How is laser therapy used to treat dogs?

Laser therapy is a non-invasive photobiomodulation therapy. So basically, what that means is we use a special light that penetrates the skin and tissue that helps open up blood flow to the area. And really, the bottom line is it helps to accelerate the body's natural healing process.

Dr. Cara Hill
Advanced Animal Care

Why should I consider using laser therapy for my dog?

We use laser therapy for many different situations, and we commonly use it when your pet comes in to get spayed or neutered. We use it at the incision site to help decrease any pain at that incision site, help prevent any major inflammation at that incision site, and help it heal faster. Sometimes I use it if the dog's got a bad ear infection and that ear looks inflamed or swollen. We use it for fractures. So if somebody has got a broken toe or a broken leg, it can help with that. And our other significant use of laser therapy is for arthritis or degenerative joint disease management because it can help dogs with the inflammation in their joints and help to block some of that pain. It aids in the healing process that the body needs to go through.

What can I expect from my dog's laser therapy appointment?

So here you can expect a lot of love, a lot of cuddles, and a lot of treats because what we do is we'll have a dog kind of like,[Muvie] here—if they're a bigger dog, we've got a nice big orthopedic bed that we put on the floor for them. And the dog lies down and gets lots of love and pets. I've got our machine here. It's not plugged in and it's not turned on, but to show you guys. We touch the edge of this glass ball here to your pet. And we move it around in a circular motion like that. And the light comes out through this wand and penetrates through the skin and hair coat and everything. And so they kind of get this nice little massage for whatever we're we're doing laser on. And we tend to feed a lot of treats here, too, if they're willing to take them, so it's a big snuggle session.

How long would a laser therapy session last for my dog?

That depends on what we are lasering. So our arthritis sessions tend to take longer. What we usually do is, on average, about five minutes per joint that we're lasering. So a lot of our pets get both sides of their hips done and both of their knees done. If we're doing something like laser for wound healing or wound management, those tend to be a little quicker. Those laser sessions are anywhere from about one minute to three minutes. And that goes with our ears as well. The laser therapy that we use for our surgery, that one's pretty quick—about a minute.

How many laser therapy sessions will my dog need?

It depends on what we're using laser therapy for. Many of our arthritis patients will start with maybe one or two sessions a week for about a month. And then they come in as needed when they feel like their pet's a little stiff and sore so that they could use another session. Sometimes we're a bit more methodical with it. I use it quite a bit for wound healing and wound closure; if there's a pet that's come in, and perhaps there's a wound that's not to be closed with surgery. We'll have dogs like that come in maybe every other day for about five or seven sessions. It depends on what we're using the laser for.

So are there any risks associated with laser therapy?

No. There are no risks at all. The nice thing about it is that it is non-invasive and triggers a natural healing process within the body.

How will I know if the laser therapy is working?

In terms of your arthritic pet, you might notice them getting around a lot better. Maybe they have an easier time getting up from a laying down position, and they're not walking so stiffly afterward. When we see them for ears, we can notice that the inflammation, the thickening, and the redness of your pet's ear is improving. Or if we use them for wound closures, we see that the wound is getting smaller and smaller.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 625-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Laser Therapy - FAQs

Dr. Cara Hill
Advanced Animal Care

Is laser therapy for my dog a safe treatment option?

It is completely safe. So the great thing about laser therapy, it is non-invasive. We have our unit here; it's not set up. But basically, what it is is it's this wand that a special light comes out of. And so, really, all we're doing is touching the wand to your pet. So it's not invasive. It doesn't hurt them. They tend to enjoy it.

Are there any risks or side effects associated with laser therapy?

No, there aren't any risks or side effects. There's a couple of situations where we wouldn't recommend laser therapy. Especially when it comes to things like mass removals or things like that. But other than that, as long as we're using it appropriately, it is perfectly safe.

Is laser therapy for dogs painful?

No, it is not painful at all. And laser therapy can decrease your pet's pain. It can trigger acupressure points that provide musculoskeletal relief as well as blocking nerve receptors to reduce pain.

