Lasers are not just for science fiction, and at the Belle Plaine Animal Hospital, lasers are not just for surgery anymore either.
The clinic’s newest laser is a class one MR4.ActiVet laser with the capacity to disperse several different wavelengths of light deep into living tissue. The wavelength is such that, instead of cutting into the animal’s skin, the light waves have a therapeutic effect.
The basic function of the laser is to stimulate the mitochondria within the cells of living tissue, which helps to relieve pain and stimulate healing. The red light rays sooth the skin and muscle while the blue light rays inhibit bacteria growth.The gallium arsenide laser also operates by “superpulsing;” that is, turning on and off in quick succession to avoid heat build-up in the tissue.
Laser therapy is administered multiple times per week over the course of several weeks to speed the rate of healing for infections and wounds. When applied to the joints, it relieves inflammation and eases pain caused by arthritis. Animals undergoing surgery can look forward to a quicker and easier recovery with the help of laser therapy. This also allows Dr. Kelso to decrease dosage of pain medications without compromising comfort.
While therapeutic lasering techniques were originally developed in the field of sports medicine to treat human athletes, the technology has only recently been adapted for animals. What started out as a large, bulky instrument is now lightweight and hand-held for easier use with dogs and cats.
The laser is an important tool because it stimulates healing, shortens recovery time, and relieves pain. That makes both the animal and the owner more comfortable.