At the Ark Veterinary Centre we have been using Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) in our patients for several years.
It involves using a special unit to apply laser light to affected parts of the body. The treatment has been shown to
- reduce inflammation and swelling
- reduce pain from osteoarthritis
- improve blood flow
- speed up wound healing
All without any side effects. Many of our clients will confirm the difference that laser therapy has made to their pet’s quality of life. It is an ideal therapy in rehabilitation for both performance and companion animals, and is especially popular in the treatment of greyhounds and agility dogs.
Reasons for laser therapy are
- Sprains and strains
- Wounds and abrasions
- Bruising (haematomas)
- Ligament and tendon injuries
- Joint injuries
- Acute and chronic inflammation
- Acute and chronic pain
- Post surgical wounds
Would you like to know more about LLLT?
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) was first developed in 1967. It involves the application of red and near infrared light over injuries and lesions. Light waves from class 3B and 4 lasers can penetrate several cm into the body, reaching most tissue injuries.
The primary effect occurs by light being absorbed into the mitochondria of the cells. The specific wavelengths of light used have a variety of effects on the cells
- changing the shape of the haemoglobin, allowing increased oxygen into the cells and increased production of ATP (giving the cell extra energy)
- improved perfusion of tissues by opening up capillary beds, bringing increased metabolites for healing
- reduced inflammation by reducing the number of inflammatory mediators (prostaglandins, interleukins and tumour necrosis factor) within the cells
The combined effect of these results in
- improved wound and soft tissue healing
- reduced inflammation
- relief for both acute and chronic pain
LLLT also has a direct effect on reducing pain sensation by altering the electrolyte flow in nerve fibres, leading to reduced pain perception and increased range of movement.
Injured cells more readily take up the light waves and so the LLLT will have an enhanced action of damaged tissue.
Laser therapy, as mentioned above, when applied to a wound leads to
- improved blood flow
- increased tissue healing
- antiinflammatory and analgesic effects
Most of the increased healing is due to increased blood flow and oxygen to the affected area. However the laser therapy also leads to increased fibroblasts (healing cells) and collagen production which
- earlier wound closure
- stronger but less exuberant scars
- better tensile strength
- less local discomfort
Laser therapy is also reported to have potential antibacterial effects through its ability to
- increased oxygen in tissues
- enhanced macrophage activity (white blood cells that eat bacteria)
- enhanced immune response
- potential direct effect in reducing the growth of certain bacteria