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|Is your pet a good candidate for laser therapy?
If your pet suffers from arthritis, your pet may be a good candidate for laser therapy.
Symptoms of arthritis include limping, or a general “slowing down” in movement; your pet may be unable to jump as high, run as far, or move as quickly. Over time, movement will appear labored.
However, if your pet also has cancer, your veterinarian may not recommend treatment. Laser therapy can increase the flow of blood to cancer cells, which may promote their growth.
Ask your veterinarian about your pet’s arthritis treatment options.
Laser therapy is a cutting-edge technique in veterinary medicine for managing many conditions, including chronic pain in pets. Class IV (cold) laser therapy is especially effective for treating pets that struggle with osteoarthritis pain whether or not they have orthopedic surgery.
Cold laser therapy is a noninvasive procedure that uses light to stimulate blood flow and increase circulation. It is not a surgical laser which cuts tissue, but a laser with different wavelengths to help heal tissues. The laser may even be used as a part of acupuncture in place of the needles.
Your veterinarian will first assess a pet’s pain management needs to determine whether he or she is a good candidate for laser therapy. It is not recommended for pets with cancer to have laser therapy as it could worsen or spread the malignancy. The doctor will create a custom treatment plan. Dogs and cats generally receive the greatest pain relief benefits from a series of eight to ten sessions, usually starting two to three times weekly, tapering down to weekly appointments.
Treatment sessions are tailored to each pet’s individual needs. Smaller dogs may only need eight to 10 minute sessions. A larger dog that suffers from arthritis in multiple joints may benefit from a longer, 30-minute session. During a treatment session, the pet reclines on a table or may even lie on a blanket on the floor. Some veterinarians will even dim the lights and play soothing music, creating a mini “spa” experience for the pet. Your veterinarian may allow you to be present for these sessions, but you will need to wear special goggles to protect your eyes.
Pets that undergo orthopedic surgery may need up to six months of recovery time. Physical therapy helps the pet to recover and become active again. Laser therapy is a common adjunctive treatment that allows faster healing of the surgical incision, and also helps to relieve the arthritic pain.
Many arthritic pets respond positively to laser therapy. In fact, some pets even fall asleep during treatment sessions as it is the first time they are finally able to relax and not be in pain.
In addition to helping manage arthritis pain, veterinary laser therapy has numerous other applications. Treatment with a Class IV laser may help heal wounds, treat skin disorders such as lick granuloma, and help surgical skin incisions heal faster.
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Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.
The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.