Low-level laser therapy (LLLT), also called “cold laser” (among other names), involves the use of a laser to administer low-intensity or low levels of light applied directly over a target area at specific wavelengths, chosen to ensure safe and sufficient light energy penetrates the tissue to aid in the management of pain and inflammation, and facilitate healing.
LLLT can be considered analogous to photosynthesis, a process by which the cells of plants (and other organisms, such as bacteria) absorb light energy from the sun and convert it into chemical energy, fueling an array of essential functions.
LLLT can be used in a variety of instances, including:
- Wound healing
- Lick granulomas
- Stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth)
- Dental procedures
- Otitis (inflammation of the ear)
- Pain management following Surgical procedures
- Muscle, tendon, and ligament tears
- Trauma and bruising
- Intervertebral disc disease
- Neurologic injury
Laser therapy is applied by a veterinarian or veterinary technician following a pre-established treatment protocol, and may be repeated for multiple sessions (durations vary, generally lasting from a few to roughly 20 minutes), depending on the reason for which therapy is indicated. In acute cases, therapy is often applied more frequently for shorter periods of time, and can also depend on the depth of tissue and size of the area involved.
Laser therapy is also applied following most Surgical procedures, along the closed incision line to help promote more rapid healing.