What is a therapy laser?
Therapy laser is a growing medical treatment option in both human and veterinary medicine. The main principles of laser include decreasing pain and inflammation and increasing healing and tissue regeneration. It can also help to decrease edema and help control certain infections. There are two classes of laser and they go by many different names. The class 3 (or lower) or "cold" lasers produce less than 0.5 watts of power, while class 4 or "hot" lasers can produce more than that. Our laser is a class 4 laser and this higher power allows for faster treatment sessions.
How does it work?
The easiest way to explain how laser therapy works is by comparing it to how the sun affects our bodies. When the sun's rays hit our skin, we see visual changes (tanning). There are also invisible molecular changes such as the conversion of vitamin D. Similarly, the laser uses different wavelengths of light (visible and non-visible) to change molecules and cell function within our bodies. As with many medications and treatments, we advise multiple sessions to achieve optimal results. For most conditions, this means 4 treatments sessions within the first 2 weeks.
What can laser therapy help treat?
The list of treatment options for the laser is extensive and includes,
Intervertebral Disk Disease
Open Wounds or Bites
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Aar and Skin Infections
Nose and Mouth Inflammation
Post Surgical Pain
Are there any risks?
Generally, the risks of laser are minimal. Since our laser is a class 4 laser, the higher power can cause increased heat production, which rarely can lead to thermal burns. Monitoring our patients carefully and moving the probe quickly through the treatment area avoids this complication. Laser therapy should not be used in cancer because it may further the progression of the disease. Patients and owners who are pregnant should also avoid being around the laser unit. As with all lasers, eye protection is required at all times during operation of the laser unit to avoid retinal damage.
What to expect during your visit(s):
Before scheduling a laser appointment, you and a doctor will come up with a treatment plan for your animal. Upon arrival for the appointment, you and your animal will be placed in a room by our designated laser technician. Both you and the technician will be required to put on the protective eyewear before beginning the treatments. Each individual treatment ranges from 30 seconds to 15 minutes depending on location, type of treatment, and size of the animal. If an animal needs multiple locations treated an entire treatment session can last up to an hour, but this is unlikely. It is not uncommon for an animal to be more sore the day after laser therapy, but they tend to improve significantly after that.
It is important to note that the results may vary from patient to patient and certain diseases may be less rewarding than others.