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What medical conditions can cold laser therapy treat in dogs?

Therapeutic techniques can be a great addition to traditional treatment, helping to decrease pain and speed up healing. In this post, our New Ulm vets discuss laser therapy in dogs, when it's needed and what you can expect from this treatment.

What is cold laser therapy for dogs?

Cold laser therapy (also referred to as low-level laser therapy or Class IV laser therapy) has become increasingly popular for helping pets recover from injury and illness. 

This non-invasive, drug-free treatment is commonly used to treat inflammatory conditions. More recently, it has been used with traditional medical treatments to treat soft tissue or tendon injuries and arthritis. It can also encourage wound healing.

What are the benefits of cold laser treatments for dogs?

Cold laser therapy is often used for dogs in conjunction with a standard treatment plan. Some of the benefits of this treatment are:

  • Enhanced circulation
  • Allowing the muscles to relax
  • Decreased nerve sensitivity
  • Reduced pain and swelling
  • The release of endorphins (hormones)
  • May speed up the healing process

In addition, laser therapy has no known side effects, and sedation is not required. You also don't need to worry about your pet missing fur, as cold laser therapy doesn't require fur removal to complete treatment properly.

When might my dog need cold laser therapy?

Cold laser therapy promotes circulation and encourages cell regeneration, benefiting the following procedures and conditions:

  • Strains or sprains
  • Wounds
  • Bone fractures
  • Inflammation
  • Dental procedures
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Post-surgical recovery
  • Lick granuloma
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Osteoarthritis

Additionally, some pets cannot undergo the traditional treatment and may benefit from veterinary cold laser therapy. This includes:

  • Pets who suffer from liver disease are unable to take commonly used medications
  • Cats that are only able to use specific pain management medications
  • Exotic pets that may not be able to have medications administered normally
  • Older pets that are unable to be medicated due to decreased organ function

Does cold laser therapy hurt?

Veterinarians performing the treatment are well-trained and experienced in administering laser therapy, and when performed correctly, your dog should not experience pain.

In our experience, when the vet waves a handheld laser wand back and forth over injured tissue, this produces a pleasant sensation that many pets find soothing or relaxing.

Will my dog need to return for additional laser therapy treatments?

The effects of cold laser treatments for dogs are cumulative. To achieve optimal results, treatments should be completed in a series. Your veterinarian will recommend the frequency of visits.

How long is an appointment for cold laser therapy?

The length of sessions varies depending on the area being treated and how much energy is being delivered through the laser. A typical laser therapy session lasts between 5 and 20 minutes.

Before treatment, we will perform a complete physical exam, in addition to x-rays if required, to determine whether cold laser therapy is the right treatment option for your pet.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Does your dog have a condition that may benefit from therapeutic treatments, including cold lasers? Contact our veterinary team today to schedule an appointment.

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