When your pet is uncomfortable despite pharmaceutical treatment, you may wonder what other options are available to ease their pain. Fortunately, many alternative therapies exist to help alleviate pain, improve healing, and promote a lifetime of wellness. At Animal Medical Center, we offer laser therapy, underwater treadmill therapy, and physical rehabilitation to soothe our patients’ pain and help them recover after an injury or surgery.

How can laser therapy help manage pain in pets?

This treatment has gained popularity in companion animal medicine and has been used in conjunction with or in place of medication to manage pain, inflammation, and wound healing. Therapeutic lasers use light waves of a specific wavelength to alter cellular and tissue physiology, stimulating electrons and activating cells to encourage repair. Depending on the laser’s wavelength, it can penetrate to the bone, promoting healing in each tissue layer it enters.

Laser therapy works to repair tissue and alleviate discomfort by:

  • Releasing endorphins
  • Increasing blood flow to bring in oxygen and healing cells
  • Relaxing muscles
  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Speeding healing and repair

Since therapeutic lasers are safe to use in almost any patient, they can provide non-medicinal benefits to pets who suffer from a wide range of medical conditions, such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Surgical incisions
  • Tendon and ligament injuries
  • Ear infections
  • Gingivitis
  • Lick granulomas
  • Cellulitis
  • Nervous system injuries
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Anal gland inflammation
  • Allergic skin disease

Laser therapy is particularly useful for pets who may be unable to take medications or undergo surgery to alleviate pain. These pets may suffer from organ dysfunction, be difficult to administer medication to, or have few approved medicinal treatments available. 

Most pets find laser therapy soothing and relaxing because the laser creates a warm, pleasant sensation. Sessions generally last 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how many areas are being treated. The number of sessions and the frequency of treatments depend on the injury, and whether it’s a chronic or acute condition. Chronic conditions may be treated weekly, whereas surgical incisions and open wounds often require daily treatment. Keep in mind that laser treatments build on each one, so it may take a few sessions to see significant improvement in your pet’s pain. 

How can underwater treadmill therapy help manage pain in pets?

By using an underwater treadmill, your pet can walk off the pain and stiffness that keep them stuck on the couch. Animal Medical Center’s underwater treadmill is perfect for pets who need a low-impact, high-resistance form of physical therapy. Hydrotherapy helps pets bounce back faster after orthopedic surgery, since the water decreases pressure on their joints and provides resistance for strength training, while comfortably supporting their body weight. In addition to postoperative recovery, underwater treadmill therapy is also ideal for:

  • Muscle injuries and weakness
  • Gait concerns
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Neurological impairments
  • Weight loss
  • Geriatric care 
  • Inflammation

Hydrotherapy is also great for healthy pets, especially for those who simply need to exercise on days with inclement weather. If you don’t want to head outside for a walk or run with your four-legged friend, consider a jaunt on our underwater treadmill. 

How can physical rehabilitation help manage pain in pets?

Many therapies used during physical rehabilitation can decrease your pet’s pain and inflammation and improve their range of motion and mobility, while maintaining their muscle mass for long-term health. Passive range of motion exercises, massage, and a variety of therapeutic exercises—some of which use specialized equipment—are just a few of the methods physical rehabilitation employs. 

If your pet suffers from one of the following conditions, rehab may be an excellent part of their treatment plan:

  • Spinal injury, pain, or surgery
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Fibrocartilaginous embolism
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cranial cruciate ligament tear
  • Medial patella luxation
  • Femoral head ostectomy
  • Joint and soft tissue injuries
  • Hind limb weakness

Physical rehabilitation also can be used as a conditioning program for sporting or working dogs, or as part of a weight-loss program for overweight or obese pets.

If your pet is suffering from a chronic or acute painful condition, such as osteoarthritis or a torn cranial cruciate ligament, Animal Medical Center’s alternative pain management therapies can help ease their discomfort. Contact our team to see if your furry pal is an ideal candidate for laser therapy, underwater treadmill use, or physical rehabilitation.