Laser therapy has become a growing treatment option in the veterinary world. Laser treatments show promising results in dogs experiencing chronic inflammation, pain, or skin lesions.
It is a non-invasive and painless therapy that emits a beam of light with rapid effects on inflammation. It stimulates blood and lymph circulation, inducing reabsorption of extracellular fluids. By reducing inflammation, laser therapy also has positive effects on pain.
Cold laser therapy for dogs
Cold laser therapy (also known as low-level laser therapy) emits a beam of light that penetrates deep into the tissues without causing damage. It is called “cold” because, unlike other types of lasers, it does not generate heat. These days, cold laser therapy has become very common, and other than taking your dog to the vet, you can also purchase a cold laser therapy device for dogs and use it at home.
Laser therapy has the following advantages:
It is non-invasive and painless;
It can be applied to pets of any age;
It has a short treatment time – dogs can return to a lifestyle without pain and discomfort fairly quickly;
It reduces or eliminates pain in a short time;
It has a strong anti-inflammatory effect;
It improves blood circulation with consequent healing of superficial lesions, such as wounds or ulcers;
It can stimulate nerve regeneration;
It can improve pain associated with fractures or dislocations;
It can heal stretches and muscle contractions;
It offers rapid recovery of the structural integrity of injured muscles;
It has no known adverse side effects, unlike other treatment methods.
Cold laser therapy can be used in a wide range of conditions in dogs, such as:
Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD)
Muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries
Soft tissue trauma
Anal gland infections
Ear infections (chronic otitis)
Hot Spots and open wounds (ulcers and burns)
Most dogs receiving cold laser therapy are elderly dogs with musculoskeletal disorders, which can cause pain and discomfort and can be manifested through:
Abnormal sitting or lying posture
Limping, unable to get up or lie down
Circling multiple times before lying down
Whining, groaning, or other vocalizations
Difficulty climbing stairs, getting into the car, jumping on the bed
Lack of grooming
Licking or biting the affected area
Lack of appetite
How does laser therapy work for dogs?
Through the effects the laser light has on tissues, cold laser therapy can reduce inflammation and pain, speed healing, and promote regeneration.
Light enters at a cellular level, where it is absorbed and transformed into energy – this biochemical response is called photobiomodulation (PBM). This leads to the suppression of pain and the reduction of inflammation in the affected tissues.
Cold laser therapy for dogs reduces pain
Endorphins are chemicals produced by the body to reduce pain. When cold laser therapy is applied to an affected area, endorphins are released. More endorphins mean less pain.
Cold laser therapy for dogs reduces inflammation and swelling
The laser can influence the mechanisms of inflammation at different levels. First of all, there is active hyperemia due to an increase in the diameter and a decrease in the permeability of the lymphatic vessels and capillaries. This determines a washing effect of the inflammatory substances.
The supply of oxygen and nutrients increases due to vasodilatation, an essential process for repairing damaged tissues. The laser stabilizes the mast cell membrane and stimulates phagocytes, which will remove harmful substances.
Cold laser therapy for dogs accelerates healing
During laser therapy, the local circulation is activated, thus increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the affected area. The laser light interacts with tissues at the cellular level and increases metabolic activity within the cell, improving the transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. It initiates the production of cellular energy, which leads to tissue repair, scar tissue formation, accelerated healing, decreased inflammation, and reduced pain.