A Class IV therapy laser is a device that can be used to treat animals with pain or injury. It has been shown to help reduce the amount of medication needed for chronic conditions, relieve minor aches and pains, and decrease recovery time after surgery.
There are many different types of lasers, but Class IV therapy lasers are high-powered devices that use light waves to generate photochemical effects within tissues both superficial and deep. The result is often a faster recovery but, more importantly, a better recovery. It can be used in acute and chronic conditions in all species of animals.
This blog will discuss some of the most common uses of Class IV therapy lasers by veterinarians.
What Is a Class IV Laser?
A Class IV therapy laser is defined as any laser having the ability to deliver more than 500 mWatts of power. The increased power enables the laser to deliver more photons more efficiently and therefore generate a more consistent clinical response. This is especially important when targeting larger patients/body parts, chronic conditions, and deeper-seated conditions.
Class IV therapy lasers still have the ability to be turned down to very low power as well. Therefore, they can be used to treat problems of the mouth, throat, or skin; stimulate acupuncture points; and even treat corneal ulcers. That may be counter-intuitive to many since directing laser energy into the eye is specifically listed as "contraindication". But when used appropriately, we have found great success in treating many ophthalmic conditions.
How Does It Work and What Can It Be Used For?
A Class IV laser works by emitting a high-energy beam with specific wavelengths that can saturate the tissue and stimulate a direct photochemical reaction; hence the term-‘photobiomodulation’. Laser energy increases circulation, drawing oxygen and nutrients to the damaged area. It improves the release of oxygen into the tissue and the production of ATP which enhances cellular metabolism. This creates an optimal healing environment that also reduces inflammation and pain.
The following are a just some of the unique procedures that veterinarians treat with lasers:
- Corneal ulcers: Class IV laser can treat such conditions by shooting low powers parallel to the eye instead of directly into the eye.
- Perianal fistulas: Our Class IV laser helps manage perianal fistulas to decrease the frequency and severity of some of the flare ups.
- Intra-abdominal conditions: It refers to a variety of diseases, including cystitis, pancreatitis, acute and chronic kidney disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. They can be a great adjunct in managing/resolving feline urethral obstruction; blocked cats.
- Otitis: Otitis is an inflammatory condition of the external ear canal that frequently occurs in dogs and cats.
- Intra-thoracic conditions: Class IV therapy lasers have been used to treat a variety of conditions within the thoracic cavity, including asthma, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
- Degenerative myelopathy (DM): This is a disease that affects the spinal cord of dogs. A Class IV laser with a very high dosage and an aggressive protocol including intensive rehab has the potential to increase a dog's longevity significantly.
- It improves longevity, not just the quality of life but the quantity of animal life.
Benefits of Using a Class IV Therapy Lasers
The use of laser therapy has been proven to be an effective adjunct for veterinarians and their patients. Using a Class IV therapy laser can help patients recover from acute conditions. It will also help manage (resolve?) chronic conditions with less medications. In many cases it also slows the progression of many conditions.
Additional benefits of using a Class IV therapy laser:
1. Enhanced Clinical Results
Surgical patients and others with acute injury/trauma will have less risk of infection and quicker healing, which means lower risk of complications. Enhanced clinical outcomes foster client loyalty and can result in increased word-of-mouth referrals.
2. Treat Patients Throughout Your Clinic
Class IV therapy lasers can be used to treat patients throughout your clinic. These lasers are portable and versatile enough to be carried to any room of your clinic, including the waiting room. It can also be taken outside to the car or to the patient’s home. It is ideal for the house-call practice or the ambulatory equine practice.
This versatility and portability allows veterinarians to treat more patients and conditions with a single unit.
3. Establish a Credibility for Being at the Cutting Edge of Veterinary Technology
Veterinarians can establish credibility for having the most up-to-date technology in their practice, both in the acute and management phases. It’s a technology that has the immediate perception of ‘high-tech’ and ‘cutting-edge’.
4. Efficient Time Management
With the use of a Class IV laser, vets can treat more animals and conditions in less time.
By using these lasers, doctors will increase the number of patients treated without needing more people to help. It will increase their productivity
The use of a Class IV Laser is an innovative and exciting development that can help pets with a wide variety of dermatologic, neurologic, musculoskeletal and even intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic conditions. We have experience using this type of laser on animals of all sizes and shapes.
The laser is still just another tool So, it is important for veterinarians to understand the proper use, applications, and safety guidelines of a Class IV therapy laser.
In this article, we have described the many benefits of Class IV therapy lasers. We hope this blog post has been an insightful look at the diverse range of applications.