Laser Therapy for Dogs
By Canine Health
Cold laser therapy is a noninvasive procedure that uses light to stimulate cell regeneration and increase blood circulation. Cold laser therapy treats the surface of the skin, while hot laser treatments affect deeper tissues.
Hot laser treatments come with greater risk of cutting and/or burning caused by the increased intensity of laser beams.
Often called low-level laser therapy, cold laser therapy or Class IV laser therapy, by any name, is still a relatively new concept that is being used more recently to treat dogs with arthritis, tendon or soft tissue injuries and to promote wound healing.
Is laser therapy a medical procedure? Marc Newkirk, DVM at Newkirk Family Veterinarians in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., explains that it depends on the class of laser. "There are medical devices that are not available to anyone except a doctor, such as the Class IV Erchonia, which is what I use."
"I've been doing laser therapy for 15 years," says Dr. Newkirk, "The equipment is expensive, so you have to decide you are going to work with this therapy for the long haul."
Laser therapy can treat acute and chronic injuries, sprains and strains, arthritis, swelling due to back disc problems, and muscular-skeletal abnormalities. It also helps to regenerate nerve tissue after surgery.
Lasers are nothing more than a beam of light that travels at a certain frequency that allows the laser to generate heat and penetrate tissue. Some Class IV or cold lasers are programmable to a range of frequencies in order to treat many different types of problems in dogs.
Erin Troy, DVM, CCRP and certified canine rehab practitioner at Muller Veterinary Hospital/The Canine Rehabilitation Center in Walnut Creek, Calif., says, "We've been using laser therapy for seven or eight years now in healing, pain control and trigger point therapy."
Dr. Troy explains that this therapeutic procedure was used 40 years ago on humans before it was ever tried on dogs. That's interesting because as a number of consumer products are still tested on animals first before they are approved or prescribed for individuals.
Dogs find laser therapy relaxing and tend to enjoy the treatment.
"In our hospital, we use a room large enough for the dog to wander around, with a lot of a daylight," that streams in through the windows, says Dr. Troy. "We let the family hold the dog. There is a large mat for the dog to lie on or stand on, but most dogs will lie down when they receive treatment. Our dogs look forward to it because they feel better after their course of therapy."
Dr. Newkirk describes a typical laser therapy session as lasting between three to 20 minutes.
"Does the dog relax?," he says. "You get a release of endorphins, especially with the Erchonia laser. There are two beams and one of them gets shined on the brain and that creates a sense of well-being. Dogs like it, particularly at the point where they make that association between something that happened to them and something that feels good."
In a typical treatment session, the laser wand is applied to the area to be treated. "Depending on the area and the energy you are delivering, it can take up to 10 to 20 minutes," says Dr. Troy.
And, the good news about laser therapy for dogs is there's no need to shave or clip the area to be treated and the dog doesn't need to be sedated during the process. That means that treatment can be applied multiple times a day or a number of times per week.
Before treatment begins, the dog will be given a full physical along with X-rays if needed. Dr. Newkirk says, "You need a diagnosis. It could be a tumor or it could be a knee or hip problem."
If you have a dog with arthritis, according to Doctors Newkirk and Troy, you can expect to start laser treatment with two to three sessions per week, then decrease sessions to once a week, then once every two weeks.
"We base how many therapy sessions on the response of the animal," Dr. Newkirk says. "If the arthritis is more advanced, then more sessions would be needed."
Price points for laser therapy range from $25.00 to $45.00 per session at the Muller Veterinary Hospital in Walnut, California.
At Newkirk Family Veterinary, in Egg Harbor, N.J., sessions are packaged as a bundle on the first day the dog is evaluated. Then the dog comes in twice a week and half the time a technician will perform the treatment. Costs run around $80 a week for two visits.
After laser therapy, dog owners might see their dog go upstairs more often, play with a ball he's not picked up in months or go back to getting on the couch for his nightly snuggle with family members. And, when dogs have better mobility, medications can often be reduced.
Laser therapy won't cause your dog any unwanted side effects. The laser used for this type of treatment will not burn your dog's skin.
