A number of therapy lasers are available to the veterinary practitioner. When comparing lasers, the parameters for evaluation
should include the number of lasers in the unit, the frequency the unit produces, the wavelengths the unit produces, and the
The tissue reaction variables with any type of laser include and need to be taken into consideration when delivering a treatment.
These variables include the laser class, laser wavelength, laser power, laser beam (focus/dispersion), exposure or duration,
and variability of the tissue exposed.
The contraindications are dependent upon the type and class of laser. For example, some lasers should not be used through
hair, over darkly pigmented skin, or over tattoos. Contraindications for all lasers would include not using it during pregnancy
and applying it over open fontanels. Caution should be considered when using it over growth plates of immature animals, near
eyes, and over malignancies. Protective eyewear is required when using class IIIB and class IV lasers.
When purchasing any equipment one must also take into account the price, warranty, track record of the manufacturer and customer
A tip to follow when first utilizing laser in general practice is to consider what laser does and what diseases and problems
might benefit. For example, laser may reduce inflammation, increase tendon and wound strength, reduce pain, increase lymphatic
drainage, improve healing time, relax tight muscles, increase mobility, reduce swelling, reduce scarring, and speed bone repair.
Pets that fail to respond to laser therapy regardless of type may be experiencing the following:
- Continual re-injury of area
- Not applying the laser at the proper site
- Using the incorrect time or wavelength
- Treatments are too frequent.
- Treatments are too infrequent
- Other disease processes or improper nutrition is present
These tips are recommended to treat refractory cases:
- Decrease treatment frequency
- Decrease treatment power
- Increase treatment frequency
- Increase treatment power
- Treat areas above and below problem
Practice tips that make therapy laser use more efficient include cross-training the majority of staff to perform the procedures.
For aggressive or easily stressed pets, some practices will prescribe Class I therapy laser therapy for pet owners to use
Regardless of the type of laser, the application of laser therapy is an exciting tool to aid in the treatment of a number
of medical conditions that warrants its use in general veterinary practice.