Cold Laser Therapy for Animals – A Non Surgical Approach to Pain & Lameness

The future is here and medicine is now able to heal tissue with light frequencies, sound frequencies and pulsed magnetic waves.    The  most futuristic of all healing modalities is the use of  low energy laser beams  to heal tissue, reduce pain, and provide the patient additional energy.   The term laser is an acronym that stands for  “Light Amplification thru Stimulated Emission of Radiation.  There are both high power and low power lasers.   The high powered “hot” lasers are cutting lasers and are used in surgery, industry, or by the defense department.  The low power or cold lasers are used  in supermarket barcode readers, compact disc players, lecture pointers, laser light shows and medicine.    The therapeutic uses for  low energy soft lasers in medicine includes the promotion of tissue healing and the reduction of pain and swelling.   Lasers are being used by medical doctors, veterinarians, dentists, chiropractors and  physical therapists.  Holistic equine veterinarians have used lasers to perform acupuncture and treat joints for over 20 years.  The first therapeutic lasers produced were either infrared or red radiation.   More recently green and blue lasers have come in use.  Each colored laser has advantages and disadvantages over the others.   Regardless of color these low energy lasers produce no heat and there are very safe to use with the exception of the danger they may pose to the eyes if the patient or physician stares directly into the beam.

It was in 1973 that Friedrich Plog in Canada discovered that lasers could be used in place of needles to stimulate acupuncture points.  Later that decade Dr. Endre Mester a professor in Butapest performed a number of animal studies and subsequent human trials where he used laser irradiation to heal patients suffering from chronic unhealed wounds that were unresponsive to other treatments.  These patients provided the first direct evidence of the photobiostimulative potential of low energy laser therapy in humans.

Based on the reported successes of Plog and  Mester a range of research projects were intiated, principally in eastern Europe, China and the Soviet Union.  The positive findings of this research has resulted in cold laser therapy becoming a popular modality in those countries and is reflected in the large number or researched papers which originated from these countries.   However for some reason the acceptance of  soft  l laser therapy in the USA has been much slower to catch on and many new innovative lasers licensed in Europe have not been licensed by the FDA.

Within the medical profession the  use of low level laser therapy is most enthusiastically used by  physiotherapist.  In a survey of physical therapists they rated low level laser therapy more effective than any other form of electrotherapeutic modalities including, ultrasound and pulsed electromagnetic therapy when it came to wound healing, pain relief and the reduction of tissue swelling (edema) .   I have used red and infrared lasers to  treat dogs and cats for arthritis, hip dysplasia, intervertebral disk disease, spinal arthritis (spondylosis) and torn cruciate ligaments.

I have recently updated my  class 3B laser to a class 4 laser.     The increased power allows for greater tissue penetration and greatly reduces the time it takes to a painful or debilitated dog or cat.    It also allows for treatment without the need to shave the hair on thick coated pets.  Frequently I will combine this new laser therapy with prolotherapy or acupuncture hasen clinical results.

Low level laser therapy may be applied directly to the skin or applied from 1 to 3 inches above the skin.  This form of laser application is referred to as “transcutaneous” (through the skin).     When applied to the skin red lasers penetrate only to a depth of   1/8 inch whereas infra red lasers can penetrate to a depth of 8 cm. and can actually have an effect on internal organs.   When applied to vascular areas of the skin, lasers can  be used to irradiate circulating red blood cells and produce a systemic effect. .   Lasers can also  irradiate blood through  intravenous application.   Regardless of which method is used the effects of laser blood irradiation are as follows:

1.   an improved immune system function with increased numbers of white cells(lymphocytes and phagocytic neutrophils  which engulf bacteria)

2.   a reduction in blood clotting time making strokes less likely

3.  an increase in microcirculation and tissue oxygenation

4.  an  increase in cellular energy production (ATP) through stimulation of the  mitochondria

5.  a relief of pain and swelling

6.  provides antispasmotic, anti inflammatory effects

7.   improves liver and kidney function

8.  Stimulates microcirculation in the central nervous system- specifically the hypothalamus and  limbic systems leading to stimulation of hormonal, metabolic, immunologic, and    autonomic nervous system function

9.    stimulates the the antioxidant enzyme system

10   improves the red blood cell regeneration (erythrogenesis)

Specific Applications

1.  Intervertebral disk disease (slipped disk in back)

2.  Degenerative joint disease

3.  Cruciate ligament tears

4.  Soft tissue injuries: muscle, tendon, and ligament strains and sprains

5.  Acute and chronic ear disease

6.  Sinusitis and rhinits

7.  Pre and post surgical care

8.  Wound care

9.  Re energizing sick and debilitated animals

10.  Rehabilitation and physical therapy

11.  Immune system support

12.  Autoimmune disease

13.  Acute and chronic pain relief

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Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal,  one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, and reptiles with both conventional and alternative medicine.  Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy.  He is the author  of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit  area  including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw counties.   Cities in these counties include Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford, Livonia, Hazel Park,  Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson,  Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Waterford, Union Lake,  Rochester,  Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica,  Grosse Pointe,  Romeo, Shelby township, Washington, Flint, Hartland,  Lansing, Okemos, Howell,  Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio

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