Not all veterinary practices have the facilities to offer laser treatment for your dog, as the laser equipment can be exceptionally pricey. Laser therapy treatment is becoming more popular. With increased popularity, the equipment will become more affordable and then more widely available.
"I would like to see this type of technology in every practice, just like prescription and injectable drugs. This should be one more way to manage our patients in the future," says Dr. Troy. "It's really not alternative therapy, but more of an integrative approach."
Laser therapy improves the quality of a dog's life as well as the life of its owner, because if your dog is happy, you are happy.
Courtesy of www.Vetrolaser.com
What is LLLT?
LLLT (Low level laser therapy) is a painless, sterile, non-invasive, drug-free treatment which is used to treat a variety of pain syndromes, injuries, wounds, fractures, neurological conditions and pathologies. Laser therapy can be used any time a patient requests or needs a drug-less procedure for the control of pain, when conventional therapies have been ineffective, or when the acceleration of healing from in-juries is desired.
Around the world, laser therapy is rapidly becoming a medical therapy that can heal wounds and fractures up to 60% faster and also reduce the cost of treatment for many conditions. In the U.K., LLLT has become the treatment of choice for soft tissue “whiplash” injuries and for the treatment of painful post-herpetic neuralgia (shingles pain).
How Does Laser Light Heal?
Healing with the use of light is not new. Light therapy was reported to be effective for many conditions by Hippocrates. With the development of the laser and its special properties, using light as a treatment has gained more popularity. This is because we can now use specific wavelengths of light and give accurately measured doses of energy directly to the appropriate treatment site, which was not possible with other light sources.
Low level lasers supply energy to the body in the form of non-thermal photons of light. Light is transmitted through the skin’s layers (the dermis, epidermis and the subcutaneous tissue or tissue fat under the skin) at all wavelengths in the visible range. However, light waves in the near infrared ranges penetrate the deepest of all light waves in the visible spectrum. When low level laser light waves penetrate deeply into the skin, they optimize the immune responses of our blood. This has both anti-inflammatory and immunostimulate effects. It is a scientific fact that light transmitted to the blood in this way has positive effects throughout the whole body, supplying vital oxygen and energy to every cell.
What to Expect During a Laser Therapy Treatment Session
For most pets, laser therapy is quite passive. There are no pulsating shocks felt, as in forms of electronic stimulation, nor heat used as with ultrasounds. The most noticeable sensation is the touch of the probe head of the laser, as it comes in contact with the skin.
Some pets (3-5% of those undergoing light therapy) have reported a slight tingling or tapping in a nerve or along a nerve pathway. Some have noted that they are able to sense a slight feeling of warmth. But for the most part, the treatment, which may last from 2 to 20 minutes, is not noticed at all.
Following (and even during) a laser therapy session, approximately 75-80% of pets being treated can notice an immediate improvement in their condition. This will depend primarily on the type of condition and the length of time the condition has been present.
Generally, the more chronic or severe the condition, the longer it takes to respond. The majority of conditions treated will take anywhere from 4-5 or 10-18 treatments. Once again, the number of treatments depends upon the severity of the condition and its duration. If your condition does not change immediately, it may take 3-4 sessions before a dramatic or marked change is perceived.
Lick granuloma: 6 J directly on the spot in light contact mode (barely touching). It is best to use a cover to protect the lenses from blood. Treat twice weekly until the licking stops, then as needed to control the behavior.
Hip dysplasia: Both cranial and caudal to the greater trochanter of the femur, directing the beam toward the acetabulum and pressing down firmly. Use 6 J each spot for a total of 12 J per joint. Treat twice weekly until the improvement levels off (three to four weeks) and then as needed. Some will improve with a single treatment.
Oral ulcers: 6 J directly over the outside of the lips with light pressure (these areas are painful). If the patient is anesthetized use a light contact mode with one of the marked diodes directly to the ulcer. Repeat twice weekly until the ulcers heal, being sure to watch for positive results. If the cause of the ulcer (plaque, irritation, etc) is not removed, there is likely to be treatment failure.
