More Uses for Cold Therapy Laser

Takota getting laser therapyWe continue to find new, innovative ways to use the high-powered, cold-therapy laser. This is a picture of Takota, a 9 year old, neutered male golden retriever. Takota has hypothyroidism, as well as severe seasonal allergies.

His thyroid condition and his allergies are all well controlled at this point, but he recently developed a lick granuloma on one front leg. Lick granulomas form when a dog (they don’t occur in cats) licks a given spot on a leg incessantly. As the pet licks the leg it gets irritated; as it gets irritated it triggers increased licking. Increased licking causes increased irritation, and a perpetual loop is formed.

There are many ways to treat lick granulomas, and none is any better than the others. Each case is different, and different treatments work for different cases.

We’ve recently started to use the K-Laser Cube 4 cold therapy laser to treat these areas. The Cube 4 is a 15 watt Class 4 cold-therapy laser. It is the highest powered cold therapy laser on the market today.

Tissue Effects of the Cold-Therapy Laser

Cold therapy laser has many benefits and absolutely no side effects. Among other benefits, it:

  • Increases blood supply to the treated area
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Decreases pain, irritation and itching
  • Increases oxygenation of treated tissues
  • Reduces free radical formation in the area. (Free radicals are toxic molecules that form when tissues and cells are damaged. Their presence causes further tissue damage.)
  • Increases energy production and healing in affected areas

This is just a short list of all the benefits of the cold therapy laser.  The laser can be used on any tissue in the body to achieve the results we just listed. In general, anywhere there is inflammation can benefit from laser therapy.

Differences in Cold-Therapy Laser Machines

Our laser – the K-Laser Cube 4 – is the highest powered laser on the market. This is important, as some areas that we treat are deep within the body. For instance, hip dysplasia in large breeds, such as labs and rottweilers, is a serious problem that can lead to chronic breakdown. To treat the hips in some of these dogs that weigh up to and over 120 lbs, it takes a high-powered laser to achieve maximum efficacy.

Many of the lasers currently sold in the veterinary market are low-powered lasers. Many are less than 1 watt, which means they aren’t even Class 4 lasers. These lasers simply do not have the power to penetrate tissues more than 1-2 mm. They cannot treat deeper tissues, or tissues with chronic damage.

Other than price, there is no advantage to these low powered lasers. Our high-powered K-Laser Cube 4 has no side effects. It is very comfortable for the pet, and adds only a slight warming sensation to the treatment area. Most pets lay comfortably while being treated.

Besides being the highest powered laser on the market, the Cube 4 also uses 4 separate wavelengths of laser light. This is done intentionally, as each wavelength of laser light achieves a different purpose. Different cells respond to different wavelengths, and by covering a broader spectrum of wavelengths more tissues can be positively impacted. Most of the cheaper laser models on the market use just one – or at best 2 – laser wavelengths.

As our knowledge of the therapeutic effects of high-powered cold laser therapy grows, so will our ability to positively impact more pets and more problem areas in the body. Because we have the absolute best laser available today, there is no therapeutic treatment we won’t be able to provide.

Canine Hydrotherapy

Dogs that are suffering from hip or elbow dysplasia, anterior cruciate ligament injuries, tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, osteoarthritis, chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy, femoral head ostectomy, orthopedic conditions and spinal injuries can benefit from hydrotherapy. Additionally, dogs that are recovering from fractures, trauma, neurological damage and other injuries, as well as those who are participating in post-op recovery, have experienced decreased recuperation periods, decreased pain perception, increased range of motion in the active state, reduction during rest period, and increased release of endorphins, which helps your pet’s quality of life.

What is Canine Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy for humans has proven to be extremely beneficial for people who are required to participate in physical therapy. Essentially, hydrotherapy utilizes the natural properties of water, including viscosity, hydrostatic pressure, resistance and buoyancy to improve physical functioning. Hydrotherapy is not necessarily a new concept to the veterinary practice, as all the way back to the early 1900’s there were inventions that provided this therapy to work horses to ensure that they could return to the fields faster and stronger after an injury.

Long-Term Benefits of Hydrotherapy

Some of the short-term benefits of hydrotherapy were already discussed; however they are not the only benefits for canines who partake in hydrotherapy. The long-term benefits that dogs will experience from hydrotherapy include: increased range of motion in joints, increased muscle strength, prevention of secondary complications, improved cardiovascular health, decreased inflammation and pain, the potential to regain normal function faster, degenerative diseases may slow in progression, and your dog will enjoy the socialization as they work toward improving their quality of life.

Hydrotherapy Case Studies


Oliver, a shih tzu who fell 6 meters from a balcony to concrete, suffered from multiple injuries, including a fractured pelvis and a punctured lung. Although the orthopedic surgery was successful, Oliver faced months of healing. Rehabilitation included physiotherapy sessions and a home exercise program. After the first stage of recovery was successful, hydrotherapy was added to Oliver’s mending program. Although shih tzus are not necessarily keen to water and swimming, the temperature of the water is kept quite warm and with staff encouragement, Oliver took well to his treatments.

A vital aspect of Oliver’s recovery included rebuilding the muscle mass on his hind legs to create support for his hips and ensure full range of motion. Various techniques and strategies were taught to Oliver, including the ability to shift and gain confidence on a surfboard. He has learned to bear weight on the leg that was injured and his limp has nearly disappeared.


