The term “laser” stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”, which is a form of light therapy. Therapeutic laser therapy has been used frequently in the hospice setting for pain management, to promote wound healing, and to reduce swelling and inflammation. Laser therapy is non-invasive and very well tolerated by our patients. Many hospitals now have the ability to perform laser therapy and some house call veterinarians also use them for patients that cannot make it onto the hospital for treatment.
Therapeutic laser has been incorporated into many treatment plans for addressing such conditions as:
- Wounds/Decubital ulcers (Bed sores)
- Snake bites
- Tendon and ligament injuries
- Muscle or soft tissue injuries (including sprains and strains)
- Neurologic conditions
- Osteoarthritis/Degenerative Joint Disease
- Post-operative incisions
- Pain (acute and chronic)
Some of the contraindications of laser therapy include:
- Directing the laser towards the eyes, safety glasses are usually worn by everyone in the direct vicinity of the laser
- Over tumors/growths
- On an actively bleeding wound
- Over a pregnant uterus
- Over the thyroid gland
Laser therapy is a cumulative effect and so it needs to be used multiple times, it is not a one treatment only therapy. Many pets get multiple treatments and do not need further treatments because the condition treated has resolved or improved greatly however many conditions, such as chronic pain or arthritis are usually treated with some kind of ongoing maintenance therapy.
I frequently use laser therapy in my practice and have been very pleased by the outcome, I recommend speaking with your pet’s veterinarian regarding the use of laser therapy for your pet.