Cranial Cruciate strain (note, if it is torn then surgery is required): 6 J to either side of the straight patellar ligament, directed into the joint with firm pressure. Treat twice weekly until lameness improves. If some improvement is not noticed within the first few treatments then reevaluate the cause of the lameness.
Lipoma: LLLT has been shown to form transitory pores in adipose cell membranes followed by the collapse of adipocytes (Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 2009 Dec:41 (10):799-809). It is being explored for body contouring by plastic surgeons. For our purposes we wished to explore the effect on lipomas. Using firm pressure and 6 J over the mass, repeating twice weekly is flattening and dispersing the fat within a couple of weeks. So far we are very encouraged with the results.
Acute Shoulder lameness: From traumatic injury, without radiographic changes: We have had several of these and one treatment of 6 J firmly pressed over both the medial and lateral glenohumeral ligaments has resulted in a normal gait within minutes of walking around in about half the cases. The others have required only one or two more treatments.
Otitis Externa: In cases with the canals too narrow to get in with an otoscope, we flush as well as we can and treat the horizontal and vertical canal with 6 J and firm pressure over the outside of the ear, just caudal to the temporomandibular joint. Within three days we can visualize the canals and tympanum and finish flushing if needed. We then give an additional 6 J of therapy. This allows whatever medication we deem appropriate (based on cytology) to be delivered according to our standard protocols.
Post-Operative incision treatment: A single treatment over the suture site is delivered using 3 J of energy, “painting” along the site, with gentle contact. The site heals in less time and with less suture reaction.
Lumbar pain: On those typical animals presenting with a “tucked under” gait, reluctant to jump or climb, we treat directly over the spine at the level of the narrowing intervertebral spaces, or if radiographs are not a possibility, the level of the tense epaxial musculature. Treatment is 6 J each over the space(s). We also treat directly over those tense muscles, using firm contact and 6 J each area.
Hot Spots: We have been having good results with a single treatment of 3 J in soft contact mode painting the area.
Pyoderma: We have only had one such case so far. It was a 9 week old Siberian husky with severe ventral thoracic staph pyoderma. It covered the entire ventral chest area extending onto the abdomen. It was very thickened and painful. We treated it with a total of 9 J, painting the area in soft contact mode and gave a Convenia injection. No other treatment was done. Owner called back three days later to report the lesion had completely resolved.
Chronic renal failure: LLLT suppresses pathological processes in nephrocytes, and can stimulate compensatory processes in the contralateral kidney in experimental models (Urologiia. 2006 May-Jun: (3): 47-50). With this in mine we treat each kidney with 6 Joules of energy as well as the standard therapy, using the laser to compliment our standard protocols.
How It Works: Laser Therapy Demystified
The mechanics of photobiomodulation (laser therapy) are complex, and so many laser companies use this complexity to “talk over your head” in hopes to create their own pseudo-science to fit the technical specifications they are able to produce in their equipment. At K-Laser USA, we are not only dedicated to constant research and a better understanding of the underlying principles of our technology, but we are equally dedicated to making these complex ideas more readily understandable to those who use and benefit from laser therapy. Below you will find links to our most recent educational achievement: a narrated animation that simplifies the science of laser therapy. Here you will see how the K-Laser works to heal the body, and how we have developed our state-of-the-art technology to fit the science…not the other way around.
Experience the Intuition
The range of applications of Class IV laser therapy is nearly boundless and ever expanding. Our clinically driven software platform currently guides you to 55 pre-set protocols that have been intuitively organized by species, coat color, anatomy, condition, size, and chronicity.
Use your mouse as you would your finger, and take the guided tour that is our software platform. Witness for yourself the versatility of K-Laser therapy as you interact with our touch screen LCD display. Experience how easy it is to navigate through the anatomy and severity of conditions and converge on the appropriate protocol for your ailment.
No other laser company exists that can offer you the ease-of-use and robustness of technology that is the K-Laser. The #1 Class IV Laser Company will never be behind in technology…Neither will YOU with K-Laser’s continually evolving platform.