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Laser Therapy for Pain Control in Pets

By October 19, 2012 Complementary Therapies for Pets

Laser Therapy for Pain Control in Pets

By Alex Sunarich, BSc, DVM

I am pleased to announce the addition of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), also known as ‘cold laser therapy’ to our pain management treatment options at Orchard Grove Animal Clinic. As a veterinarian whose utmost concern is the comfort of my patients, I wanted to find a form of treatment which could be used in place of, or in addition to, the drugs currently available for the treatment of pain. Over the years, I have found that many pets do not tolerate long term pain medication, often developing side effect related problems such as diarrhea, stomach upset, behavioral changes and kidney or liver damage. I had first heard of Low Level Laser Therapy several years ago, but needed some convincing before I decided to introduce it to my practice. I spent several years researching the scientific evidence supporting the use of various types of laser treatment options for the treatment of chronic pain and inflammation before finally deciding to add  the FDA cleared Microlight ML830 Class IIIb cold laser unit to this practice.

I see a large number of middle aged and older dogs and cats who experience a lot of chronic pain from arthritis. In addition to arthritis, there are many other chronically painful conditions such as tendonitis and back pain which can be relieved with cold laser treatments. Thus far, I have been impressed with the results, and am now recommending this form of treatment for all newly diagnosed cases of pain.

The nice thing about LLLT is that there are absolutely no negative side effects. It is totally safe and it is effective in a majority of cases. Certainly, some cases of pain are so severe that the patients require additional support with traditional pain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents or even narcotic type drugs, but because the laser therapy is itself anti-inflammatory, it can reduce the dosages required for these medications.  In addition to treating pain, cold laser therapy can be used to treat a variety of inflammatory conditions from ear inflammation (otitis) to lick granulomas. It is also useful in promoting and accelerating healing after injuries or surgery.

What’s the best part about LLLT? My patients love it! They get to come for a series of calm and relaxing 20 to 30 minute sessions where they receive the laser treatment plus all of the love and affection that goes with it! In my opinion, LLLT should be a first line treatment when it comes to pain.

For more information on LLLT, please click this link

Alex Sunarich, DVM, is the owner, veterinarian and director of Orchard Grove Animal Clinic which is located in north Toronto

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