"Laser" stands for "light-amplification by stimulated emission of radiation." The laser used in veterinary healing is a photon resonator with low emission, unlike the surgical lasers used for excising. Photons are essentially bundles of light energy. In fact, the way laser therapy works in the human body is very similar to how photosynthesis works in plants.
Laser treatment is sometimes referred to as cold laser therapy (CLT) or low level laser therapy (LLLT). The light emitted from one laser is all the same wavelength traveling in the same direction allowing for ideal, localized target at the affected area.
How does it work?
Laser therapy works much the same way acupuncture does--stimulating nerve endings and blood flow to promote healing at acupressure points. At the root level, it initiates mitochondrial action (known as cell "powerhouses") within individual cells. However, instead of needle insertion, light is employed for energy stimulation when using a laser.
Different classes of lasers run on different frequencies. Lower watt lasers require prolonged stimulation because they take longer to treat a point, thereby not requiring safety glasses.
Holistic vs Traditional Laser Therapy
Allopathic laser therapy tends to focus specifically on the affected area. For example, if treating a cruciate tear, the technician might hold the laser only over the injured area.
With holistic laser treatment, we remember to treat the entire body. In addition to sending photon energy directly to the injury, we would also focus on acupuncture points that correlate with healing tendons and ligaments, as well as treating other areas of the body getting strained by overcompensation.
What can it treat?
Laser therapy can treat a myriad of ailments from superficial surface wounds to deep tissue injuries and joint pain. Some of the treatable conditions include:
- Wound healing
- Skin conditions (like hot spots)
- Breaks and sprains
- Muscle, nerve, tendon, and ligament injuries
- Neuromuscular and disc diseases including IVDD and hip dysplasia
- Swelling, inflammation, and infection
- Post-operative care
- Acute and chronic pain
Is my pet a good candidate?
Some of our animal patients just don't tolerate needles (much like some human patients!). Laser therapy is a non-invasive alternative. The only sensation a pet will feel is a slight warmth as the laser travels over the body. This makes laser treatment a great option for many reactive animals or those with needle phobia--but they do have to sit still!
Perhaps the best part about therapeutic laser treatment is that there are no known side effects, making it an extremely safe practice when properly performed by a veterinary professional.
Frequency of treatment is individualized but mirrors an individualized acupuncture regimen. Ask us about laser therapy as an option for your pet!