Posted on: February 17th, 2015 by Dr. Melissa Mustillo

Laser therapy for cats is a new treatment that we are offering for various issues your kitty may face. While it may seem like the latest “fad” in medicine, there have been many studies as well as anecdotal evidence showing its effectiveness in animals. Since we recently acquired a laser unit, we thought you might want to know how it works and how it might help your cat.

For the month of March, we will be offering laser treatment at no cost for current clients! Our doctors or staff will be discussing treatment for your kitty if they find it beneficial. This may occur during an exam or a surgical/dental procedure.

How it works:
Laser therapy is different from laser surgery. The therapeutic laser we are talking about here is less powerful than a surgical laser. When the laser is applied to tissue, the light enters the tissue and produces a slight warming affect. This light can penetrate several inches depending on the power setting. Once in the tissue, the light enters cells and causes chemical reactions and influences how cells function with one another. I won’t bore you with any more details of how it works!

Ultimately the light triggers changes and we see three main clinical benefits:
1. Rapid healing of skin, muscle, tendon, ligament, bone, and nerve tissue.
2. Resolution of inflammation
3. Pain reduction

How we will use it:
The three main conditions where a therapy laser is utilized are in the treatment and management of pain, inflammation, and wound healing. Contact us if your cat has any of the following conditions and might benefit from laser therapy:

skin infections
ear infections
any type of wound
Chronic rhinitis (runny nose)
dental applications (post-extraction)
post-op treatment of surgical incisions
Some conditions, such as wound or surgical incisions, will be treated with just one laser session. However chronic conditions, such as arthritis, are treated with multiple sessions over several weeks. Treatment times are brief ranging from 30 seconds to several minutes per site.

Our clinic cat Aurora has arthritis in several joints (it’s tough getting old!). We have started laser therapy on her affected joints to offer her comfort. Aurora will be treated twice weekly, and her sessions last for 3 minutes per site. We will keep you posted on her progress.

Side effects:
There are few known side effects of laser therapy. By nature, the laser does warm the skin/tissue being treated. Our staff is specially trained to insure your cat will not feel any discomfort. There is a very low risk of tissue burning from the laser. Due to the strength of the laser, eye protection is a necessity. All individuals in the treatment area must wear special goggles to protect your eyes. What about the cats? While they do make cat sized goggles, we will use a towel to shield your cats face (or restrain them so they can’t look at the light) as this will be easier and less stressful. Laser therapy is not indicated for tumor treatment.

Treatments can usually be scheduled with the technicians once the treatment plan has been set up with the doctor. If your cat has a condition that you think would benefit from laser therapy, please discuss it with us or your veterinarian at your next visit.