In February 2018, I decided to choose at-home laser therapy for managing Isabella’s IVDD. Above all, I was looking for something that would treat her pain and inflammation without medications (especially NSAID’s non-steroidal anti-inflammatory’s).
This article will enlighten you on:
- The practical use of laser therapy for IVDD dogs.
- Other conditions Laser is treating with great success.
- As well as, how to treat your dog’s IVDD without long-term medication.
Including the best protocols, we are using based on our real-life evidence-based results. And Isabella’s successful recovery because of Laser Therapy!
Details on Purchasing ‘My Pet Laser’ can be found at the close of this article. This is the laser I use and is the laser I highly recommend.
Get My Dog Better and out of Pain
I resolved based on my research, that laser therapy needed to be one of the things I was going to do to get my dog better and out of pain. I would like to share our story with you so you can evaluate treating your dog’s IVDD with laser therapy vs. longer than needed medication use as well as the possibility of avoiding surgery as we did.
It is important to note I’m not anti-medication. Or anti-surgery. On the contrary. There are an absolute time and a place for them both. But, I would be remiss if I were not to say, how very thankful I was for the medications when she was first diagnosed with IVDD. They were truly life-saving and got us to the place where we are now. Which is a very happy place indeed!
My Ah-Ha Moment! | Laser Therapy for IVDD Dogs
You can treat your dog’s IVDD without Medication! Laser Therapy to the Rescue. Isabella has been receiving laser therapy since March 2018. I’m over the moon to report, you can treat your dogs’ IVDD (intervertebral disk disease) without medication AND heal them!
In our case, we have been able to successfully treat conservatively, without the need for surgical intervention. And regain the quality of life she had before her IVDD diagnosis!
Laser Therapy No Known Side Effects
Treating your Dogs IVDD without Medication
“The application of light-based modalities has proven to be an excellent means of reducing pain, either as a complementary modality or as a standalone treatment. There are virtually no known side effects, no long-term safety concerns as can occur with medications, and it is simple to administer. Photobiomodulation (PBM) can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions in dogs, cats, horses, and exotics.”
“Low level laser therapy and light *photobiomodulation (PBM) is a non-thermal process where photochemical and photophysical changes occur to the cell.”
*Photobiomodulation (PBM) also known as Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
Laser Therapy for IVDD Dogs
Clinical Study at UF College of Veterinary Medicine
October 2011 | Clinicians at UF’s Small Animal Hospital began using laser therapy routinely after results from a year long study showed laser’s effectiveness in patients with intervertebral disk disease.
The study is the first ever to compare dogs with intervertebral disk disease treated postoperatively with laser to dogs not treated with lasers, Schubert said. He called the results “revolutionary.”
“Dogs that receive low-level laser treatment after initial surgery are walking a full week earlier than patients that do not receive the treatment,” said Dr. Tom Schubert, a professor of small animal neurology at UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine.”
“The results were so profound that we’re doing this procedure now on all dogs that come to us with this condition“
Prior to starting Laser Therapy
For the better part of one year, Isabella was on 3 medications, two for pain and one muscle relaxer, three times daily! As she made improvements, my goal was always to get her off the meds. But, every time I attempted to wean her off the drugs, she was right back on them. She was not making progress! Every day I had to weigh would this be the day we had to get in the car for the long journey for surgery, as it’s not done in the province we live in!
Heartbreaking to See Your Dog in Pain
It is mortifying and heartbreaking to see your dog in pain! Also, not being able to get the pain in control, well, that is a whole other article. It took forever to get her medication cocktail right! Most noteworthy, it was surreal to see her little body literally bent out of shape with her back arched (hunched) like a cat and head (nose) held low to the ground.
It is possible to treat your dog’s IVDD without medication. Only after starting at-home laser Therapy was I able to successfully get her off all medications. It took approximately 6-8 weeks of laser therapy to achieve this.
Finally, it’s been almost 2 years now medication free!!! 19 months to be exact! But who’s counting? As a result, Laser therapy has literally given me my dog back!
Establishing a Protocol
It’s important to note that when we initially started with laser therapy, I worked very closely with the vet to establish a protocol. After the initial few months, I then relied on:
- Information garnered directly from Multi Radiance Medical (the manufacturer of this world-class laser) through telephone conversations and email. They were a tremendous help!
- The “Treatment Protocol Manual” that comes with the purchase of the My Pet Laser.
- What was working well for us.
Laser Therapy Protocol using My Pet Laser
To this very day, every 4 weeks I do maintenance treatments with her at home using My Pet Laser by Multi Radiance Medical.
Because, I felt that with a chronic, degenerative disease like IVDD, going for a few finite treatments were not going to be what was needed long term, as effects of laser therapy are cumulative. I wanted something that was going to be meaningful for the rest of her life! So, I purchased My Pet Laser through a local vet in my community.
