As the title implies, we’re going to talk about LASERS in this week’s blog post! What does it mean when your veterinarian is recommending “laser therapy”?

To start, there are roughly two types of lasers: hot lasers and cold lasers. Hot lasers are cutting lasers, like what doctors use to “blow up” kidney or bladder stones. Hot lasers are used in LASIK or “laser eye surgery” to correct your vision. There are many different types of hot lasers that are beyond the scope of this blog post.

What we will be focusing on is cold lasers. In contrast to the name, it does not mean that the sensation from the laser is a cool feeling, but mainly because these types of lasers do not cut tissue.

Photobiomodulation Therapy: also abbreviated as PBMT, is roughly defined as “non thermal interaction of monochromatic radiation with a target site”. This means that we are using light to penetrate specific parts of the body and use it therapeutically for a desired effect. For many veterinary rehabilitative practices, it is an integral part to all their patients’ treatment plans; for general practices, it is a step towards a multi-modal approach to care for many different types of conditions that occur in our dog and cat patients.

Studies have shown that PBMT can reduce inflammation, promote blood circulation, help with healing, especially chronic or non-healing injuries, and decrease pain. Further studies have shown that it is especially helpful in cases of arthritis, chronic back and hind limb weakness problems, lick granulomas, post-operative incisions, gingivitis, and otitis externa. Using PBMT in combination with acupuncture can also synergistically increase the effects of the acupuncture too!

I’ve been using PBMT in my rehabilitation patients for a long time now and my clients and I have seen the noticeable changes: their pet would wobble and stiffly walk into my office. Once their session is over, and especially if I did acupuncture for them, they would immediately loosen up and have the zooms! I like to explain the sensation the pet is feeling as warm and tingly!

The only major contraindications to PBMT is applying laser directly over cancer and the eyes. This is why when you Google “doggy laser therapy”, you get a lot of photos of really cool dogs wearing goggles (or what we like to call them: DOGGLES)!

Interested in starting your pet on laser therapy? Let me know at superpetsvetrehab@gmail.com to get started! Interested in the links to PBMT studies? Let me know!

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