Laser Therapy Tips for Feline Patients

Cats can be challenging to treat in most hospital settings – but not when it comes to laser therapy. The non-invasive approach and soothing application lend themselves to the fear-free practice. Oftentimes, a feline patient will actually start to purr, knead, and press into the treatment head attachment, showing relief and pleasure.

Typically, the feline patient will be more relaxed on an elevated position, possibly incorporating a semi-open bedding area. This can be as simple as the cat carrier with the top removed on an exam table. Or, it could be a series of small cat trees with platforms around the treatment room.

Creating a therapeutic setting also includes things such as natural/soft lighting, white noise, pheromone dispenser, etc. A thick fleece bedding is very comfortable, promotes kneading, and encourages the patient to ease into the treatment. Unless when dealing with a condition around the face, mouth, or ears, most cats actually tolerate laser-safe Doggles well and they seem to have a soothing/calming effect.

The laser operator may also choose to use distraction techniques, like placing catnip on a surface or object, or anything else smelly and tasty, like a dollop of LaxAire or baby food on a tongue depressor. Another distraction technique would be the operator starting by giving a neck massage prior to working on the painful tissues themselves.

Although feline patients can be challenging to work with, this is typically not a concern when dealing with laser therapy, the vast majority of these patients will habituate very quickly. The adept laser operator will consider some of the above techniques to minimize the patient’s stress and provide for a fear-free therapeutic treatment atmosphere.

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October 2016
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