Flint, a 3 year old German Shepherd, was training to be a K9 cop when his training was suspended due to a stretched anterior cruciate ligament. Flint participated in hydrotherapy to speed recovery time and, despite his trainer’s fears that Flint would never again have a chance at a career as a police dog, was able to return to training toward the end of the training course. Today, he has not only recovered completely, he has also completed his police dog training and is now working a full time career.


Daisy, the 5 year old Cocker Spaniel, was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia in 2010. She would experience lameness after long periods of rest or exercise, and this lameness was more pronounced in her left leg. Rather than sending Daisy to the surgery room, she participated in hydrotherapy first. If hydrotherapy did not work to improve her condition, she would need a total hip replacement (THP). Daisy was full of energy and loved to play, but exhibited muscle atrophy and frequently “bunny-hopped” – a very common occurrence in hip dysplasia.

First, she spent time on the water treadmill to address the muscle atrophy. After only the first session, Daisy’s owner reported to us that she was not exhibiting obvious stiffness or lameness anymore. The second session included time in the pool, which Daisy was much more enthusiastic about than the treadmill.

The pool, as it seemed, was the better course of treatment for Daisy, due to the enthusiasm that she displayed. Then, the resistance of the swim jets was incorporated into Daisy’s hydrotherapy regimen to assist with building her muscles and improving range of motion. By her 6 week check-up, Daisy exhibited significantly improved muscle tone and was no longer taking pain medications; we postponed surgery as long as she was doing well with her hydrotherapy. Only two months after she started the hydrotherapy, Daisy was released from the treatment program and functioned with normal exercise at home, just like other dogs her age.

These are true stories about real pets that benefitted from hydrotherapy as a physiological alternative healing method. Studies have revealed that pets who have participated in hydrotherapy have recovered from their injuries, surgeries and ailments 50% to 60% faster than pets that were using other methods of recuperation. Some pets, like in Daisy’s case, may be able to avoid surgery if hydrotherapy is used, while other pets could essentially skip the pain medicine or quickly wean off of it, with the use of hydrotherapy.

Hip Dysplasia and Joint Issues in Dogs

There are a number of ways to prevent and/or treat a dog or cat with hip, bone, and joint issues ranging from hip dysplasia to arthritis.   For the sake of time and effort, this article will focus on hip dysplasia, as it is the most common of all the hip, bone and joint issues.

Dog breeds that normally develop hip dysplasia are large to giant sized breeds. However, hip dysplasia can also appear in mixed breeds or crossbreeds that weigh over 30 pounds.

Hip dysplasia x-ray
Early, mild hip dysplasia in a Labrador Retriever.

It is one of the most common genetic conditions known in dogs. More than one gene is responsible for the deformity of the hip joints. Treatment can be expensive, often requiring corrective surgery. There is a fair degree of argument in the scientific journals regarding the causes of hip dysplasia, and whether it’s more of an environmental problem or a genetic issue. It has been our experience that genetics are the key driver of hip dysplasia in dogs. To the degree that environmental factors play a role they all can be lumped into the category of diet in the first year of life. We’ll broach that subject in depth in later articles.

Being a primarily genetic issue, it is important to remember that in most cases, the symptoms of hip dysplasia appear before the puppy is 13 months old, although in theory they can present when the dog is older. We very frequently encounter owners who bring in their large breed dogs who are 7 or more years old, and think the dog’s rear leg weakness is due to bad hips. Almost without exception, those dogs have other joint issues than hips. The most common joint issues in these older dogs are knee problems – such as torn anterior cruciate ligaments – or spinal issues, such as spondylosis.

Common Breeds

The most common breeds known to be prone to hip dysplasia include:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Australian Shepherd
  • German Shepherd
  • American Staffordshire Terrier (or AmStaff)
  • Bullmastiff
  • Mastiff (taller than the bullmastiff)
  • Great Dane
  • Rottweiler
  • Standard Poodle
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Akita
  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Chow Chow
  • Dogue de Bourdeax or French Mastiff
  • Newfoundland (Newfies)
  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Kuvasz
  • American bulldog
  • Argentine Dogo (or Dogo Argentino)
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Alaskan malamute
  • Samoyed
  • Briard
  • Puli (or Hungarian Puli)
  • Saint Bernard
  • Old English Sheepdog

Uncommon Breeds

These are basically dogs that are squarely built and have large appetites. If a dog is known to have one or more of these breeds in their ancestry, then it is important they are not allowed to get overweight.

A High Impact Naturopathic Remedy

Located below is a simple naturopathic remedy to treat hip dysplasia and other hip, bone, and joint related issues.  These ingredients and more are all included in our custom-formulated No Painful Dogs joint health supplement.


  1. Glucosamine
  2. Green Lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus)
  3. Chondroitin sulfate
  4. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
  5. Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids

Other Naturopathic Remedies

Some of the other alternative, herbal, and naturopathic remedies that can help alleviate the signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia include the following. We’ll be discussing some of these in future posts:

  • Churchuhuasi
  • Turmeric
  • Devils Claw
  • Horsetail
  • Celery Seed
  • Dandelion,Yucca
  • Magnolia
  • Chamomile
  • Yellow Dock
  • Ginger
  • Coconut Oil
  • Lactoferrin
  • Acai Berry
  • Beta Glucan Supreme
  • Barley Sprouts
  • Spirulina
  • Colostru
  • Agaricus Blazei
  • Turkey Tail
  • Reishi