Lasers are all around us today, but did you know that they can also be used to help our dogs feel better? Veterinary laser therapy is a relatively new field of veterinary medicine used to treat various conditions in dogs.
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Laser therapy: science and technology
A laser is primarily a source of light and energy. Lasers, or more specifically optical amplifiers, produce electromagnetic radiation by amplifying light. The word “laser” stands for “light amplification of stimulated emission of radiation.” However, not all lasers are the same. FDA recognizes four classes of lasers based on wavelength and energy output. Generally, lasers are classified based on their power and intended use:
- Class 1 emits the least power and is the safest for everyday use.
- Class 2 lasers produce visible light beams and are more powerful than class 1 lasers.
- Class 3 lasers pose moderate ocular safety risks. The majority of therapeutic lasers fall into this category.
- Lasers of class 4 are very powerful and can cause severe eye damage and skin damage.
Many aspects of everyday life are affected by laser technology. Lasers benefit us in a wide range of ways, from shopping to DVD viewing to document printing. Human and veterinary medicine use lasers to treat a variety of conditions. Laser therapy for dogs is an emerging treatment modality for a variety of ailments.
Laser therapy has many applications
Laser therapy—also known as cold laser therapy (LLLT)—”is the application of light to a biologic system to promote tissue regeneration, reduce inflammation and relieve pain.” LLLT affects body tissues at a cellular level, stimulating benefits like increased blood flow, lymphatic drainage, collagen and enzyme production, and endorphin release. Healing, nerve regeneration, and pain relief are enhanced as a result.
Dermatologists, veterinarians, dentists, physical therapists, and other medical professionals use laser therapy to treat pain, inflammation, and wounds.
Laser therapy for dogs is beneficial in many ways
As part of a multi-modal approach to treating certain dog diseases, veterinarians may recommend laser therapy treatments, including cold laser therapy devices for dogs at home. These conditions include:
- Hip or elbow dysplasia
- Intervertebral disc disease
- Tendon, ligament, or muscle injuries
- Surgical wounds
- Lick granulomas
- Allergic skin disease
Research in this field suggests that laser therapy may be beneficial to a number of canine conditions, as well as healing and regenerating effects. Laser therapy has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation, improve wound healing, and increase patient comfort, among other benefits.
Laser therapy sessions can be completed on an outpatient basis within 15 to 30 minutes as well as offer medical benefits. Your pet may benefit from laser therapy after just a few sessions, depending on his or her condition and your veterinarian’s recommendation. In pets with chronic diseases or long-standing conditions, treatment may need to be continued for a longer period of time before benefits are realized. Additionally, laser therapy has an excellent safety profile when used properly and with proper eye protection. You can even use laser products at home under the guidance of your veterinarian.
Contact your veterinarian or check out different cold laser therapy devices for dogs to learn more about low-level laser therapy or determine if your dog is a good candidate for treatment.