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Laser Therapy - what is it? You may have heard of laser therapy as, increasingly, the veterinary industry is utilising it as a safe, pain-free and non-invasive complementary therapy for a wide range of ills. Pet physiotherapists too are using it in their treatment plans, seeing greatly improved outcomes for many musculoskeletal conditions.

We at Cedar Grove Vets aim to treat pets as individuals who respond differently to different treatments. We look beyond medications as the only means of improving pet health, and laser is just one part of our complementary therapy base available to owners who are like-minded when it comes to treating their pets.

But what is laser therapy and how might it benefit our pet population?

Laser therapy uses the process of 'photobiomodulation' to effect chemical changes at a cellular level in the body. The red light emitted from the hand-held probe contains photons, which pass through tissue and cells without damaging them. These photons contain a great deal of energy which transfers to cells and causes a number of effects, including an anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effect as well as that of increased healing.

The beauty of this therapy is its versatility; so many of our patients, with a wide range of conditions, can benefit from this treatment which many of our clients choose to use due to its non-surgical and drug-free nature.

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What can it do?

Laser therapy can speed up and improve wound healing outcomes by acting in a number of ways. It causes vasodilation, meaning that blood vessels become wider. In turn, more blood can flow to the treated area, bringing with it the required components for healing. Waste product is also taken away more easily leaving the wound site in a better state to regenerate. Swelling and inflammation is also reduced and, as a result, so is pain.

The energy within the red light of the laser stimulates cellular development, meaning that more of the elements required for healing are available at the site, more rapidly. As a result, the body is able to lay down fresh tissue at an increased rate. The quality of this tissue is often improved too, because the laser also encourages the formation of immune cells. Immune cells reduce infection which can otherwise delay wound healing. Due to the quality of the enhanced healing process, it is also possible to reduce the amount of scarring.

Laser therapy can help a range of wound types in this way, including puncture wounds, acute or chronic wounds, as well as surgical wounds. We commonly use laser postoperatively after surgical orthopaedic procedures. It can assist both wound healing, and inflammation within the affected joint.

Laser therapy can help with so many more conditions than are described here, from sprains and strains, to conditions of internal organs - joint disease is perhaps one of the most common uses for laser therapy. There are a range of degenerative joint diseases affecting pets that it can help with. The nature of conditions such as osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia, for example, is that they are chronic. As the conditions develop, certain medications have seemingly less effect, and we are regularly required to assess and change therapeutic protocols. For this reason, laser can prove to be a fantastic addition to a holistic approach in treating these patients.

Being drug-free, the body doesn’t have to work hard to metabolise and eliminate it which often appeals to owners, especially those with older pets. In a similar way to wound healing, laser reduces inflammation and pain within joints, increasing circulation and resulting in more comfort when exercising, and an improved movement range.

Will my pet mind it?

Should you bring your pet for laser treatment, you might be surprised at how well it is tolerated. In fact, many of our patients relax right into it and enjoy the gentle warming of the laser as it passes soothingly over their area of ill. Treatment regimes can vary and, whilst you might see positive changes after a single session, some conditions require a course of treatment in order that most benefit is felt. In general, the practical benefits that you will notice in your pet are reduced pain, increased activity and a better ability to be able to rest and relax.

So if you like the sound of a safe and effective, drug-free, painless therapy for your pet, or if you have any queries about other conditions that laser can positively impact, please get in touch with our friendly team who will be happy to tell you more.

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