Laser therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, is a rapidly evolving therapeutic option for treating a vast array of injuries in horses. Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, was first theorized approximately one century ago by Albert Einstein, however, its use as a therapeutic option is a rapidly growing field of interest in both human and veterinary medicine with an endless list of potential uses.
There are 5 categories of lasers grouped by the number of microWatts emitted. These range from Class I Lasers that emit 0-0.4 microWatts, such as CD’s and laser printers, through Class IV Lasers which emit > 500 microWatts and include therapy and surgical cutting lasers. The K-Laser, which is a common and well-known therapeutic laser system in both the human and veterinary fields, has a maximum power of 25 Watts. The RLT Therapeutic Laser (RLT-Vet) System is a 16 kiloWatt maximum peak power laser and is a Class IV Nd:YAG laser. Therefore, the RLT-Vet system is in a league of its own when it pertains to therapy.
The photons emitted by the RLT-Vet enter the body through the skin where they are absorbed by the energy house of cells. This leads to the production of more energy within the cells, meaning there is more energy available to improve the speed and quality of healing. In simplest terns, laser therapy provides an opportunity for the cells to perform at their optimal level. By allowing cells to work at their optimal level there can be relief from acute and chronic pain, reduced inflammation, improved range of motion, and restored function. Therefore, any type of inflammation can be treated with laser therapy. Currently, the most commonly treated areas at Superficial Digital Flexor Tendons, Deep Digital Flexor Tendons, Suspensory Ligament and Branches, Sesamoiditis, sore back, and wounds. As this very exciting new technology continues to grow, we will be learning about other possible uses for laser therapy.
Laser therapy treatments for such injuries are generally done over the course of 8-10 weeks, with three treatments per week. Each treatment consists of three phases of therapy. Phase I is the Rebalancing Phase and reduces swelling, inflammation, and scar tissue. Phase II, the Regeneration Phase, restores the damaged tissue, while the firmness, strength, and functionality of the tissuebones is restored in the Rehabilitation Phase (Phase III).
Phases I and III are non-contact phases with the laser placed approximately 1-2 inches away from the skin, while Phase II is a contact phase with the laser in direct contact with the patients skin. These phases of treatment area ll done during each treatment with times varying from 1-10 minutes each depending on the surface area of the affected area. Regenerative Laser Therapy is a non-painful treatment modality with little to no side effects.
At B.W. Furlong & Associates, both outpatient and inpatient boarding options are available for the duration of the treatment period with the RLT Therapeutic Laser System. Soft tissue injuries are monitored via ultrasound in 30-day increments to monitor the progress of your horse’s healing. If you’d like more information about the RLT-Vet or would like to discuss possible treatment options for your horse, please contact us at 908-439-2821!