At Animal Care Clinic, one of the ways we address pain and inflammation is through the use of cold laser therapy. Cold laser therapy can relieve pain, improve nerve function, stop muscle spasms, speed tissue repair, increase the development of muscle tissue/collagen, and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Still a relatively new technology in veterinary medicine, cold laser therapy has been used in human medicine for over 40 years.
What is cold laser therapy?
L.A.S.E.R. stands for Light Amplification Stimulated Emission Rays. Cold laser therapy is a way of directing highly concentrated light of a particular wavelength to the muscles, tissues, organs, connective tissue, and blood. Poor diet and lifestyle, disease, aging, toxins, and genetics all contribute to the breakdown in communication between cells in the body. Cold laser therapy allows us to stimulate the cells to produce more energy and thus allow them to effectively increase their intracellular communication. The mitochondria in the cells then begin to restore and repair problem areas. By artificially reproducing the cell’s natural wavelength and frequencies we help the cells to heal themselves. When this happens the results are increased overall cellular function, more rapid absorption of nutrients, more efficient elimination of wastes, and reproduction of new cells. All of these new cellular activity aids in:
- Increasing circulation
- Alleviating chronic or acute pain by releasing endorphins, the body's natural pain reliever
- Reducing swelling and inflammation
- Speeding up healing and recovery
What conditions can be treated with cold laser?
Cold laser therapy may be used to treat a number of chronic diseases and injuries. It's especially effective on musculoskeletal conditions like joint, ligament or tendon injuries, bone fractures, muscle sprains or strains, arthritis, etc. It's also outstanding for acute injuries like skin lesions, abrasion, wounds, burns, nerve injury, pain from injuries and non-healing wounds, and post-surgical incisions. It has also been used to great effect on a number of chronic diseases including kidney and liver disease, adrenal disease, diabetes, lung congestion, constipation, stomatitis, and irritable bowel disease.
What are the treatments like?
Once the veterinarian prescribes cold laser therapy for a patient, treatments are typically performed by a veterinary technician while the owners remain with their pet. The laser is applied directly to the surface of the skin or held just above the skin if direct contact is too painful. The process may take from 5-20 minutes. There's no need to shave or clip the area and because treatment is not painful, the pet doesn't need to be sedated during the process. In fact, many pets seem to enjoy the treatment as the release of endorphins makes them feel good.
Multiple cold laser administrations are usually necessary within the first one to two weeks of treatment. After the initial set, treatments are spread further apart until the maintenance level needed by your pet is eventually reached.
There are no known side effects from properly administered cold laser therapy. The laser used for treatment does not cause burns. Care must be taken to avoid the eyes when using the laser and for this reason, both the technician and patient wear eye protection during the procedure.
Following laser therapy, it's common for owners to observe their pets become more playful, regain mobility, sleep more soundly, go upstairs more often, and socialize more. Laser therapy may seem odd when medications and surgical interventions are so common in today's medical field. A treatment that doesn't require something to be injected or swallowed is unusual. But if using light can help tissue to heal, nerves to regrow, and pain to fade, what's not to like? Call us at Animal Care Clinic today if you think cold laser therapy might be right for your pet!