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Arthritis pain in dogs and cats doesn’t have to mean high doses of prescription pain relievers as the only source of relief. This is good news given that your pet’s liver can be affected by long-term use of many medications. As veterinarians, we’ve long had to be precise with our recommended dosages and regular follow-up bloodwork for this reason. And while laser therapy doesn’t mean the end of medications, it can mean reduced medications. That, in turn, means reduced side effects. Cold laser therapy for arthritis pain in dogs and cats is a favorite weapon in our battle against pain in your furry family members.
Cold laser therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or Class IV therapy, is a wonderful, non-invasive, painless laser that works beautifully to help reduce pain. It uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal. This results in reduced inflammation, reduced pain, and increased circulation. The laser does not get hot, so it is completely comfortable to patients.
Cold laser therapy works by increasing metabolic activity within cells. This means we are able to work with the body at its most basic level in a way that produces no side effects. It is beneficial for more than just arthritis. We love using it to speed healing to injuries or after surgeries, too.
We use the most popular kind of cold laser equipment called K-Laser. K-Laser also makes cold lasers that have been used on humans for years!
Cold laser therapy for arthritis pain is a wonderful treatment method, but the effects are cumulative since we’re working with the body to stimulate its own abilities to provide relief. We usually begin to see notable improvement in pain within a couple of weeks of treatments.
Each treatment takes mere minutes. Because it’s not a good idea to look directly at the laser light, everyone in the exam room, including your pet, gets to put on a pair of protective glasses. Pets look pretty cute in theirs! Us? Depends on how into the ‘80s you are! Then a technician will turn on the laser equipment and move the laser back and forth over the target area of the body for a set period of time, just a few minutes. Then you’re done!
Your veterinarian will make a recommendation for the frequency of your pet’s treatments based on their needs at the time. Often, you can expect two or three visits the first week, a couple of visits the second week, then decrease from there into the third week. By this time, pain relief is usually obvious. Your vet will make a recommendation on how often to return for maintenance treatments. It depends on the pet, but this could be once every two or three weeks on average.
Cold laser therapy for arthritis results will vary depending on the severity of the arthritis itself, so we aren’t always able to stop use of prescription pain medications, but we can often postpone them or reduce the dosage and/or numbers of medications being taken overall. Keeping up the schedule of maintenance treatments helps us to determine exactly if and how much medication your pet might still need by giving us a consistent baseline from which to work.
Check out this video by K-Laser, and come see us to learn more!