Most pet owners have experienced the anguish of seeing their furry friend in pain, whether from an acute, short-term injury or a chronic condition. While traditional pain and anti-inflammatory medications are helpful, they do not actively hasten tissue healing and are not always the safest option, especially for older pets or those with other health issues. The Little Animal Hospital team now offers laser therapy to provide pet owners with a painless, stress-free solution to help their four-legged friends heal and recover.
Laser therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, low-level light therapy, or cold laser therapy, uses specific light wavelengths that penetrate deep into tissue and stimulate cellular changes. These changes lead to a myriad of benefits for your pet, and the treatment can be used for nearly any ailment. This technology has been available for humans for years, and recent research has allowed the adaptation and development of units designed to treat pets. Here are a few benefits of laser therapy for pets.
#1: Reduces pet inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s response to an insult, and while the process is meant to help speed healing and bring beneficial substances to the injured area, it often runs amok and creates long-term problems and chronic pain. Controlling the inflammatory process is key to slowing progression in chronic conditions, such as arthritis or intervertebral disc disease, and speeding the recovery process for short-term injuries or wounds.
#2: Reduces pet pain
Reducing inflammation improves your pet’s pain level, and we also have seen pain reductions in pets not necessarily related to inflammation. The changes that occur deep within tissue during laser therapy can calm and regenerate irritated nerves as well. Pain control is necessary to get your pet moving, eating, and acting like themselves again—which will help their overall recovery.
#3: Speeds pet tissue healing
Laser therapy helps to speed up tissue healing by bringing important circulation and nutrients to damaged areas, and changing the way cells respond to healing factors. We can use the laser on post-surgical wounds, tooth extraction sites, and non-healing skin lesions to help your pet recover faster. More efficient healing also can result in decreased scar tissue formation—which ensures the healed tissue remains strong and healthy.
#4: Provides a drug-free option
Not every pet is able to receive drugs or supplements orally for pain or inflammation control. While these drugs provide relief for many pets, those with gastrointestinal disease, liver problems, or kidney issues may fare better without them. Laser therapy provides a drug-free alternative for pets who need it, or for pet owners who prefer to exhaust non-drug options first. This is also a key benefit for cats, who have only a few medications they can safely use for pain, and none that address long-term inflammation.
#5: Treatments are low-risk and well-tolerated
A laser therapy treatment session takes only a few minutes, during which your pet can relax with you nearby. We set up a cozy area with soft blankets and allow your pet to sit or lie in a position comfortable for them. The laser handpiece is moved continuously over the injured area, and your pet does not feel any associated pain or discomfort. Higher-powered lasers may produce a warming effect, but this is comforting and soothing rather than stressful or painful for pets.
#6: Combines well with other therapies
Because laser therapy has no side effects and does not cause negative interactions with medications or other therapies, we find it works well in conjunction with almost any other strategy to help your pet heal. Acupuncture, pain medications, physical therapy, massage, and chiropractic treatment can be used alongside the laser, and the combination often provides better outcomes than any one therapy alone.
#7: Offers versatile treatment options
Laser therapy is highly diverse, offering relief for multiple pet conditions. The only recognized contraindications for laser therapy are in pregnant pets, and pets with cancer or suspected cancer. Otherwise, laser therapy is safe and effective for many common ailments, including:
- Intervertebral disc disease
- Cruciate tears
- Soft tissue injuries
- Surgical wounds or dental extraction sites
- Traumatic wounds
- Skin inflammation
- Skin and ear infections
- Interdigital cysts
- Anal gland problems
If your pet suffers from skin, bone, or joint conditions, or needs help recovering from surgery or injury, laser therapy can offer the boost they need to feel better. The Little Animal Hospital team can help you see results after only a few sessions, and we offer customized packages to suit your pet. Call us if you have questions, or to schedule a consultation about your pet’s laser therapy needs.
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