By: Mary Robb Jackson

VALENCIA (KDKA) — Since the 1960’s, lasers have helped humans to better vision, to lose fat and even to erase that tat.

Now, low level lasers are bringing real relief to “all creatures great and small.”

“I just looked at it and I thought, you know, this is like voodoo – just prove it to me,” Laura Lefever, a veterinary technician at Twinbrook Animal Clinic in Valencia, Butler County, said.

But it didn’t take long for her to become a believer.

Noshing on some frozen peanut butter, Mia, a 4-year-old Labrador, is getting relief from the arthritis resulting from hip dysplasia she’s suffered since she was a puppy.

“Those constant trips to the vet meant more anti-inflammatories – more painkillers – and I was looking for a different alternative,” Mia’s owner, Jen Walze, said.

But, says Laura, for some owners laser therapy is a reprieve for their pets.

“And a lot of these dogs and some of the older ones, the owners were actually ready to euthanize because their pet was suffering so much,” she explained.

The energy emitted in laser therapy depends on the wavelength of light generated and the frequency with which it is delivered.

Wearing goggles for eye protection – the probe is placed on each targeted area for a minute to a minute and 20 seconds. Sessions last 20 to 45-minutes. The laser works at the cellular level reducing inflammation and pain and increasing blood flow.

“They may feel the effects maybe 12 hours later – they may feel immediate effects,” Laura said.

The Food and Drug Administration only gave its stamp of approval for laser treatment in animals three years ago.

Janey Pentomey had laser therapy for arthritis in her own thumb and knee. It worked, so she thought why not 14-year-old Madolyn.

“She’ll run around the house after she’s has her laser therapy,” she said.

As for Mia, who limped badly for most of her life, is having better days. “I think she’s probably saying, ‘Thanks Mom, I feel so much better.’”

Cats and other animals are also benefiting from this therapy.

Aside from arthritis there are a number of conditions that can be treated with a laser – acute and chronic pain, back injuries, sprains, non-healing wounds, cystitis and more.

The cost varies and most practices offer packages of six treatments.

At Twinbrook Animal Clinic, treating a minor problem is $125 for a package or $25 per treatment. The prices increase with the complexity of the condition and length of treatment.

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