Therapeutic laser treatment is no longer restricted just to human medicine; veterinarians are increasingly finding uses for this therapy to treat their patients as well. This comes as no surprise to some: this painless technique presents a number of advantages and applications in treating animals. Below are the three major uses for therapeutic laser in veterinary medicine, but first:
What is laser therapy ?
Laser treatment is based on using laser light to transfer energy to the tissues of the body, improving metabolism and stimulating the healing process.
Completely painless and non-invasive, veterinarians apply this technique to trauma-related injuries, to treat painful conditions, to reduce inflammation and oedema and to help heal ulcers.
Laser treatments should however be avoided in certain cases. The laser should not be used to treat the eyes, in bleeding areas, where injections have recently been administered nor during pregnancy.
Rehabilitation and Recovery
In veterinary medicine, laser therapy is used to help repair damaged tissues since the laser can be absorbed up to 6 cm deep into the body. When used after surgery, therapeutic laser will:
- Reduce oedema caused by surgical intervention, reduce inflammation and increase lymphatic drainage
- Reduce muscle spasms and stiffness
- Increase flexibility in affected joints
- Improve healing by regenerating the cells that produce collagen
- Diminish clinical signs of osteoarthritis
- Reduce pain by increasing levels of beta-endorphins and by diminishing levels of pain neurotransmitters
With the use of laser therapy, the injured area returns to normal quickly and the animal benefits from increased comfort and better mobility. This makes the return to full function much faster.
Common Small Animal Conditions Benefiting from Laser Treatment
Thanks to the laser, veterinarians can reduce inflammation and pain, therefore enhancing the animals’ quality of life. This can be seen especially in small animals with the following conditions:
- Degenerative articular conditions (ex: osteoarthritis): anti-inflammatory action favours regeneration of cartilage and diminishes pain.
- Canine hip dysplasia
- Injuries to muscles and tendons
- Muscular contractions: applying the laser to sensitive muscles and the surrounding zones allows for the reduction of inflammation, as well as a decrease in acute and chronic pain
- Bruises and hematomas: thanks to the therapeutic lasers’ ability to decrease swelling, drainage and resolution of hematomas is accelerated and damaged tissues return to their normal state quickly
- Bursitis: the laser diminishes inflammation, pain, oedema, cutaneous injuries and superficial wounds
- Lick granulomas: the biostimulant effect of the laser favours healing and reduces inflammation
- Perianal fistulas: generally used in cases where perianal fistulas are slow to resolve, the laser quickens the process by reducing inflammation
- Gingival stomatitis: the therapeutic laser reduces pain, inflammation and oedema
By treating the affected zone, the therapeutic laser permits the relief of pain in animals with the following conditions:
- Joint pain
- Locomotor pain (pain associated with movement)
- Neuropathic pain
Laser therapy is a revolutionary technique that aids in treating pets without any discomfort or use of sedation, as the treatments only cause a slight tingling or warm sensation to the area. Non-invasive, this treatment only takes a few minutes and results are often noticed after the very first session.