In addition to the rabies vaccine for dogs, pet owners are also responsible for other routine vaccinations and annual checkups. But what do you do when your furry friend is dealing with an injury or chronic pain? You might consider taking them to see a veterinarian that offers laser therapy for dogs.
Read on to learn more about this non-invasive, pain-free treatment option that can provide your pup with much-needed relief.
What Is Laser Therapy for Dogs?
Laser therapy for dogs (also known as canine photobiomodulation therapy) is a treatment that uses lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to deliver electromagnetic energy waves deep into the tissue. This helps reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain while also promoting healing.
Laser therapy can also be used to help treat various conditions in dogs, including:
- Joint pain
- Muscle soreness
- Sprains and strains
- Post-surgical pain and swelling
- Hot spots
Laser therapy is generally well tolerated by dogs. Most will sit or lie still during the treatment, typically lasting between 15 and 30 minutes. Some may experience a temporary increase in pain immediately following the treatment, but this is usually short-lived.
How Does Laser Therapy for Dogs Work?
Laser therapy works by stimulating the cells in the body to produce more ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is responsible for supplying the energy that cells need to function properly. When there is an injury, the cells in the area cannot produce as much ATP, and as a result, they don’t function as well. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and reduced healing time.
By increasing ATP production, laser therapy helps reduce inflammation and pain while also speeding up the healing process. In addition, laser therapy has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced by the body.
What Does Research Say?
Though more studies are necessary to confirm the effectiveness of laser therapy, preliminary studies suggest that it may be beneficial for treating various conditions in dogs.
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 entirely 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.
Side Effects of Laser Therapy for Dogs
Laser therapy is considered safe with few if any, side effects. The most common side effect is temporary mild discomfort during the treatment, which generally disappears shortly after the session.
Possible side effects of laser therapy include:
- Allergic reactions (rare)
If your pet experiences any side effects from laser therapy, they should be temporary and resolve quickly. Ensure to ask your vet if you have any concerns.
When Should You Consider Laser Therapy for Your Dog
If your dog experiences pain or discomfort from an injury or chronic condition, laser therapy may be an option to help ease their symptoms. For example, if your pet has animal internal medicine issues, you may consider laser therapy to help with pain relief.
The key is to talk to your veterinarian about your options and what may work best for your pet’s individual needs.
Laser therapy is a non-invasive, pain-free treatment option that can help to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain while also promoting healing. It is generally well tolerated by dogs with few side effects. If you are considering laser therapy for your dog, talk to your veterinarian about whether it is suitable for your pet.
Look for a reputable animal clinic or hospital with experienced vets and complete facilities to provide this service. Ask for recommendations from your vets, or you may also look online by searching “pet laser therapy near me.” As much as possible, you want to choose a vet clinic within your community for convenience.