Two years ago, our veterinarians attended the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas and purchased a therapy laser. A therapy laser uses low-wavelength energy to reduce inflammation and pain and speed healing. Laser therapy is painless and has no side effects. Recent research on laser therapy, including a University of Florida study on intervertebral disc disease in spinal surgery patients, is showing exciting results and expanding the number of conditions we can use laser therapy to treat.
As with any other treatment, alternative or conventional, not every pet is a candidate. The conditions we cannot treat with laser therapy are:
**Anything involving the eye. All lasers, including surgical lasers and laser pointers sold as novelties, can damage the retina and cause cataracts. This is why patients and staff wear protective eye wear during a therapy session.
**Cancer. Laser therapy works in part by exciting cells and speeding up the process of dumping toxins and waste. We don’t want cancer cells to speed any processes.
**Thyroid disease. The thyroid gland is prone to developing abnormal or potentially cancerous cells; as with cancer, we don’t want to speed this up.
**Pregnancy. The effects of laser emissions on a developing fetus are unknown.
Laser therapy will also not heal injuries such as broken bones or torn ligaments. Therapy can reduce the inflammation associated with the injury and reduce pain, and can be used as a short term solution while awaiting surgery. The laser can also be used concurrently with medication or physical therapy to treat advanced cases of arthritis, hip dysplasia or other chronic disease when one therapy by itself isn’t providing relief.
At BSAH, we’ve been thrilled with the results of our laser usage. Fewer spay and neuter patients need E-collars after surgery. Bite wound and hot spot patients heal faster and with fewer medications. Many arthritis patients have been able to reduce or eliminate their need for oral pain killers. We’ve successfully used the laser to treat sinus congestion in cats with chronic viral upper respiratory infections, and to reduce ear canal stenosis (narrowing of the ear canal) in dogs predisposed to ear infections.
If you think your pet may be a candidate for laser therapy, please call the office to speak with a technician.