Laser Therapy: Is It an Effective Way to Promote Healing in Dogs?

In addition to pet vaccinations, pet owners have to worry about their furry friend’s internal health. These shots don’t guarantee that your pet will never get sick, but they help build up their immunity.

One therapy option for healing is cold laser therapy, which is becoming an increasingly popular treatment for various conditions in animals. But what is cold laser therapy, and how does it work?

What Is Cold Laser Therapy?

Dog laser therapy is a type of treatment that uses lasers to target specific body areas. The lasers emit light energy that is absorbed by the tissue. This helps to reduce inflammation and pain while promoting healing.

This therapy is a non-invasive, pain-free treatment FDA-cleared and recommended by veterinarians. It is a safe and may be an effective way to treat a variety of conditions in dogs, including:

  • Burns
  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Injuries affecting the ligaments, muscles, and tendons
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Dental treatments
  • Ear infections
  • Fractured bones
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Infections
  • Post-surgical healing
  • Respiratory issues
  • Skin lesions and wounds
  • Urinary tract issues

How Does Cold Laser Therapy Work?

Laser therapy works by delivering light energy to the target area. The light energy is then absorbed by the cells, which causes a chemical reaction. This reaction then leads to the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the energy that cells need to function.

The increase in ATP helps to reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling while promoting healing. The light energy also stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.

During the treatment, your dog will be placed on a table, and the area to be treated will be exposed. The therapist will then move the laser over the area for two to five minutes. Note that each session lasts for about 15 to 30 minutes.

Most dogs tolerate the treatment well and do not need any sedation. However, some may need light sedation if they are anxious or in pain.

Your dog may need multiple sessions to see the full effects of the therapy. The number of sessions required depends on the condition being treated and its severity.

Is Cold Laser Therapy Effective?

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 completely 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.

Laser therapy is a relatively new treatment, so more research needs to be done to determine its efficacy. However, some evidence suggests it can be an effective treatment for certain conditions. If you consider this treatment for your dog, talk to your veterinarian to see if it is right for them.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Cold laser therapy is safe and may be an effective treatment with few side effects. The most common side effect is mild skin irritation, which usually disappears within a few hours.

In rare instances, more serious side effects may arise, including:

  • Burns
  • Eye damage
  • Hair loss

In case you observe any of these side effects, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

What to Expect After Treatment

After each treatment session, your dog may feel a little bit tired. It is essential to let them rest and not exercise for at least 24 hours after the treatment.

Your dog may need multiple sessions to see the full effects of the therapy. The number of sessions required depends on the condition being treated, as well as the severity of it. Your vet will develop an effective treatment plan based on your dog’s individual needs.

For example, if they’re dealing with veterinary internal medicine issues, lasers might help in addition to other treatments.

In Conclusion

Laser therapy is safe and can be an effective way to treat various conditions in dogs. But more research is necessary to confirm its efficacy. If you are considering laser therapy for your dog, talk to your veterinarian to see if it is the right option for them.