Interesting Cases – Laser Therapy

By June 7, 2011 December 13th, 2011 Interesting Cases
Simba enjoying getting his “painless” laser therapy on his arthritic elbow

Simba is a 12 year old golden retriever who had a history of limping on his left front leg. Despite being on anti-inflammatory medication, Cartrophen injections to improve the cartilage in his joints, and a high quality prescription joint diet, Simba still was having pain on his left front leg. We were able to isolate the source of the pain to Simba’s elbow and decided to radiograph it to further assess the joint.

Lateral X-Ray view of a normal elbow joint

Lateral X-Ray view of Simba’s elbow. Thr RED arrows point to osteophytes which are calcified bone spurs seen with chronic arthritis

 By taking the radiograph of Simba’s elbow we were able to rule out causes of joint pain in an older dog such as cancer, and diagnose significant arthritis in his elbow joint. We decided to add treatment with a Cold Therapy Laser to see if we could get better control of Simba’s painful arthritis. The procedure is very non-invasive and involves placing a laser probe over the area of concern for approximately 7 minutes, exposing the joint to a mixture of ultraviolet and laser light. Simba’s treatment plan involves 2-3 treatments a week for 2 weeks, once a week for 2 weeks and then monthly for maintenance. He has currently received his first 2 treatments and his owner has noticed a significant improvement with his mobility and comfort beyond the other treatments he is receiving.

Therapeutic lasers are used more commonly in human medicine for sports related injuries, arthritis, and tendon injuries. More and more uses are constantly being investigated and have included the control of skin infections resistant to antibiotics, herpes virus infections, fungal infections, and even anti-aging treatments. Their use in animals is newer but is becoming more and more common. If you have any questions about the use of laser therapy, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.