An exciting new treatment modality!
The use of lasers and other forms of light-emitting devices to treat medical conditions has been around since 1966. It has been used mostly in the treatment of wounds and musculoskeletal problems, but the uses have grown rapidly in the last 15 years as our knowledge of the mechanisms of actions has increased. In addition to wounds, arthritis, and muscle/ligament/tendon strains,Ruckersville Animal Hospital has successfully treated cancer, pancreatitis, cystitis, renal failure, chronic liver disease, heart disease, corneal ulcers, gum disease, prostatitis, spinal cord injuries, inflammatory bowel disease and more. Today, in the hands of an experienced laser therapist, efficacy rates are at 95%. This is due to superior knowledge about effective parameters for specific diseases as well as to the development of high quality lasers that are customizable and reproducible. In our hospital, laser therapy is used as an adjunct treatment to established conventional medical therapies. This modality has offered faster healing and provided breakthroughs with selective diseases that have traditionally been difficult to treat. In addition, laser therapy offers less expensive and safer treatment for many chronic conditions, and has avoided the need for surgery in many cases.
How does Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) Work?
Tissue is irradiated with photons of light of a specific wavelength and at a specific dose of energy (Joules) in order to achieve a bio-stimulatory effect or in some medical conditions, a bio-inhibitory effect. The therapeutic range of light in tissue is between 600 and 1,000 nanometers. It has been shown that doses between 1 and 10 joules/cm2 produce a bio-stimulatory effect and higher doses result in bio-inhibition which can inhibit pain sensation but may also delay healing. At Ruckersville Animal Hospital, we have eight different lasers ranging from a 50mW red laser to a 3000mW infrared laser. This enables us to tailor to each treatment to optimal effect for a particular disease.
Click Here to watch a video by Mike Hamblin on LLLT for brain injuries. We commonly use LLLT to treat dementia in our patients and have seen great success!!
Socksie the Maine Coon cat receiving a PBM treatment for wounds of unknown origin.
What is actually happening with LLLT
Light in the therapeutic range is absorbed by chromophores in the mitochondria and cell walls of irradiated tissue. A cascade of biochemical events is put into motion resulting in enhanced production of intracellular ATP and NADH, the energy molecules that fuel cells. Nitric oxide, which is a molecule that interferes with electron transport systems in cellular respiration of injured cells is released by photon absorbtion of the chromophore, cytochrome c oxidase. This unclogs the mitochondria of diseased or injured cells allowing them to produce ATP and NADH. Nitric oxide (NO) releasecauses dilation of lymphatics and blood vessels leading to reduction of swelling and improved perfusion of injured tissue. Intracellular reactive-oxygen species (ROS) are also increased by laser and this results in activation of transcription factors. This returns gene transcription within the nucleus of the cell back to normal. The net result of laser therapy is the repair of damaged cells from increased energy and protein synthesis, the reduction of edema or swelling from increased lymphatic and venous drainage, the increased nourishment of damaged tissue from increased blood perfusion, pain control from increased systemic production of endorphins and serotonin as well as the blocking of pain transmission in nerve fibers at bio-inhibitory doses, and finally, an inhibitory effect on cell death from the systemic production of protective cytokines. Secondary effects of laser therapy result in stimulation of the immune system which rapidly heals wounds and fractures, fights infection, and helps mitigate the side effects and spreading of cancer.
What are the side effects of LLLT?
Amazingly, laser does not affect normal tissue at the doses and wavelengths being used for therapy. Higher powered lasers can burn skin and denature protein if left in one place for too long. Also, lasers can damage the retina of the eye if left in place for a prolonged time. In the hands of the laser therapists at Ruckersville Animal Hospital, no bad side effects will harm your pet.
How much does it cost?
Treatment costs depends on time and the number of lasers being used. It can range from 5 minutes and $25, to an hour and $95. Most treatments take under 10 minutes and are about $37. The number of treatments varies from 1 to more than 10, with the average being 6. We also offer discounts on the cost of laser therapy, with 10% off of sessions 7-15, and 15% off of any sessions thereafter.
Mary and Tootsie modeling our new "doggles" eye protection for pets receiving PBM therapy!