Like acupuncture, laser therapy is an alternative treatment for a variety of conditions including arthritis, connective or soft tissue injuries, sprains, strains, or wound healing where the use of needles may not be possible or desired.
Cleared by the FDA in 2003, Cold Laser has quickly grown as a safe, drug free or complimentary option in both human and veterinary medicine for the treatment of injuries, pain, and even infection. Laser therapy uses a small, handheld device that produces an intense, directed infrared light. This light stimulates the healing process and natural pain modulators in the tissue. The therapy stimulates the production of healthy new cells, and increases circulation - promoting healing, and reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Dr. Dugger has found laser therapy beneficial for the following conditions:
- Post surgical pain / inflammation
- Ulcerations / infection of skin / gingival
- Sprains / strains / joint swelling
- Hot spots / lick granulomas / burns
- Ear infections / inflammation
- Arthritis / joint pain
- Spinal / disk pain
- Chronic pain
- Fracture pain and assisted healing
Laser therapy works through a process known as "photo-bio stimulation", the biochemical, non-thermal effect results in exposure of cells to various dosages of energy and varying wavelengths of infrared light. When the laser is applied, it stimulates the cells to increase production of collagen and increases ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Collagen is the main component of connective tissues and a key in trauma recovery, and ATP is the cells fuel: essential for normal, healthy cellular activity. Increasing ATP is a boost to the cells recovery system and speeds healing. Reduced pain and inflammation are seen because of the laser, and increase vascular activity bringing health cells to the injury site.
Where lasers differ from acupuncture is the laser's ability to promote increased collagen production - beneficial in healing damaged tissue. There is also no pain from the use of a laser. Where the wound or condition is overly painful, laser can be of more benefit. However, the use of both acupuncture and laser can be completely complimentary to each other providing an extremely effective tool in pain management and healing.
Laser therapy sessions are best done in a quiet, comfortable environment promoting relaxation of the patient. Like acupuncture, many animals find it quite soothing and may fall asleep. The treatment is safe and non-painful, making it useful in even the most painful conditions.
The session lasts from a few minutes to 1/2 hour. Other therapies or medications may be recommended for optimum results. The treatment schedule varies greatly depending on how acute or chronic the pet's condition, type of injury, area being treated, and response to treatment. Many times, treatment may be recommended daily, every other day, twice weekly, or weekly, and tapering as the condition responds. It typically takes 1 to 6 treatments, or up to 10 to 12 sessions for more chronic conditions to respond. However, pain relief is usually seen after the first treatment.
If you wish to try cold laser therapy for your animal, seek out a qualified veterinarian specially trained in using the laser to treat the specific needs and conditions of animals.
Dr. Dugger is trained in the use of cold laser therapy by the American Institute of Medical Laser Accreditation (AIMLA).
If you'd like more information on this option, please contact Dr. Dugger's office at 303.257.0202.