HomeNewsLaser Therapy Heals Pups → DETAILS

Laser Therapy Heals Pups → DETAILS

Dover, DE – Nicky is an easygoing, friendly yellow Labrador retriever who loves to run big circles in her yard in Marydel, preparing for the days she spends hunting duck and geese with her owner, Bill Nickerson.

But just a few years ago, Nicky wasn’t feeling so spry. Arthritis was starting to take hold of her joints and she had a partially torn ligament in one of her knees.

Her hunting trips grew less frequent, and the pain kept her sitting in the grass instead of lapping around the yard.

Nicky, now 9 years old, owes her comeback to the team at Forrest Avenue Animal Hospital in Dover and a little piece of veterinary technology called the Companion Therapy Laser.

The therapy uses a concentrated beam of light to stimulate cell growth and promote blood flow in the part of the body it’s directed at, which makes it perfect for treating old dogs who, even though they’re hurting, still want to stick to their same tricks.

Dr. Kim Gaines, one of the vets at Forrest Avenue, said the laser helps decrease pain in a new way, often avoiding the need for powerful and expensive drugs used to treat arthritis or after surgery.

“We like to use it as alternative, drug-free pain management,” she said. “The overall goal is to get the dogs to feel as comfortable as they can. We use it a whole lot before and after surgeries. It really decreases the time for healing and also the pain level.”

Forrest Avenue is one of only two veterinary offices in Delaware that has a Companion laser, which is produced by the LiteCure company, based in Newark.

Originally developed for humans, low-level laser therapy is common in sports medicine, where it is used to treat athletes with muscle and joint soreness, or as part of a post-surgery recovery regimen.

Gaines knows first-hand how effective the therapy can be. She uses the Companion laser herself when the tendonitis in her elbow flares up.

“It puts energy into the area and it increases DNA stimulation and blood circulation,” Gaines said. “In doing so it helps remove some of the fluid, clean up the things that aren’t supposed to be there and bring in more blood for healing.”

Since laser therapy promotes cell activity, it can’t be used to fight cancer, but dogs with tumors still can receive laser treatments on other areas of their bodies, Gaines said.

Dogs like Nicky who are in the maintenance stage of their therapy come in approximately every three months for treatments, which are completely safe and painless.

“On the machine we have a lot of different settings, depending on the injury or the area. For Nicky we use the arthritic and chronic pain setting,” said veterinary technician Trish Goodlin. “Before we laser the area, we hit it with a little bit of water. This keeps the heat down, the end of the laser can get a little bit hot.”

During the therapy, the laser is held 1 or 2 inches from the area being treated as the technician gently moves it back and forth.

Treatments can take anywhere from one to five minutes and range in cost from approximately $20 for a post-surgery procedure to $240 for a six-session regimen.

Nickerson said the results of Nicky’s laser treatments speak for themselves.

“She likes to go out in the yard and play. She’ll run circles, just run and run,” he said. “Before she had this she couldn’t do it, when I saw her running like that I knew she was feeling a lot better.”

Source: www.doverpost.com
By: Doug Denison, Staff Writer – Dover Post