Cold laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment that has been shown to help reduce inflammation, accelerate healing, and relieve pain. Through the use of a powerful laser, infrared light penetrates tissues up to several centimeters, depending on tissue density. This is not helpful for problems deep within the thoracic or abdominal cavities, but it is ideal when it comes to joint health management.
When the light enters body tissues, cellular metabolism increases, thereby increasing circulation. This delivers blood-borne inflammatory and pain mediators to the joint faster.
Your pet does not feel anything during a cold laser treatment. Rather than actually feeling chilly, it is referred to as “cold” laser therapy because the class of laser used (class IIIB) does not generate any heat.
WHEN DOES IT START WORKING?
Laser treatments start working immediately with both pain and healing, but you may not notice your pet feeling better for several hours to a day later. While you might not see your pet skip out of the office after an appointment, it should feel more comfortable by that evening or the next morning.
Different animals react differently to the laser. While some animals show a drastic improvement, others might have a more subtle reaction. Other modalities are available to help with your pet’s pain, so please let your rehab vet know if your pet is not responding strongly to the laser.
Keep in mind that no matter how the laser affects your pet’s pain level, it will inherently help with any healing that needs to happen within the joint, even if that involves only microscopic injuries or “microtrauma.” For this reason, your rehab vet may continue to use the laser in addition to other pain-reduction techniques, depending on your pet’s condition and situation.
HOW LONG DO THE EFFECTS LAST?
Unless your pet exacerbates the painful area (a misstep or a fall, for example), the laser’s effects should last anywhere from 3-5 days. It is common for your rehab vet to suggest once- to twice-weekly treatments (or more, depending on your pet’s situation).
Sometimes, the frequency of laser treatments decreases after an initial series. You know your pet best; please discuss your observations with your rehab vet at each appointment. Eventually, it may be possible to go a month or more between laser treatments.