Laser Therapy and Dogs

By Dr. Dawn Bookmyer, DVM ~ Animal Hospital of Shawnee Hills

Meet Samantha, 12 years young with two major knee surgeries and no longer has a lot of mobility in her rear legs. Dragging both feet due to nerve damage, this rescue pup particularly dreaded the cold, winter months. Samantha’s quality of life has dramatically improved since she’s been treated with Therapy Laser, and this Christmas, she’s received the best gift of all. Read on to learn how Samantha’s story ends

Some of you may be familiar with the use of Therapy Laser from your experiences with your own pets or even your own doctor. Its use has become widespread since its FDA clearance in 2005. I started using Therapy Laser in 2008 and have been amazed time and time again with the success stories from our patients.

What is Therapy Laser? It’s a small, mobile unit that uses a non-invasive hand-held attachment to channel light energy to the body’s tissues. It uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate cells to produce a cascade of reactions known as “photo-bio-modulation”.  Your pet will experience reduced pain, inflammation and increased healing speed. The treatments are painless and actually are comforting to many pets because the light produces a soothing warmth. Most treatments take just a few minutes.

How often should your pet be treated with Therapy Laser? It depends on your pet’s diagnosis and how quickly he or she responds to treatments. For example, a pet suffering from chronic osteoarthritis should receive treatments at least three times a week until noticeable improvement is seen at home. Every pet is different, but most owners notice their pet limping less, moving up and down stairs with more ease, and need less help getting up from a sitting position after being stationary for awhile. After noticeable improvement is achieved, treatments can be reduced to twice weekly and then once weekly as long as your pet does not regress. A maintenance phase is recommended once you and your pet are completely satisfied with results; we provide treatments at intervals that keep your pet comfortable (once every few weeks or monthly).

Are there benefits to a single treatment of Therapy Laser? Yes! For some conditions only one treatment is necessary. For example, a bite wound abscess or post-op surgical incision will receive one treatment to reduce pain and inflammation. Your veterinarian can prescribe the best treatment plan for your pet’s condition, including treatment areas, time and frequency.

What else can be treated with Therapy Laser? The applications are endless. The only area we do not treat is the eye as the laser light can damage the retina. That is why our patients and anyone else in the room will wear special safety glasses or have the eyes protected from the light with a towel.

Does your pet suffer from one of the following conditions? Arthritis, back pain, red inflamed ears, bite wounds, lick granulomas, periodontal disease, allergies, anal gland abscesses or internal organ inflammatory disorders (affecting the bladder, bowels or pancreas)? If the answer is yes, please consider talking to your veterinarian about Therapy Laser. If your veterinary office does not offer this service, we are happy to provide a Therapy Laser consultation and complete treatment plan for pets who receive routine care at another office.

As for Samantha? She has no problem getting around after just five treatments. You can catch her motoring along the Delaware Lake levee, sometimes for up to two miles! She’s moving like she hasn’t moved in years. A few weeks ago, she would fall behind or have to stop; now, she keeps up with the younger boys.  Gaining her mobility back is the best Christmas gift of all.