Lasers: Applications for therapeutic use - DVM
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Lasers: Applications for therapeutic use
Answers to frequently asked questions you need to know


What is a super pulsed laser?

Super pulsed lasers use a 904/905-nm wavelength and deliver light in a different way. The beam is flashed for only a brief fraction of a second. Within that time, a burst of 25 to 60 watts of light energy (depending on the unit being used) is emitted. Afterward, the light shuts off until the next timed burst. The premise behind this delivery model is that the superficial cells are photo-bleached by the light, allowing easier penetration by the subsequent bursts of light. Super pulsed lasers are reported to be beneficial for treating pain.

What's the bottom line?

Laser machines can be an effective tool in veterinary rehabilitation, but practitioners need to have a good understanding of this modality before using it to treat their patients. Knowing the most appropriate dosages for each condition is critical, as is the anatomical location where laser should be applied, how often and for how long. Training in rehabilitation is the best way to acquire the skills needed to use laser therapy safely and effectively.

Ms. Hughes is co-owner of The Canine Fitness Centre Ltd., Calgary, Canada. She also is on the faculty of the Canine Rehabilitation Institute, Wellington, Fla.


1. Chow RT, Johnson MI, Lopes-Martins RA, et al. Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in the management of neck pain: a systemic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo or active-treatment controlled trials. Lancet 2009;374(9705):1897-1908.

2. Bjordal JM, Johnson MI, Iversen V, et al. Low-level laser therapy in acute pain: a systematic review of possible mechanisms of action and clinical effects in randomized placebo-controlled trials. Photomed Laser Surg 2006;24(2):158-168.

3. Chow RT, David MA, Armati PJ. 830 nm laser irradiation induces varicosity formation, reduces mitochondrial membrane potential and blocks fast axonal flow in small and medium diameter rat dorsal root ganglion neurons: implications for the analgesic effects of 830 nm laser. J Peripher Nerv Syst 2007;12(1):28-39.

4. Chow RT, Heller GZ, Barnsley L. The effect of 300mW, 830 nm laser on chronic neck pain: a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Pain 2006;124(1-2):201-210.

5. Houghton PE, Nussbaum EL, Hoens AM. Electrophysical Agents. Contraindications and precautions: an evidence-based approach to clinical decision making in physical therapy. Physiotherapy Canada 2010;62(5 Special Issue):1-80.

Suggested reading

Tuner J, Hode L. The new laser therapy handbook. Grängesberg, Sweden: Prima Books, 2010.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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