What question should I ask my veterinarian regarding the dog's laser therapy?

The biggest thing is figuring out what the best laser therapy plan is for your pet. And every pet is different. Maybe you have a hunting dog where you set up laser therapy sessions after a big hunt with your dog and help provide any muscle soreness and provide some relief there. Maybe you have an older pet who has arthritis and would benefit from laser therapy, or maybe your dog has an ear infection. And those ears could benefit from laser therapy. So the best thing to do is talk to your vet about what's going on with your pet, and they can help you figure out the best plan.

Does my dog need an exam before they're approved for laser?

So we like to have an exam done here, but as long as it's done within the past year here, we can set up a plan for you based on your concerns. But a lot of times, yeah, I would anticipate that there will be an exam.

My last question is, are there any signs of complications I need to watch out for at home after my dog has gotten laser therapy?

The most common sign that we run into that owners have mentioned is that their pets act like puppies again after laser therapy. So not a complaint, as there are no side effects or anything that you generally have to watch for.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 625-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Laser Therapy - FAQs 2

Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

How does laser therapy promote healing?

We use a cold laser, so this is a machine that is not going to cut or anything like that like you may be familiar with with laser surgery. But the cold laser goes in and targets the cells and the tissues that are associated with inflammation and helps those to subside a bit.

How is laser therapy used to treat acute and chronic pain?

Acute pain would be something along the lines of right after surgery or if your dog had a wound or anything like that that was initially a cut. And so we can use the laser that to run over that wound. We especially like to use it after surgery. So if your dog was spayed or neutered we can use the laser over that site to help reduce swelling and inflammation in that area and also speed up healing time a bit. When it comes to chronic wounds, we can use those the laser for things like arthritis. We can also use it for ear infections that have maybe caused the ear canal itself to become really swollen. And kind of the same concept, we're trying to decrease a lot of that inflammation that's associated with those tissues and promote overall healing and a lot healthier, normal cells to develop.

What symptoms might my dog show that could indicate laser therapy as a good treatment option?

Laser therapy has been shown to do a lot of different things over time. We used to use it as an occasional thing for inflammation associated with arthritis. But as I said before, we can use it for inflammation associated with their ears, and for inflammation associated right after pain from surgery and the swelling associated with that. And so there are many different indications for us to use it and we're learning new and more inventive things for it each day.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 202-3641, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Laser Therapy - FAQs 3

Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

How does dog laser therapy work?

Dog laser therapy focuses on the inflammation in the body. So we are targeting that inflammatory tissue to help suppress that immune response and also help promote the production of new healthy cells.

What are the biggest benefits of dog laser therapy?

Laser therapy will help to get your pup feeling better a lot faster. We've been able to find studies that show that healing as far as an inflammatory type reaction can be sped up substantially just by doing this cold laser therapy treatment.

What are the main dog illnesses that can benefit from laser therapy?

Things that we use it most commonly for are going to be for post-surgical incisions. So if your dog is spayed or neutered, perhaps we can use that to overall help promote the inflammation associated with that normal process and help speed up the healing of that incision. But we also like to use it a lot for arthritis pain. When dogs have arthritis, their joints can have a lot of inflammation associated with that. So it helps to decrease that inflammation and help promote the new healthy cells to come up and hopefully make their joints a lot more comfortable in the long run.

How does laser therapy provide pain relief?

It's all about inflammation. Just as we can take some Advil or use the heating pad or the ice packs to help decrease inflammation in our bodies, laser therapy for dogs does the same type of thing. The inflammation is all of what we're targeting with that and helping to decrease that and make these dogs a lot more comfortable faster.

How long do the benefits of dog laser therapy typically last?

So it varies, as it depends on what you're using it for, but most of the time, we're going to be using it for something like arthritis. We generally start out doing the procedure as far as the cold laser therapy about every few days for the first couple of weeks. So your dog is usually in here at least every other day, or at least a couple of times a week to help get started. But then we found that once we can get the inflammation under control, laser therapy once a week, or even down to once a month, can still be beneficial.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 202-3641, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.