The many uses of Laser Therapy
What is Laser Therapy?
Our new Biolase system offers laser therapy for several different uses. We can use it to assist in dental work, for soft tissue surgery and for pain relief, in all species. The laser uses a specific wavelength of light to stimulate our patient’s ability to heal, by increasing circulation, reducing swelling which leads to pain reduction and improved healing times.
What can we use our laser for?
Our laser offers both surgical and non-surgical uses:
Small lumps and wart-like growths can be removed under just local anaesthetic. The ability to remove these lumps will depend on the shape and size of the ‘stalk’, as well as the temperament of the pet, but we have already successfully removed several lumps from older dogs where a full general anaesthetic may have been a risk.
Pain relief, arthritis, muscle and neurological pain. In addition to our massage, physiotherapy and acupuncture services we are delighted to be able to offer laser as part of our pain relief repertoire. We are dedicated to improving the quality of life for our patients, and the laser is a useful addition for treating arthritis, back pain, nerve issues and for post-operative rehabilitation (eg after fracture repair or cruciate ligament surgery).
Some skin infections eg lick granulomas can be improved by the use of laser around the area.
Wound healing can be accelerated, which is particularly useful in those chronic slow-to-heal wounds.
In addition to our traditional dental work we can now remove redundant or diseased gum tissue, remove certain types of oral masses and speed up healing time after extractions, with less pain and blood loss than with traditional techniques. Laser can also be useful in the treatment of chronic gingivitis / stomatitis.
The laser can also be used for immediate post-operative pain relief.
How many sessions will my pet need?
This depends on the reasons for which we are using the laser.
For pain therapy we would expect to do 2 or 3 sessions a week for the first week then 2 sessions a week until improvement was seen, then less often as indicated. You may see an improvement after the first session, or it may take several sessions – each case is individual.
For lick granulomas and wound healing, 2-3 sessions is often enough, but more may be required if the lesion is covering a large area.
For lump removals, laser therapy is usually a one-off.
What should I expect during a laser session?
You may be able to stay with your pet whilst laser therapy is administered. In many cases the patient does not react or notice that the therapy is being carried out.
For pain treatment the laser head is moved gently over the affected area for several minutes. Many pets actually enjoy the sensation.
For lump removals we would generally apply some local anaesthetic and allow this to work for 10-15 minutes before starting the procedure. In some cases this is best done with one of our qualified nurses holding your pet, for reassurance and stability. The surgical laser can be a little uncomfortable, and some fidgeting may be expected, but most patients tolerate it well.
For safety reasons, we do have to limit the number of people present whilst using laser treatment, and everyone present must wear the goggles provided.
Before and immediately after pictures of Ziggy, a senior Greyhound (eagle-eyed observers may spot that he is facing the other way in the ‘after’ shot, but it is the same dog, honest!). We applied a generous dose of local anaesthetic cream to the area, waited 10 minutes, and the cutting procedure took about 10 minutes, doing a little at a time. No sutures were required.