To some, the word “Laser” suggests missile defense systems and warring science-fiction space ships. Others think of laser light shows at rock concerts. Still others may think of some lasers’ capability to cut and weld steel, or to scan the bar code on products at the grocery store, or to print a crisp image on a piece of paper.
Not only can lasers perform all of these all tasks, they also have created remarkable medical breakthroughs, such as their use for vision correction and precision surgery. Another type of laser, commonly called a “Therapy Laser” has the proven ability to reduce pain, speed healing, and to reduce inflammation. This technology is now available to treat pets.
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The word laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers differ one from the other in two important ways: the wavelength of light that they produce, and the power of the light that they produce. In medical applications, different wavelengths affect living tissue in different ways. For example, ophthalmologists use one wavelength of laser light to make fine incisions on the surface of the eye, and another wavelength of laser light to harmlessly transmit through the eye to treat the retina. When the beam of laser energy causes a chemical change in the body, this is called a photochemical effect. Therapy laser light stimulates the mitochondria within the cells to help tissues heal. Scientists call this “photobiomodulation”. A cascade of beneficial effects then takes place at
the cellular level which accelerates blood flow, heals tissue, and reduces pain.
Veterinarians are applying this technology every day to treat their patients that are in pain, or that have an injury or a wound that they would like to heal more quickly. For pets who have had surgery, or who have had a traumatic injury, the laser is used to speed healing. For surgical patients, this is a simple, quick treatment immediately after surgery along the incision.
Laser therapy is an excellent way to assist older pets who often have aches or pains and have decreased mobility. Chronic conditions and degenerative joint diseases such as arthritis respond well to laser treatment. More severe cases often require a series of treatments to realize the full benefits of laser therapy. Laser treatments are drug free, which is especially important with patients who may suffer side-effects from medications.
Any pet that is in pain or discomfort is a candidate for relief with a therapy laser.