What is Laser Therapy?
Laser therapy is a drug free, noninvasive treatment used to reduce pain and inflammation in the body, as well an increase speed of healing.
Kingsbury Animal Hospital uses a Class IV deep tissue laser. This laser uses a beam of light to penetrate into tissues at the cellular level. This laser energy starts a biological response called photobiostimulation. It primarily affects the cells by increasing cellular energy levels in unhealthy cells (healthy cells are not affected). This leads to normalization of cell functions, acceleration of the pet's own cellular healing process, and subsequent pain relief.
Laser therapy is also used in the human medicine field, most particularly in sports medicine. Many professional sports teams utilize laser therapy for treatment and pain control for their athletes.
These are the main benefits and biologic effects of laser therapy:
1. Relieving Pain: stimulates release of endorphins, activates acupuncture points, and relaxes musculature while increasing pain threshold.
2. Reducing Inflammation: increases microcirculation, promotes lymphatic flow and inhibits synthesis of inflammatory products.
3. Accelerates Tissue Repair and Cell Growth: increases production of cellular energy, increases cellular reproduction, activates cells involved in tissue repair.
4. Improves Circulation: stimulates formation of new capillaries in damaged tissue, and causes vasodilatation (dilating of blood vessels) which allows more blood flow to the area.
5. Reduces Fibrous Tissue Formation: decreases scar formation and remodels existing scar tissue.
6. Improves Nerve Function: improves regeneration of nerve cells.
7. Stimulates Immunoregulation: the laser light can stimulate production of immune mediated cells and products.
What kinds of things can be treated with Laser Therapy?
Arthritis and other bone diseases
Surgical wound therapy
Oral disease: stomatitis, gingivitis, etc.
My pet is getting Laser Therapy. What should I expect?
The doctors and technicians at KAH will work together to formulate a treatment plan to address your pet's specific condition. We will then program the laser unit to administer the appropriate amount of energy for the appropriate amount of time. The laser therapy is delivered through a non-invasive hand piece. It is not painful to your pet, but they may feel warmth from the unit. During treatment, the laser unit will beep periodically. This beeping and the warm feeling may pique your pet's curiosity; this should not be confused with pain or discomfort.
Most treatments take between 2-10 minutes per site. You can remain in the room with your pet while they receive treatment! In fact, we encourage pet owners to remain with their pet. Most pets tolerate the treatment well, and having a familiar face there can help calm any anxiety. For safety, anyone present during treatment must wear eye protection. You may be required to remove your jewelry to decrease the risk of laser beam scatter.
The majority of treatment protocols call for every other day therapy (three times a week) for two weeks. Subsequent therapy will be based on your pet's response to therapy and his or her particular needs. Our doctors will develop a treatment schedule that works for your pet based on their issue and their initial response to therapy.
We have also started using the laser on all surgical wounds and oral health treatments as a way to speed recovery and to decrease pain associated with surgery and dentistry.
What kind of results will I see?
Just like with any medical treatment, individual results will vary. Many factors (pet's age, overall health status, other medical conditions, etc.) may affect your pet's response to treatment.
To achieve optimum results, it is best to follow your pet's individual treatment protocol and the number of recommended sessions. One laser therapy session is likely not enough to see results.
What are the costs of Laser Therapy?
· If your pet has not been examined within 1 year, a physical exam will be required before treatment. If your pet is being seen for a new condition, a physical exam may also be required.
· The cost of laser therapy is $46.50 per session. This includes treatment of up to 2 sites
o For example, if your pet has hip problems, each hip is one site. So to treat 2 hips =2 sites
· Additional sites are $23.75 per site, per treatment
o For example, if your pet has hip problems and also needs a wound treated, this would be 3 sites or $70.25
· Laser packages are also available.
o The prepaid package is for 6 treatments: $231.75 (up to 2 sites)
o Prepaid additional site package: 1 additional site, 6 treatments: $116.75
· If your pet requires special handling or additional restraint from our technicians, there may be a technician service fee of $28.00
· If you choose to leave your pet with us for treatment, a charge for a brief hospital stay will apply ($22.00)
Are there any risks to my pet?
There are some conditions and medications that may make laser therapy inappropriate for your pet. Therefore, prior to treatment, one of our technicians will ask you a series of questions about your pet and any medications they may be taking. If your pet is having therapy near their face, we will use felt covering to protect their eyes.
At this time, there are no known side effects to laser therapy. Your pet may feel some warmth at the treatment site, but it will not be uncomfortable.
How do I schedule my pet for Laser Therapy?
For your pet's first laser appointment, we ask that you be present. We can show you how this process works and set up a protocol with you at this time. The first treatment will usually take 30 minutes. After the first appointment, you do not necessarily have to be with your pet; if you need to leave your pet we can work with your schedule. However, we always encourage you to be present for treatments whenever possible.
We encourage appointments for laser therapy be scheduled Monday-Friday, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. We realize this will not work for all of our clients, so special arrangements can be made on an individual basis. Although Saturdays are not a preferred day for treatment, we will also try to accommodate them as our schedule and staffing allows.