Tech Talk: Laser Therapy
By Lisa Contreras, DVM, Andrea Rodriguez, RVT , & Denisse Espejo, RVT

The Basics

Veterinary laser therapy is a non-invasive, pain-free, surgery-free, drug-free therapeutic option for a multitude of conditions. Injured or unhealthy cells do not produce enough energy at an optimal rate. Therapeutic laser uses a beam of infrared light to increase energy inside of the cell. By stimulating the cells we can improve circulation to decrease inflammation, decrease pain, and allow for faster healing time. This specific type of alternative therapy can be used by itself or for optimal results, it can be used in conjunction with other therapies and/or medications.

What Conditions Can It Treat?

  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Hotspots
  • Skin wounds and infections
  • Broken toenails
  • Surgical incisions
  • Ear infections
  • Gingivitis
  • Arthritis or hip dysplasia
  • Back pain
  • Bone or muscle injuries

Are There Any Risks or Side Effects?

Short and sweet, laser therapy is very safe and there are no risks or side effects of treatment. During their sessions, pets will feel a warming or tingling sensation at the targeted area but cannot actually get burned by the laser. The largest possible risk associated with laser therapy is eye damage from direct exposure to the beam. However, this is why we use protective goggles during all laser therapy sessions!

How Will I Know Its Working?

Depending on your pet and the condition being treated, results can be seen immediately or may require a few rounds of treatment (consistency is key!). You will likely notice that your pet is more playful, energetic, and overall showing less signs of discomfort.

What Can I Expect During A Laser Therapy Treatment?

A technician will set up a comfortable area for your pet to relax. Some owners like to sit in the room with us while others prefer to wait in the lobby and drink coffee or read a magazine during the laser session. Everyone in the room (technicians, pets, and owners) will be given protective goggles to wear before treatment begins. Each pet has a protocol developed by their doctor that indicates which areas will be stimulated by the laser probe and for how long. To treat one condition, a pet can have anywhere from 2-10 spots that the technician will target. Each spot can have a stimulation time ranging from 4-96 seconds depending on location, thickness of tissue, and chronicity of the condition being treated.

About the authors:

Dr. Lisa Contreras is a Certified Small Animal Acupuncturist through the Chi Institute of Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Both Andrea and Denisse are Registered Veterinary Technicians and Certified Companion Animal Laser Therapists. The three of them work together to enhance the alternative therapy options we provide for our patients. If you would like to learn more about alternative veterinary medicine, give us a call at (626) 331-5374 or visit the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association at