07 Mar Light Therapy for Dogs and Other Pets – Using Light Energy to Heal
Light Therapy for Dogs and Other Pets
Therapy lasers have become an important tool for treating professional athletes, ordinary people with health issues and now pets, as well. They were first used for rehabilitation therapy more than a decade ago, but the advances in research and knowledge have made therapy lasers a vital component in the treatment and therapy of many conditions. Laser therapy has been successful in treating post-surgical pain and inflammation, as well as many acute and chronic conditions by relieving pain, reducing swelling, speeding up healing, increasing mobility and motion in joints and even helping with regenerating damaged nerves.
There is a reason that all professional sports teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, as well as most Division 1 college sports departments, have several therapy lasers in their training rooms. They want their multi-million dollar athletes healed and back on the field of play in top shape as soon as possible after an injury or procedure. Well, the same technology is true for light therapy for dogs and other pets.
How Light Therapy Works
When it comes to pets, we have witnessed elderly dogs and horses with severe arthritis make remarkable improvements in their ability to move around with less pain, leading to huge improvements in their quality of life. Laser therapy is safe, non-invasive and pain free during treatments. It is less stressful than other treatments and often soothing for a pet. The therapy lasers of a decade or more ago were often called “cold lasers” because they do not burn or cut tissue, and they produced a sensation that ranged from mildly warm to no feeling at all when using them. They act by delivering photons of light energy deep into tissues so a hip joint or pinched spinal nerve can be treated deep below the skin and muscles.
These photons are absorbed into the cells and deliver energy to the mitochondria within the cells. If you remember that word from high school biology, mitochondria are the “powerhouses” or “engines” of our cells. By exciting them to work harder and with more energy, the photo-chemical response in the cells accelerates the repair and healing of damaged tissue, increases circulation, reduces inflammation and swelling and even blocks some pain nerve impulses.
How Light Therapy for Dogs and Other Pets Has Changed
Today’s laser is 15 to 30 times more powerful than those of 10 years ago and can deliver the correct amount of energy in minutes, making it a quick, efficient and reasonably priced treatment tool. Because we are veterinarians and our pet was in the hospital with us, we used it on one of our own dogs for three days in a row after a spay procedure. The incision, which normally takes seven days to heal, was completely healed in just three days. By using laser therapy just once on our clients’ pets before they go home, we can speed up the initial healing and reduce normal recovery time by two days. In fact, we use the laser on all surgical incisions post- operatively to reduce the recovery time.
What Do Light Therapy Lasers Treat?
Therapy lasers can be used on almost all parts of the body except directly into the eye, in the body where there may be cancer cells and on reproductive organs. Consequently, any pet in pain or with inflammation, such as patients with old age aches, animals that have just had a surgical procedure or those who have an open wound or a recent injury can benefit from the treatment. Here is a partial list of other conditions that laser therapy can be beneficial in treating:
- Arthritis, no matter how chronic or severe
- Wounds, including bites, burns, scrapes and cuts
- Hip dysplasia and degenerative joint disease (DJD) or other joint conditions
- Dental procedures and tooth extractions
- Ear infections
- Skin infections and allergies
- Sprains and strains
- Bruises, contusions, swelling and many other conditions
- Post-surgery treatment for spays, neuters, declaws, cystotomies, gastrotomies, splenectomies and emergency cases to speed healing and reduce pain and inflammation. The laser treatment is unique to each pet. A treatment plan is custom tailored to your pet’s medical condition and needs based on the examination by the veterinarian. The number and frequency of treatments which usually take only a matter of minutes will be designed with the goal of making your pet feel better and living a better quality of life.
Light Therapy Can Be Used With Other Forms of Treatment
Because so many conditions rapidly respond to this non-invasive therapy, it is an ideal “first step” in a multi-modal treatment program. For instance, with chronic arthritis we may use a glucosamine supplement and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug in addition to the laser light therapy for dogs to reduce pain, improve mobility and greatly improve the pet’s quality of life. We have a number of pet owners tell us that their older pets have started to act like puppies again because the reduction in pain and inflammation makes their pets feel so much better. It is the combination that enhances results, shortens healing times and reduces the pet’s discomfort.