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LASERS…not just for Star Wars anymore

Author: Dr. Christine Calvert, DVM

LASERS…not just for Star Wars anymore

 

By:  Dr. Christine Calvert

Owner, Calvert Veterinary Center

Co-authored by Stephanie Robaczynski, LVT

 

Did you know that unlike what we see in the movies, LASERs can be used for beneficial purposes in your pet!  The word LASER  is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.  Lasers have been successfully used for surgery and therapy in humans for many years.  A special type of laser, Cold Laser Therapy has been in use for nearly 40 years and has recently become an affordable and exciting treatment modality in veterinary medicine.

 

Cold Laser Therapy uses light energy to benefit your pet.  First, it promotes healing to allow for quicker recovery from surgery or injuries.  Second, it decreases pain.  This makes it a great option for treating conditions including arthritis, cruciate ligament injuries, and back or neck pain just to name a few.  Lastly, the Therapy Laser decreases swelling.  This can be helpful for post-surgical treatments, after tooth extractions, as well as for any inflammatory conditions in the body (ear infections, skin infections, ligament injuries, and fractures)

 

 

Therapy Laser is a comfortable and relaxing procedure for your pet.  The laser light is delivered with a non-invasive hand piece to treat the affected area. Your pet will feel a gentle and soothing warmth. As the laser is administered, many pets will relax, much like you would while experiencing a good massage. The almost immediate relief of pain will allow your pet to be comfortable and even anxious pets will be more relaxed and enjoy the treatment.

 

 

Many pets will feel almost immediate relief after the first treatment as pain and inflammation are reduced.  Pet Parents will see improved mobility in their pets when treating joint conditions and faster healing for wounds and surgical incisions. Your pet will be more relaxed and comfortable . For some chronic conditions, a series of treatments may be necessary before you see results due to the severity or complexity of the condition.  Each pet is different, and treatments are unique and tailored for your pet's specific needs.

 

This versatile tool can be used on all types of pets from cats and dogs to iguanas and even chickens. One of the most unusual patients that came to our office for the benefit of laser therapy is a young chicken named Lucy. She was pecked nearly to death by her not so welcoming coop-mates and her ability to recover from her injuries was very questionable.   She had no feathers or even any skin on the top of her head, leaving the bone of her skull exposed.  Her back was plucked completely bald of feathers. Even her ears were unrecognizable.   We knew this would be an uphill battle so Lucy's climb started with aggressive oral antibiotics, pain medications, and a topical ointment to protect the skin and help with infection. It was clear that if she was going to have a chance at survival we needed to use every tool available. 

 

Laser treatments were recommended  to control pain and improve the blood blow to the area of her injuries to allow more rapid healing.  Treatments were started daily and tapered down until the skin started forming over her skull.  Lucy was very comfortable with the treatments and even seemed to enjoy them. Throughout her treatments she continued to eat well and drink while maintaining her normal activity level.  A few months later Lucy has re-joined her flock after a gradual introduction and is thriving. 

 

This time of year it is common to see our four legged family members start to show signs of slowing down or having difficulty getting up after sleeping which is seen in pets who suffer with  arthritis.  For chronic pain such as arthritis, typically 6 treatments over a 2 week time span are initiated and then the treatments are decreased to once a week or once every 2-3 weeks depending on the pet’s response.  Laser therapy is especially beneficial for pets with chronic kidney or liver disease where traditional oral pain medications may lead to further organ damage.

 

Cold Laser Therapy is a drug free way to provide excellent pain control.  It is safe and effective with no discomfort for your pet while getting the treatments.  If your pet is experiencing pain or any illness, call Calvert Veterinary Center at 410-360-7297 to see if your pet is a candidate for laser therapy.  Your pet can experience the relief they deserve.

 

 

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