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Cold Laser Therapy for Pets

Is your pet suffering from pain? Cold laser therapy may be an ideal non-invasive treatment option. In this post, our Des Moines vets explain which conditions can benefit from this treatment, and how to determine if this therapy is appropriate for your pet.

What is cold laser therapy for animals?

Cold laser therapy is a safe, non-invasive, drug-free treatment option for pets that can help alleviate pain, stimulate and enhance cell regeneration and blood circulation, and improve healing.

Also known as low-level lasers, low-power lasers, and soft lasers, cold lasers are commonly used. Cold laser therapy is a safer alternative to surgical or hot laser treatments as it only treats the surface of your pet's skin, without penetrating deeper into tissue.

The Food & Drug Administration has approved this type of therapy for therapeutic use. Many people use it alongside traditional medical treatments for pain and disease.

What happens during a treatment session?

Treatment sessions for cold laser therapy are conducted in a spacious and comfortable room. The duration of these sessions can vary, ranging from five to 30 minutes. The length of the session depends on factors such as the condition being treated, the size of your pet, and their specific needs and circumstances. We will place your pet on a mat to promote relaxation. Protective eyewear is required for both the laser operator and your pet.

Your veterinarian will use a low-intensity laser or LEDs to stimulate your pet's tissue during these treatment sessions, promoting therapeutic benefits. Give your pet a soothing and focused light-pulsing treatment that can address a variety of health concerns. Your pet's tissue cells absorb the laser light, allowing them to repair and regenerate themselves.

While your pet is in the session, their brain also releases endorphins, which improves their mood. During their treatment sessions, many pets are able to relax and even fall asleep, as they do not suffer from pain.

It is crucial for your veterinarian to have proper training in this type of therapy and to know how to select the appropriate wavelength to effectively reach the targeted tissue. The depth of tissue penetration is determined by the laser's wavelength. Photobiomodulation is the term used to describe this interaction between light and tissue.

You don't need to do anything special after a session.

Which pets can benefit from cold laser therapy?

Some pets are unable to undergo traditional treatment methods and will benefit from cold laser therapy. These can include:

  • Pets who suffer from liver disease and can't take certain medications
  • Older pets that are unable to take medication due to decreased organ function 
  • Cats that are only able to have specific pain management medications
  • Exotic pets that may not be able to take medications in the way they are normally administered

Conditions That Can Benefit From Cold Laser Therapy

Veterinary cold laser therapy treatment has been used to treat a variety of conditions in pets, including: 

  • Acute injuries
  • Bone Fractures
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Ear Infections
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Muscle, ligament and joint pain and injuries
  • Skin (dermatological) issues such as lick granuloma
  • Symptoms of arthritis (including inflammation) 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Soft tissue trauma 
  • Strains and sprains
  • Wounds

How does cold laser therapy help pets with pain?

If your pet is experiencing heavy panting, loss of appetite, trembling, aggression, and/or excessive grooming, it may be a sign of pain. Pain can have a significant impact on your pet's appetite, behavior, and overall well-being. It can limit their mobility, decrease their quality of life, and leave them feeling uncomfortable and distressed for extended periods.

Of course, you want to make sure your pet can live without pain, whether they're recovering from surgery, healing from an injury, or dealing with a chronic health issue.

Cold lasers effectively alleviate pain in pets. Cold laser therapy promotes the healing of damaged nerves. Increased blood flow and oxygenation to injured tissues, muscle relaxation, and reduced bacteria presence all work together to help alleviate pain.

Veterinary Cold Laser Therapy Treatment for Pets at Des Moines Veterinary Hospital

Veterinary cold laser therapy is a fairly new method of treatment for symptoms related to various disorders and is most commonly used to help manage pain, inflammation, and wound healing for your pet.

Your pet won't require any sedation before treatment, and there is no need for your vet to pierce or shave any part of their body prior to the sessions. It's important to note that cold lasers are not a cure-all, though. Tissue growth resulting from conditions such as mineralization in the ear canal, bone spurs, or deformities due to arthritis cannot be reduced or eliminated. Pets with cancer should avoid cold laser therapy, as it may potentially worsen or spread the malignancy. After their session, your pet will be able to resume their normal activities.

If you're interested in learning more about how veterinary laser therapy can benefit your dog, it's best to consult with your local veterinarian.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you wondering whether cold laser therapy may be right for your pet? Contact our Des Moines vets to learn more about this treatment option.

Welcoming Your Pets to Our Animal Hospital 

Des Moines Veterinary Hospital welcomes cats, dogs, fish, small mammals, and their owners to our clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Des Moines companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

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