Understanding Laser Treatment
Red completed the second of four laser treatments for his arthritis, and to date, his pain and stiffness have almost entirely disappeared. I realized this week – and in response to many questions – that I didn't fully understand the biological effects of laser treatment for animals, it is a fairly new development in the veterinary world.
First off, laser equipment is expensive, my vet – the Cambridge Veterinary Service – offers special rates for people who buy the treatment in bundles, in this case, four treatments. That cost $150, paid up front. I went online and also asked our vet, Dr. Suzanne Fariello, how laser surgery worked. Red has two more treatments to go.
Laser treatment is not simple to understand or explain, but I'll give it a shot here.
Simply, laser surgery decreases inflammation by reducing (killing) chemicals that cause inflammation. It also heals by increasing circulation around damaged or swollen or inflamed areas. It manages pain by increasing endorphins, hormones that activate the animals opiate receptors – pain killers – thus managing or decreasing pain.
The lasers also speed up cell growth, and help produce healthy new cells to replace the older and sometimes damaged ones. They increase the energy available to the cells so that they can take on nutrients and discharge waste products more quickly.
Lasers reduce the formation of excessive scar tissue caused by arthritis or join wear and damage and join function. This make sit easier for the animal to move comfortably. I saw instantly that Red was running more smoothy after the treatment, his limp was gone.
Dr. Fariello also sent me a link to a site that details the biological effect of lasers on animal injuries, it was helpful.
The transformation in Red's case was quite striking, and almost instantaneous.
He was struggling to stand up, and limping badly. He was sluggish and uncomfortable, he seemed to be in constant pain. All of those symptoms disappeared within 24 hours. I am also giving him anti-inflammatory medication twice a day, advanced joint medication tablets and considered some massage by the trained vet techs in the veterinary practice.
Dr. Fariello was impressive, she diagnosed Red quickly and without the need for X-rays or anesthesia. The cost was just about $300, that included four visits for laser treatment, medication and diagnosis.
I would recommend this treat for arthritis, older dogs, joint or muscle pain or injury. It is not intrusive or invasive, the dog has to get used to the goggles, that was the trickiest part. There is no pain or injecting.