I recently went to a barn full of a breed that I don’t often work on: Saddlebreds. (I also got to work on a very handsome Morgan, one of my favorite breeds!) This is a show barn and the horses are all plump, shiny, and quite fit. I was asked to take a look at a retiree: a 19 year old who had a long and successful show career. He was suffering from arthritis in the lumbar area, and sciatica. He often lost his balance in the hind end and had had six injections to help him. As he walked into the barn, he appeared ready to fall over, but the owner assured me he would not fall on top of me as I worked! I thought he might be a good candidate for cold laser therapy. After about 15 minutes he squared up his hind legs and seemed much more secure in his balance. I used the laser for another 15 minutes and then went on to the next horse. The owner and groom informed me that when the gelding was turned out in his pasture he ran and bucked! I wish I had seen that with my own eyes! Maybe next time I can get before and after photos.
This post is aimed at a dear friend who had a scare last week:
“Laser light can be used to remove cancer or precancerous growths or to relieve symptoms of cancer. It is used most often to treat cancers on the surface of the body or the lining of internal organs…Laser therapy causes less bleeding and damage to normal tissue than standard surgical tools do, and there is a lower risk of infection…
Laser therapy uses high-intensity light to treat cancer and other illnesses. Lasers can be used to shrink or destroy tumors or precancerous growths. Lasers are most commonly used to treat superficial cancers (cancers on the surface of the body or the lining of internal organs) such as basal cell skin cancer and the very early stages of some cancers, such as cervical, penile, vaginal, vulvar, and non-small cell lung cancer.
Lasers also may be used to relieve certain symptoms of cancer, such as bleeding or obstruction. For example, lasers can be used to shrink or destroy a tumor that is blocking a patient’s trachea (windpipe) or esophagus. ”
National Cancer Society
Last week, I went to use the cold laser on a horse that had just returned from the hospital after airway reconstruction surgery. You can see the results of that session here: http://beverlyjacobsequinemassage.com/?p=253
Today I returned to use the laser again. The first photo is the wound before I did anything. The second photo was taken after approximately 45 minutes of the cold laser:
If you don’t want to see photos of an open wound, please don’t scroll down!!
The owner was kind enough to send me the photo below of the wound 24 hours later. Healing continues!
How Many Times Will I (or my Horse, Dog) Need Treatment?
Laser therapy produces results quickly. For most acute conditions 2-3 treatments is all you will need. Chronic conditions take longer and might require 6 – 12 treatments. While these are the averages, each person, and animal, is unique, and healing time varies by person and condition. For those with lifelong conditions, a schedule of once or twice a month maintenance is usually very effective.
A NOTE FOR THE SQUEAMISH: GRAPHIC PHOTOS AT BOTTOM OF POST! There are before and after photos of a surgical wound. I find them amazing, but please don’t scroll to the bottom of the page if you don’t like seeing an open wound.
Today I had the privilege of using my cold laser on an upper level event horse that arrived home yesterday after 5 days at a veterinary hospital for surgery. We used the laser for 25 minutes, then took a break, and then lasered for another 25 minutes. The horse fell asleep for the second session. The photo on the left is before laser treatment. The photo on the right is after 50 minutes of cold laser.
Using the wide head at left.
Using the fine point laser around the edges of the wound.
Before laser treatment: After 50 minutes of cold laser treatment:
The first cold laser therapy approved by the FDA (in 2002) was for carpal tunnel syndrome. The laser reduces the swelling and pain of CTS by targeting the lymphatic system, which balances fluid in the body.
I love doing bodywork and writing about it, but there are times when massage is not appropriate:
The first 24-48 hours after an injury is a time for veterinary care.
The first couple of days of an illness, especially when fever is present, is not a time for bodywork.
If heat or swelling are present, do not treat those areas with massage (though cold laser is very helpful ).
If there is head bobbing lameness, call the vet.
I have been reading some very boring and clinical studies, but the exciting news is that cold lasers accelerate bone healing in both animals and humans. The consensus is that fractures treated with cold laser heal 2x the rate of those left to heal without laser therapy. Pain and swelling also improved.