In addition to pet parasite prevention, you have other responsibilities as a pet owner. One of these is keeping your furry friend healthy and, when they fall ill or get injured, helping them heal quickly and completely. You want what’s best for your dog and will likely follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for treatment.
However, you may not be aware that other options available can speed up the healing process. In recent years, laser therapy has grown popular as a treatment method for both humans and animals. And it’s not just limited to cosmetic procedures anymore.
What Is Laser Therapy for Dogs?
Also called veterinary cold laser therapy, laser therapy uses a concentrated beam of light to penetrate deep into the tissue, which can help to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. It can also stimulate collagen production and help new blood vessels form, which can speed up the healing process.
Laser therapy can also be used to help treat various conditions in dogs, including:
- Joint pain
- Muscle soreness
- Sprains and strains
- Post-surgical pain and swelling
- Hot spots
Laser therapy is generally well tolerated by dogs. Most will sit or lie still during the treatment, typically lasting between 15 and 30 minutes. Some may experience a temporary increase in pain immediately following the treatment, but this is usually short-lived.
How Does Laser Therapy for Dogs Work?
Laser therapy works by stimulating the cells in the body to produce more ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is responsible for supplying the energy that cells need to function properly. When there is an injury, the cells in the area cannot produce as much ATP, and as a result, they don’t function as well. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and reduced healing time.
Laser therapy helps reduce inflammation and pain by increasing ATP production while also speeding up the healing process. In addition, laser therapy has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced by the body.
What Does Research Say?
Though more studies are necessary to confirm the effectiveness of laser therapy, preliminary studies suggest that it may be beneficial for treating various conditions in dogs.
A 2019 study evaluated nine dogs that had undergone thoraco-lumbar hemilaminectomies for intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). They used laser therapy daily for seven days on their incision. The study found that laser therapy improved incision healing and the cosmetic appearance.
For rehabilitation, the efficacy of lasers on tissues is not entirely understood. However, it has been shown to modulate cellular functions. For instance, lasers help modulate many biologic processes that enhance muscle regeneration.
A 2013 study looked at the potential positive impact of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) to treat tendinopathies. The study found that LLLT effectively reduced pain and promoted healing in tendinopathies, with the most significant effects seen in Achilles tendinopathy.
Side Effects of Laser Therapy for Dogs
Laser therapy is generally considered safe with few side effects. The most common side effects are temporary and include:
- Increased pain
It’s important to note that a trained professional should only perform laser therapy, such as a veterinarian or veterinary technician. Improper use of the laser can lead to serious side effects, including blindness.
If you’re considering laser therapy for your dog, talk to your veterinarian first. They can help you decide if it’s the right treatment option for your furry friend.
When Should You Consider Laser Therapy for Your Dog
If your dog experiences pain or other health problems, you can include laser therapy as an additional treatment of veterinary internal conditions. Laser therapy can provide a few benefits for dogs, including reducing pain and inflammation, stimulating collagen production, and speeding up the healing process.
Talk to your vet if your pet can benefit from it.
While further studies and research are necessary to confirm the efficacy of laser therapy, initial studies suggest it may be beneficial in treating various conditions in dogs.
Laser therapy is a painless, non-invasive treatment that can offer relief to your dog. If your furry friend is experiencing pain, inflammation, or other conditions, talk to your veterinarian if this treatment option is beneficial for your dog.