Benefits of Laser Therapy
Here at Lamond, we’re always looking for newer, better, and more effective treatments for the animals under our care. Sometimes this might be a new medication to treat disease more effectively, at other times a different surgical approach to help an injury heal with a faster recovery time. Perhaps we might invest in a new blood test to diagnose conditions faster, or a different supplier of prescription food to maintain your pet’s health. Right now, though, we’re looking towards the future – we are really excited to announce that we can now offer our patients the opportunity to receive laser therapy! This radical new treatment option can be used to reduce inflammation, reduce pain and speed healing for a wide range of different conditions – and we offer it in-house!
What is a laser?
A laser is a device that emits light waves that are “coherent” – in other words, all the waves are “in synch” with each other. This means that, unlike a torch or a lamp, there’s almost no loss of energy along the beam. As a result, we can very precisely control the amount of energy being applied to specific areas of the body, and even control the specific wavelength of light absorbed by the tissues.
Doesn’t it just heat things up or cut them?
It is true that many lasers are used industrially for heating or cutting. There are also laser surgical units, that cut and seal blood vessels – however, that’s not what we use ours for. Ours is a Class IV laser that acts directly on the tissues, deep under the skin, without causing any disruption. There’s no cutting involved, and very little generalised heating effect (some people refer to Class IV lasers of this type as “cold laser” for this reason). Instead, the energy is delivered as photons (particles of light) at a very specific wavelength to modify the function of the specific cells we target.
How does it work?
Although the details are far more complex, and in fact are still being researched, laser therapy works by altering the electron transport pathways in the mitochondria inside each cell. These mitochondria are sometimes referred to as the “batteries” of the cell – they take food and oxygen and turn it into energy, by generating tiny electrical voltages along a complex sequence of proteins and cofactors called the electron transport chain.
When these cofactors and proteins absorb light at certain specific wavelengths, they transport electrons more easily, boosting the cell’s efficiency. This means that the cell can operate more effectively, reducing inflammation and pain, and speeding up the healing process.
It is well demonstrated that the technique can accelerate healing in trials, and it is now being used more generally for a wide range of conditions.
What can you use it for?
In theory, it should be effective for any condition involving tissue inflammation or slow healing, within the range of the laser beam – in other words, although the beam can penetrate tissue to a certain depth, the deeper the target the less effective it’s likely to be. As a result, we use it primarily for target tissues that are relatively close to the skin, especially:
- Slow healing wounds
- Muscle tears or strains
- Tendon and ligament injuries and sprains
Is it safe?
Yes, as long as certain precautions are taken. For example, laser light (even at the infra-red wavelength that our laser produces) can damage the retina at the back of the eye, so our vets, nurses and patients (yes, really!) all wear special protective goggles when using the beam. However, when used properly, there are no known side effects, and the technique is very, very safe.
Would my pet be a suitable candidate for laser therapy?
Quite probably! For more information, pricing, or to arrange your pet’s first session please contact us now!