Laser therapy works in a number of ways to heal injuries and manage pain. Among them:
- It increases the release of endorphins (natural painkillers).
- Laser therapy decreases inflammation, which helps return tissue to a normal state.
- It restores metabolic function.
Robin Downing, DVM and owner of The Downing Center for Animal Pain Management LLC in Windsor, CO, uses the laser to treat post-operative pain and kick-start the healing process. She uses it on acupuncture points for patients that can’t tolerate needles. And she also uses it to manage the pain some animals suffer in the iliopsoas muscle, the muscle bundle that helps stabilize the lower spine.
Don Nunn, DVM and owner of Integrity Animal Hospital in Kingsland, GA reports that his laser is nothing short of miraculous. He uses it in quite a variety of applications, including:
- Otitis externa (an infection of the skin covering the outer ear, also called swimmer’s ear)
- Bladder inflammation
- Infectious cough
- Hip dysplasia
Results with hip dysplasia patients are especially satisfying, according to Dr. Nunn:
“We’ve had dogs who’ve been barely able to walk, then after a series of six treatments, they’re acting like puppies,” he says. “We treated a 100-pound Akita the owner couldn’t even bring in. When we got there to load him in the pickup, he was laying in his own urine.
After the first treatment, we were able to towel-walk him around. After three more, he was able to walk on his own. Then after six, he was running around the back yard.”
Laser treatments range from about $35 to $60 per session and are ideal for owners of sick or debilitated pets who are looking for alternatives to pain medications and invasive procedures. At some clinics, pet owners can even hold their animals during laser therapy sessions.