Dog Laser Therapy
Laser Therapy for Dogs - What You Need to Know
We in the veterinary field strive to stay abreast of the latest developments in our field, evolving, researching, learning, and implementing more ways to help our patients and their owners. Laser therapy is one of these new modalities we can now use to help decrease pain and inflammation in our patients, and more veterinary clinics are using laser therapy in their practice these days.
Speak with your local veterinarian about how veterinary laser therapy could possibly improve the life of your dog.
What is Laser Therapy & What is it Used For?
Laser therapy for dogs is the use of intense LED beams of light, known as a laser, to improve certain conditions. It’s used by veterinarians for anything causing pain, inflammation, or decreased blood flow in dogs.
Laser treatment for dogs is used on surgical sites after most surgeries to aid in healing and to reduce pain and inflammation. It’s also used for more chronic conditions, such as arthritis. In fact, it can be used for many medical conditions, including ear infections, skin infections, wounds, and intervertebral disk disease (a common cause of back pain in dogs). It is also enlisted to assist with pain control after dental procedures, especially if any teeth extractions were performed. It can help your dog get back to eating more quickly.
Is Dog Laser Therapy Safe? Will My Dog Like It?
A noninvasive treatment, laser therapy is very safe. Each veterinarian or veterinary technician who performs the treatment has been specifically trained regarding the proper way to administer it and how to use the laser equipment properly, effectively, and safely. It’s not painful and, generally speaking, many dogs even find it to be soothing.
What Happens During a Dog Laser Therapy Session?
During a laser therapy session, your dog will need to sit, lie, or stand still for anywhere from a couple of minutes up to 20 minutes, depending on the condition it is being used to address. Each session may last for 2 minutes for a superficial wound or hot spot to up to 10-15 minutes for arthritis or back pain.
The laser beam comes out of a hand-held wand that is moved back and forth over the area needing treatment. Sometimes this entails the wand being hovered over the target spot on your dog’s skin. Other times - such as for deeper arthritic pain - the wand will be pressed gently but firmly against your dog’s skin. The person performing the treatment will move the wand back and forth continuously at a regular pace so as not to let it linger in one place for too long.
Everyone that is present in the room during the session - sometimes even including your dog - will need to wear protective eye goggles to prevent the potential for negative effects on retinas.
How Often are Dog Laser Therapy Sessions Needed?
How often laser therapy sessions are recommended depends on what they are being used for. For conditions such as hot spots or ear infections, a laser therapy session may be recommended just once or twice. For more chronic conditions such as long-term ear infections, arthritis, or back pain, the sessions may be needed multiple times a week for 4-6 weeks to really help decrease the pain and chronic inflammation.
Thereafter, it would depend on how you feel your dog is doing at home. You’ll notice when they need another laser therapy session because they may start to seem more painful, less comfortable, eat less, be less active, or whine more. Some dogs may need the sessions once or twice a month going forward, whereas others may still require it weekly.
Watch for signs that your dog is improving at home, in that he or she seems to feel more comfortable, is more at ease, and is getting around better. Sometimes it can be very subtle changes as well, such as if your dog goes up or down a step he or she had been avoiding.
Speak With Your Veterinarian About Benefits of Laser Therapy For Your Dog
The important thing about laser therapy is it allows us to provide a different means of pain and inflammation control in your dog, especially when standard medications are not working, when additional pain control is needed, or if your dog can’t take certain pain medications due to other systemic ailments.
Laser therapy for dogs is another tool in our growing toolbox to improve our pets’ quality of life. If you feel your dog may benefit from laser therapy or have had trouble relieving a painful condition in your dog, reach out to a veterinarian near you so he or she can examine your dog and determine if laser therapy would be beneficial.