If you work with animals — as a vet, an athlete in an equine sport, or simply as a pet owner — you know that complaints such as tendinitis and arthritis affect animals just as severely as they affect humans. These types of conditions can inhibit their performance, as well as just simply leaving them in pain. One potential treatment that’s often overlooked is class IV laser therapy. Here’s what you need to know about it:
What It Is
Class IV lasers are laser therapy devices used to direct beams of intense light. Based on the specific frequency of the laser, it can be used to alleviate pain, improve circulation, bring down inflammation, stimulate cell regeneration, and promote natural tissue healing (after a surgery, for example). It’s completely noninvasive. Class IV lasers, also called cold lasers or low-level lasers, don’t come with the same risks of cutting or burning that high-intensity lasers do, but they can still be effective in treating soft tissue complaints. And if you’re worried about distressing the animal in question, you’ll be relieved to know that veterinary laser therapy is painless, and most animals start to relax and enjoy it once they get used to the process.
What It Isn’t
It’s important to note that the laser therapy devices discussed above are true medical/veterinary lasers, used only by qualified professionals. It’s not a fad treatment, and it’s not something that can be done at home with just any type of laser. Laser therapy has been cleared by the FDA even for use on humans for more than 10 years now, so it’s by no means untested (though, unfortunately, few people know about it). It’s not an instant cure — most animals will require between three and 10 sessions before reaching their peak benefit — but it is a strong option that should be considered.
Do you have any other questions about laser therapy for pain management in animals? Join the discussion in the comments.