Dr. Winkler using a Therapy Laser on a patient’s ear following ear surgery.

 Laser Medicine & Therapy Laser

Cold Laser Therapy, or Low Level Laser Therapy, has been used in human medicine to aid in healing and reducing pain since the 1960s. At that time the laser’s method of healing was still poorly understood, and it was primarily used for sports medicine, physical therapy rehabilitation and severe trauma management. Understanding how light can assist in healing tissue has recently advanced as fast as the technology to provide it, bringing to our practice a highly effective method to help your pet with nearly any condition.

Dr. Winkler is a faculty member of the American Laser Medicine College and Board and the American Laser Study Club, a professional member of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, and is a Diplomate of The American Board of Laser Surgery in Veterinary Laser Medicine and Surgery. Dr. Winkler is the first and currently only veterinarian on Long Island to hold this certification in laser medicine, and is one of only six veterinarians in the world to have completed the American Board of Laser Surgery’s qualifications.

How Does A Therapy Laser Work?

Click Here to watch a video on how a Therapy Laser works.

Using selected wavelengths and power settings for different pets’ conditions, the special inherent properties of harnessed laser light reach and interact with the target tissues who need it to create conditions in cells where healing processes and pain relief are enhanced and increased. This process is called Photobiomodulation. The laser light stimulates components called chromophores on the membranes of mitochondria, known to be the power factories of the cell. This incites the mitochondria to produce energy, leading to a cascade of events such as protein synthesis and accelerated cell reproduction which results in faster healing of tissue, with greater strength and less scarring. Healthy cells are not affected, and continue to function normally.

There is increased vessel growth, metabolic activity and oxygen flow to the site, as well as the movement of fluids and cell waste material away from the site, which reduces swelling and inflammation. Thus the laser is not only speeding healing locally at the site, but allowing for greater attention to the site from the rest of the body, which enhances the healing process.

When swelling and inflammation are reduced, nerve cells in the area decrease their rate of fire of pain signals to the brain, which aids in the reduction of the pain your pet may be feeling. The laser itself both stabilizes nerve action potentials that signal pain, and promotes the release of beta endorphins and serotonin, two neurotransmitters known to make people and pets feel good. The laser also has a stimulating effect on acupuncture points, thus providing a multitude of ways to provide pain relief. We also use our laser over the affected areas’ lymph nodes and spinal centers of your pet to help with additional anti-inflammation and pain relief.

One of the most exciting aspects about therapy lasers, published only recently in a study conducted at Harvard University in 2014, is the laser’s stimulation leading to local creation and activation of the patient’s own stem cells, allowing for regenerative therapy at the treatment site without the creation and introduction of stem cells from elsewhere. This process continues to be studied with great anticipation, suggesting that the therapy laser has far more potential for healing than previously understood.

What Can The Therapy Laser Do For Your Pet?

Rehabilitation Medicine

Recovering from trauma or coming out of treatment or surgery at your emergency room or specialty surgeon’s practice, rehabilitation patients can now find the adjunctive benefits of the Therapy Laser conveniently, comfortably, and affordably. The Therapy Laser offers faster healing with less scarring and pain of both hard and soft tissue injuries resulting from spinal surgeries, joint surgeries, broken bones, internal organ surgeries, and traumas such as falling or being hit by a car. A Therapy Laser session is included with all of our own applicable surgeries to promote faster healing and less pain following your pet’s procedure. Let us help your pet recover faster and with less pain from their latest procedure or injury.

Arthritis, Joint Disease, and Nervous System Disease

We have observed great improvement in many of our patients with chronic arthritis, degenerative joint disease, and joint injuries. The laser can help decrease inflammation resulting from herniated discs, promote nerve growth, and relieve pain from stiff backs and muscle atrophy due to aging. Some of these patients have gone from not being able to rise at all, back to walking and running, climbing stairs, and jumping in and out of cars again!

Chronic Ear and Skin Conditions

Chronic ear infections, skin conditions, lick granulomas, ulcerations and open wounds, and hotspots are all challenging and daunting diseases for your pet to have, and sometimes seem to have no end in sight. Laser Therapy may be the adjunctive care you’ve been looking for to help give your pet additional relief.

Renal Disease and Cystitis

Kidney Disease and urinary tract infections and inflammations are challenging to treat given their location and receptivity to medications and diet. The Therapy Laser can give adjunctive care in these difficult cases, providing relief of pain and a more comfortable outcome for your pet.

Oral, Gum, and Dental Disease

Taking care of your pet’s teeth can be difficult. Many pets don’t appreciate this level of home care to begin with. Oral infections, lesions such as stomatitis in cats, gum disease and infection, and tooth root decay all cause pain and discomfort, difficulty eating, and change in behavior. Laser therapy can relieve pain and mitigate infection in these cases, and promote wound healing for oral ulcerations, gingival disease, and rehabilitative therapy for post-dental surgeries.

Feline Pain Management

Therapy lasers are especially great for feline pain management, as cats cannot receive all the same types of pharmacological pain management that dogs do—some of these drugs are particularly toxic to cats. Yet senior cats are just as prone as dogs to painful arthritis as they age, and the limited options in pain management have left cats to needlessly suffer. Now, with therapy lasers, cats can experience reduced inflammation and swelling from osteoarthritis, and feel better without the concerns of needing pain medications.

Lets Get Started!

Before undergoing any therapy laser sessions at the Suffolk Veterinary Group Animal Wellness & Laser Surgery Center, all patients must schedule and complete a Comprehensive Physical Examination And Consultation with our Veterinarian. Dr. Winkler will examine your pet, ensure that all vaccinations are current, review your pet’s medical history, consult with our referring colleague, and make sure that any medical conditions your companion may have will benefit from the therapy laser, and that the therapy laser is indicated for use within your pet’s particular lifestyle, condition, and medical needs. This is your opportunity to discuss with Dr. Winkler any concerns you have regarding your companion’s ongoing condition and prognosis.

Application of the therapy laser itself is painless, inducing only a sensation of warmth around the therapy site that may be comforting to your pet. Most sessions take only 15-30 minutes to complete, and are performed without sedatives, anesthesia, or confining restraint. There are few side effects associated with the incorporation of therapy laser applications into treatment protocols, although your pet may become a bit restless if required to be still for particularly long sessions. Safety glasses are provided to prevent exposure of the eyes to any scattered light.

Therapy lasers are not indicated for use in the management of cancer or tumors, and may not be indicated for very young pets, as the laser can affect proper bone growth. To be present for your pet’s treatment, please indicate that you are over 21 years of age, and that you have no underlying conditions or concerns such as pregnancy, skin conditions, cancer treatment, heart conditions and/or use of a pacemaker, sensitivity to light or light-sensitive medications, steroid therapy, immune-suppressant medications, or an immune-mediated condition.

To schedule your pet for examination and consultation regarding therapy laser sessions, call 631-696-2400 and speak with our helpful Veterinary Team to find a time right for you!