Cold laser therapy, also known as low level laser therapy, is a treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to interact with tissue. Laser therapy has been used for decades in human medicine, and is more recently being used in veterinary medicine. It can treat a wide variety of acute and chronic conditions.
How does laser therapy work?
The laser deeply penetrates tissue and stimulates the body’s cells to create energy. This energy stimulates metabolic processes and overall cellular function. This results in elimination of waste products and reproduction of new cells. It also releases natural, pain-killing endorphins within the body, which reduce pain, decrease inflammation and swelling, and speed the healing process.
What conditions can laser therapy benefit?
Laser therapy can help with acute and chronic issues such as
- Sprains, strains and soft tissue trauma
- Muscle, ligament and tendon injuries
- Post surgical healing and wound healing
- Pain (both acute and chronic)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ear infections
- Feline acne
- Degenerative joint disease
Acute conditions are treated until the issue is resolved. Chronic conditions, such as arthritis, may require multiple treatments. Improvement is often noticed with the first treatment, and frequency of treatments can be reduced over time.
There are no known side effects of laser therapy.
What does a laser treatment feel like?
Humans receiving laser treatments report a gentle warmth at the area being treated, so it’s safe to assume that cats feel the same effect. Since laser treatments release endorphins, many cats will relax during and after treatment.
Laser treatments do not require sedation, and cats won’t need to have their hair clipped. Treatment length varies, but usually lasts between 2 and 8 minutes. The majority of patients will show improvement 12 to 24 hours after a treatment.
Laser operators are required to wear protective eye goggles, and most practitioners will also provide protective eyewear for their feline patients.
Would you consider laser therapy for your cat?
Photo of Harriet receiving laser therapy @Renee Austin, Whimsy Cats, used with permission
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.
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