What is Laser Therapy?

Therapeutic laser therapy has been used in human medicine for decades, and is now emerging as a common form of therapy in veterinary medicine. A growing number of pet owners are familiar with this type of therapy, but may have questions about how it works or its effectiveness for treating their pets.

Often referred to as low level laser therapy (LLLT), or less accurately as “cold” laser therapy, these lasers are different from surgical lasers. Whereas high-power surgical lasers are used to cut or destroy tissue using a very concentrated beam, low level laser therapy is used to relieve pain and enhance cell function.

How does low level laser therapy work?
Low level lasers penetrate tissues on a cellular level, triggering a reaction that stimulates cell regeneration and boosts the cell’s energy. Increased energy means faster tissue repair and cell growth, leading to desirable results such as pain relief, decreased swelling, and faster healing of wounds and injuries.

Essentially, laser therapy initiates the body’s own healing process. This means that the anti-inflammatory response can continue even after the treatment is over – up to 24 hours after the procedure.

Pets and their owners usually find laser therapy to be an easy, simple and effective treatment. There is no need to sedate your dog or cat before laser therapy, as most pets find the process to be relaxing. Additionally, the area being treated does not need to be shaved or trimmed.

What are the benefits of laser therapy?
Low level laser therapy is a non-invasive, quick and essentially painless treatment for a wide variety of conditions. Even chronic patients can experience improvement after just a few treatments.

Lasers can be used to treat acute conditions such as

  • Soft tissue injury
  • Surgery recovery
  • Wounds
  • Bone fractures
  • Muscular-skeletal abnormalities

Laser therapy may also be used to treat chronic conditions like:

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic ear infections and skin infections
  • Tendon and ligament conditions
  • Some neurological issues

The frequency and duration of treatments will depend on the condition being treated, but most treatments take less than 15 minutes. Additionally, most patients can decrease or stop laser treatments over time and still achieve the same results as their body begins to heal itself.

Pet owners may notice signs that their dog or cat is feeling better after laser therapy, such as regaining some mobility, going up the stairs more easily, or acting more playful at home.

If your pet is suffering from an injury or chronic pain, it may be worth incorporating low level laser therapy into their treatment plan. Schedule an appointment with your vet to discuss the possibility of laser therapy for your pet.