Cold Laser Therapy for Rabbits
By Grant Steinkellner
Have you ever heard of cold laser therapy or low level laser? When someone first mentioned this term to me, I thought to myself, isn’t that the gun that Captain Kirk carried in the Star Trek series? In actuality, cold laser is a successful therapy used to treat many physical ailments in both animals and humans. It has been well researched in more than 100 double-blind studies confirming its clinical results. It received FDA approval in 2001.
How does Cold laser treatment work? During treatment, the technician uses an electronic laser machine that has a wand device that is held against the targeted area. This laser emits non-thermal photons of light at a specific wavelength deep into bones and muscle tissues. The body is then able to absorb this energy on a cellular level converting light energy into chemical energy. This chemical energy stimulates the body’s natural biological healing properties. This treatment is now being used for pain reduction in chronic cancer patients. It is especially good for helping older pets, including rabbits regain mobility and quality of life by decreasing osteoarthritis pain and joint and muscle pain.
Cold laser therapy results include:
• Pain management
• Reduction of inflammation
• Muscle and nerve regeneration.
• Acceleration of healing of damaged tissue
• Increased blood circulation.
• Increased immune system function
• Helps to reduce the pain caused by osteoarthritis and joint/muscle pain.
• Increased activity levels. In rabbits mobility is a very good thing helping to keep the digestive system functioning well, minimizing the chances for stasis.
The treatments are generally 10-20 minutes in duration. They are often repeated twice a week over a period of time. The duration and length of time is set based on the nature of the condition.
My 10 year old mini-lop rabbit Romeo (adopted from HRS in 2005) was showing evidence of arthritis on his x-ray during his last vet exam. He also was slowing down and his activity levels were less and less. I decided to try putting Romeo on a cold laser treatment routine, recommended by his vet, Dr. Colby. After the first treatment Romeo immediately showed increased mobility and was an overall happier more active bunny. He even started doing binkies again. It was amazing to see results happen that quickly. Romeo now has much less pain, increased mobility, he sleeps more soundly now and is overall much more comfortable during sitting and resting. I was even able to decrease his intake of Metacam pain meds. He LOVES the laser treatments now. He even gives “bunny kisses” to the technician during treatments. After a treatment, he gets incredibly relaxed. Probably much like we would feel after a wonderful deep massage.
I have used cold laser treatment on myself too. After only 1 treatment, it cured my sciatic nerve issue that had been plaguing me for years. The treatment is not painful and is actually quite stimulating, like a massage.
Results can certainly vary on different rabbits, but it your rabbit suffers from any of these ailments, cold laser treatment is something you may want to consider. You can contact Windward Animal Hospital for more information by calling 770-569-7298
Heather Greene, vet tech with Dr. Colby, will be doing 15 minute cold laser therapy sessions at Bunnyfest this year. Please see our Bunnyfest details page for more information. Appointments at Bunnyfest can be made by calling Edie at 770-826-2732.