What is laser therapy?
Laser therapy for dogs. It sounds like something from a Sci Fi movie, don’t you think? But it’s not Sci Fi. It’s real and it’s helping dogs with all kinds of issues.
The word “laser” is actually an acronym. It comes from the phrase “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. You might also hear the terms LLLT (low level light therapy) or red light therapy, but they all refer to the same type of treatment.
This therapy, also known as cold laser therapy, is a medical treatment that uses focused light, tuned to specific wavelengths. This light causes a change at the cellular level.
Some lasers are “hot”, strong enough to do surgery, while others, like what I’m discussing, are cold lasers. Cold lasers are the ones you should get to use for your dog.
What are the benefits of laser therapy?
You always want to check with your vet before you start a therapy. They can make sure you’re not missing something important and make recommendations about laser therapy as well as other approaches. Laser therapy seems to be most helpful with issues that need better circulation. Laser therapy can help with
- Pain management
- Wound healing
- Improving nerve function
- Osteoarthritis and other inflammation
- Healing infection
- Other uses that are less widely known
Using a laser
Basically, a treatment session involves holding the device, on the appropriate settings, over the problem area for 1-5 minutes. It causes NO discomfort to your pet. For safety, whoever is in the immediate area should wear eye protection since the light can be hard on the eyes.
Depending on the condition, location, etc., treatments might be done a couple times a week for a couple weeks. For more complicated or longer term problems more frequent treatments for longer periods of time might be helpful. Your vet and the maker of the particular device you’re using can help you determine a plan.
How do you get access to a good device?
You have lots of options for finding a device that will work.
– You can buy online. An investment of $2,000 – $3,500 should get a decent laser that is rated well by its buyers. You can find them for less, but may not get the results you’re hoping for. You don’t have to have a vet involved to order one of these, although their advice is still important.
– Depending on the condition, you can get your vet to write a prescription allowing you to get a higher powered laser. These can run $5,000 up to $20,000 or more. You might not need a laser of this caliber, but if you use it on many animals or have higher level needs, the investment can be worth it.
– Many vet clinics offer treatments on a session by session basis. The investment isn’t nearly as large, but you have to go back to the vet each time a session is needed. They might also rent the device for a period of time for home use.
Our choice was an Erchonia XLR8, a mid-level device. It’s been easy to use and we’re absolutely LOVING it so far. One of our dogs has hip dysplasia, while another has juvenile arthritis. Each one is treated at least 2x/week, having much less pain and seeming much happier.
Is laser therapy right for your pets?
The answer is probably so. Depending on the issues your pet is having, this treatment method has been showing some really great results. And since using one of these devices doesn’t always require purchasing it, you can easily access it without a large investment.
For dog conditions, read this post from PetMD.
Have you tried a laser on any of your pets? Tell me about it in the comments, below.