Dr. Laurel Davis, integrative veterinarian, offers Stories from a Holistic Vet, the blog of a holistic vet and “animal interpreter.” With a clinic in downtown Asheville, NC. Dr. Laurel also offers animal health, lifestyle and vaccination advice for cats, dogs and their human friends across the country.
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Cold Laser Therapy
Have you heard of it? Wondering what it’s all about? For those of you who’ve been wondering, here’s the scoop on Cold Laser Therapy for your dog or cat companion. It really does work to decrease inflammation, reduce scarring, and help cells regenerate faster. In fact, some of the best testimonials about the use of cold lasers are from their use on companion animals! There is no placebo effect with these beautiful beings of love, so when an animal is treated with a cold laser and, as a result, returns to normal behavior, it is obvious that the therapy was effective.
So what is Cold Laser Therapy?
- MYTH: Cold lasers emit a cold light. Although their name is a misnomer, as the light from this laser is actually pleasantly warm, cold lasers were named to distinguish them from their cousin, the hot or cutting laser. Hot lasers can cut, burn and vaporize tissue. They are precise tools that are often used in surgery in place of standard surgical tools (scalpels) because they do less damage to normal tissues. With hot laser therapy, operations are usually shorter and recovery is faster.
- FACT: Cold Lasers are therapeutic lasers that produce a small amount of heat and are extremely safe for use. They stimulate cells to increase cellular growth and regenerative activity. Additionally, they deactivate the nine enzymes that cause inflammation by up to 70%.
Cold Laser Therapy, also known as Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), has a photochemical effect, a bit like photosynthesis in plants. One of the main actions occurs in the mitochondria (the energy source inside every cell). Cold Laser Therapy’s primary effect happens when light is absorbed in cytochrome c oxidase, a protein in the mitochondria. When cells get stressed, perhaps due to disease, injury or aging, the mitochondria produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide displaces oxygen in the mitochondria. This reduces ATP, the essential source of energy for our cells, and causes an overproduction of reactive oxygen, leading to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is well known to lead to inflammation and cell death.
Cold Laser Therapy of the correct wavelength and density disconnects the nitric oxide, allowing oxygen back in. Because of this, ATP is restored and oxidative stress is reduced. The effect depends on the application of the correct wavelength and density of light, delivered to the target tissues for an appropriate period of time, usually in pulses between 30 to 60 seconds. Once the normal mitochondrial function is restored by Cold Laser Therapy, the cell metabolism improves and inflammation decreases.
This video is a wonderful animated description of Cold Laser Therapy.
Cold Laser Therapy can be used to treat:
- Joint injuries
- Ligament or tendon injuries
- Muscle sprains or strains
- Skin lesions or abrasions
- Post-trauma wounds
- Post-surgical incisions
- Musculoskeletal diseases
- Nerve injuries
- Inflammation and swelling
- Non-healing wounds
Laser therapy does not involve any medications, which many patients prefer. Studies so far have found that Cold Laser Therapy does not have any serious side effects when used properly by a doctor.
As far as I can see, you can’t go wrong making the decision to use Cold Laser Therapy for an ailing four-legged companion. It’s non-invasive, can be used with any other medication, supplement or therapy and doesn’t have any side effects when used properly. As a bonus, it is relatively inexpensive and it’s amazingly effective! Please contact our clinic at 828-254-2221 to find out if this treatment is right for your dog or cat.
Dr. Laurel Davis is a holistic Asheville vet offering phone and Skype consultations for animal lovers everywhere. Call 828-254-2221 or order an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype session or bring your dog or cat to her downtown Asheville, NC clinic. Read more patient stories.
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