Laser therapy heals dogs

FRESNO, Calif.

This is Sydney's happy place.

"He enjoys coming here. He gets very, very excited and he starts singing and barking just as soon as we turn in off of the street," Jackie Kaehler, Sydney's owner told Action News.

For Kaehler the rehab hospital saved her best friend the day his body nearly failed him.

"It was quite sudden. I was outside and then he was at the back door. And I'm talking to him and he couldn't move," Kaehler said.

At four-years-old or roughly 28 in people years, Sydney found himself paralyzed. Vet Elizabeth Rawson says it's not uncommon.

"The discs sort of deteriorate over time and then they rupture," Elizabeth Rawson, DVM, a veterinarian at Coral Springs Animal Hospital told Action News.

Surgery saved his back, but left him with a lot of pain. That's where a new cold laser treatment comes in, known as photo-biotherapy.

"The light actually, it brings blood supply to the area. It decreases pain by a couple of different mechanisms, including the nerves themselves and endorphin release," Dr. Rawson said.

It's most commonly used for arthritis, which affects 20 percent of dogs.

"The owners will say, 'boy, after their laser treatment, they feel so much better and they get around easier'," Dr. Rawson said.

Without side effects, Kaehler is amazed at how much Sydney has improved.

"After he was taking his laser therapy, it was like a new person. It's brought him back to almost to his natural state he was before he broke his back," Kaehler concluded.

Now he's back to his favorite pastime -- squirrel hunting.

The noninvasive therapy can take as little as ten minutes in a small dog or cat or about a half hour for larger animals with more arthritis. The most chronic conditions require about four treatments to see at least a 50 percent improvement in mobility and pain reduction. It can even be used on horses. One note of caution though: Dr. Rawson points out that because the laser stimulates blood flow to the treated area, it should never be used on animals with cancer.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Elizabeth Rawson
Coral Springs Animal Hospital
(954) 753-1800

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