treat?
Laser therapy has been used to decrease pain and promote healing for many different medical conditions in the veterinary field. Some of these include:
- Traumatic wound healing
- Scar tissue
- Surgical wound healing
- Nerve function
- Back pain
- Muscle and tendon injuries
Each of the above conditions can cause inflammation, pain, or even immobility. Laser therapy helps to reduce pain by opening up the blood vessels in the painful tissue, activating the lymphatic draining system, and there for reducing swollen areas. This process also helps to stimulate nerve cells that are responsible for combating pain, leading to overall less discomfort. With inflammation and additional pain lessened, healing is promoted.
Laser Therapy For Pain Relief
When a dog has a painful medical condition, there are a few different things that are happening in their body. Nerves are firing, chemicals from white blood cells are leaking into the tissues, tissues are swelling, and an overall painful response is triggered by these things combined. Laser therapy helps to lessen these responses, and stimulate the production of naturally-produced endorphins. This leads to an overall decrease of pain, and stimulates healing in damaged tissues.
Laser Therapy To Recover From Injury Or Surgery
When a dog is recovering from a traumatic injury or surgery, the tissues in the area are essentially on the defense. Even if the surgery is for the dog’s benefit, an inflammation response is triggered, which results in pain. Laser therapy works to open up the blood vessels, kick starts the process that helps to drain the swelling in the tissues, and strengthens the muscle and tissue in the area. All of these things combined help to speed up healing, and improve the dog’s quality of life.
Is Laser Therapy painful or uncomfortable for dogs?
Laser therapy for dogs is completely painless. The strength of the laser used in these treatments is strong enough to stimulate the tissues, but not enough to cause any damage or pain. It’s even possible that dogs feel immediate relief during these treatments. The laser can heat up the tissue, leading to a warm and tingling sensation in the area being treated. This sometimes leads to a release in tension to that area, and immediate pain relief.
What can I expect at my dog’s Laser Therapy appointment?
During a laser therapy appointment, the veterinarian and technician want each dog to be as relaxed as possible. Often times a comfortable bed is prepared for your dog, and you are even encouraged to sit with them and pet them. The length of these appointments will vary depending on the dog, but generally, each site of pain is addressed for about a minute at a time.
Be prepared to wear protective eyewear if you are in the room during your dog’s laser appointment. Some lasers can be harmful to the eyes when they are not protected, so everyone in the room is generally encouraged to wear protective eyewear.
Are there any side effects of Laser Therapy for dogs?
For the use of laser therapy in the conditions listed above, there are no known side effects that can negatively harm your dog. The only situation in which laser therapy could negatively impact your dog is if this treatment is used on a cancerous site. Since this treatment can stimulate cell production, it’s possible that laser therapy could increase the production of cancerous cells. For the safety of your pet, it’s recommended to never use laser therapy on a tumor that is known to be cancer.
The use of laser therapy in the veterinary world is taking off. With its ability to decrease pain and increase a dog’s quality of life, it’s no wonder that so many practices are finding a way to provide this service to their clients. If you have a dog with a painful condition, it’s worth exploring your options with this new technology.
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I’m a Licensed Vet Tech with a passion to spread awareness for animal welfare and knowledge as far and often as I can!