How does pet laser therapy work?

Laser therapy uses deep penetrating beams of light to alter cells and the tissue surrounding them. When the light penetrates the body's cellular components, it stimulates the targeted cells and promotes healing. Perhaps most importantly, though, laser therapy is entirely painless.

What are the benefits of laser therapy?

The main clinical benefits of laser use in pets include decreased inflammation, decreased pain, and improved wound healing.

Laser therapy is used for many veterinary medical conditions, including:

  • Chronic arthritis

  • Surgical incisions

  • Tendon and ligament injuries

  • Traumatic injuries

Laser therapy helps tissue repair by causing the following:

  • Endorphin release

  • Vasodilation, which increases blood flow to bring in oxygen and cells involved in the healing process

  • Muscle relaxation

  • Decreased inflammation

  • Faster healing and repair

Laser therapy is particularly useful for pets with limited medical treatment options, such as:

  • Pets with liver disease who cannot take medications

  • Cats, for whom only a few pain-control medications are approved

  • Exotic pets for whom medication administration is difficult or impossible

  • Older pets with diminished organ function

How are laser treatments administered?

During a treatment session, the handheld laser wand is slowly moved back and forth over the damaged tissue, producing a warm, pleasant sensation that most pets seem to enjoy and find relaxing. Sessions usually last 15 to 30 minutes, with the number of sessions and frequency of treatments dependent on the injury. Chronic conditions may be treated weekly, whereas surgical incisions and open wounds often require daily treatment.

Is laser therapy safe for pets?

Laser therapy is safe if performed correctly, using the proper settings and treatment durations. Higher-powered units can cause thermal burns to tissues if used incorrectly. Also, laser beams directed at an eye can cause permanent retinal damage, so patients and all veterinary staff must wear protective goggles during treatment.