Due to, the local vet buying a veterinary line of lasers from Multi Radiance Medical, which includes 4 ‘My Pet Lasers’, that can be rented out for at-home use. I was able to arrange with the vet to buy My Pet Laser from them. Miracle!
3 settings on My Pet Laser:
# 1 Treats inflammation (stimulatory). Decreases inflammation, increases circulation and promotes healing.
# 2 Repair of bone, muscle, tendon & ligaments (stimulatory). Promotes healing, stimulates bone repair, reduces pain from arthritis, improves healing of muscle and tendons.
# 3 Reduces Swelling and Pain (inhibitory). Reduces edema, provides pain relief, deactivates trigger points.
Similarly, stimulatory and inhibitory settings play important and unique roles in any treatment plan.
My Pet Laser | by Multi Radiance Veterinary
The My Pet Laser is an FDA cleared super-pulsed laser therapy device, for safe, drug-free, non-invasive relief of pain and inflammation.
More on Setting Specifics
We use setting # 1 (inflammation) and # 2 (healing) as a maintenance treatment protocol. Isabella is no longer in pain so we do not use setting # 3 (pain) in this protocol. Setting # 1 (inflammation) and # 2 (healing) are both “stimulatory” settings and can be used at the same time on the same site, for example, the spine.
Also, if you do use the “inhibitory” setting # 3 (pain), then you should wait for a minimum of 4 hours (6-8 hours is recommended) before stimulating the same site. Even more, if you use “inhibitory” (pain setting #3) on the spine, you could use “stimulatory” settings at the same session, but it should be done on a different part of her body like her hip joint, for example.
Current At-Home Laser Therapy Protocol
- Treatment Schedule: I treat for 3-4 weeks, with a 4-week break in between. Using setting # 1 (inflammation) and # 2 (healing) (both stimulatory).
- The Treatment Length: Do not exceed 15 procedures per treatment schedule. For example, 1 Procedure = any sessions completed within 1 day. Regardless if you do “one” 5-minute session or “four” 5-minute sessions, this would count as 1 Procedure.
- Frequency of Procedures: Done daily, for the first 2-3 days to knock out the inflammation. Then I do every other day for the next week. Then scale back to 2 days in between treatments. So the total treatment length ends up being approximately 4 weeks.
- Session Time: 10-minute session in AM and a 10-minute session in PM. Not to exceed 20 minutes per day. Our sessions are repeated at about the same time each day (+/- hour). So, for this will have fulfilled 1 of our 15 allowed procedures.
Note: The treatment program should not exceed the recommendations in the ‘treatment protocol manual’, that is supplied with My Pet Laser. Target tissues may become saturated and no additional effects will be seen. So it is important to follow protocols.
Starting each Maintenance Treatment Protocol
Setting # 1 (inflammation) is done in AM AND PM, for a total of 10 minutes each. I do this every day for the first 2-3 days depending on how she is doing. Most noteworthy, it’s important is to deal with the inflammation. You want to knock that out first.
Controlling inflammation is key to promoting and initiating tissue repair. Low doses with setting # 1 have been shown to reduce tissue inflammation within just a few short treatments!
So, when I feel the inflammation has been addressed. I then start every other day or even skip 2 days in between, using a combination of setting # 1 (inflammation) and # 2 (healing).
Contact Scanning Method
I use the contact-scanning method, with light pressure holding the laser wand perpendicular to her spine (moving about 1 cm/second, up and down either side of her spine, not directly on top of her spine). I start at the base of her neck and work all the way down to the tip of her tail.
Setting # 2 (healing) Is added in on day 3 or 4 after treating inflammation. I use “targeted” treatments on her trouble spots. These are the spots on her spine that were identified by the vet through diagnostic imaging and clinical examinations. I do 30 seconds on either side of her spine, for a total of 1 minute at each “spot/site”. I do this on 5 problem spots on her spine for a total of 5 minutes.
Note: Setting # 1 (inflammation) is now reduced to 5 minutes in the AM and PM session. With the addtion of seting #2 (healing) for our 20 minute total treatment time. In other words in the AM/PM I now do 5 minutes of #1 and 5 minutes of #2, for a total of 20 minutes.
To Recap Our At-Home Laser Therapy protocol looks like this:
- First 2-3 day’s: focus on inflammation with setting # 1, 10 min. in AM & PM
- The remainder of Treatment Schedule: 5 min. in the AM & PM, using setting # 1 and 5 min. setting # 2. Total of 20 minutes for the day. Skipping 1 or 2 days in between.
Setting # 1 (inflammation) should be used with setting #2 (healing) when trying to improve healing.
Pain Setting # 3
Although we do not need to use this setting in our maintenance protocol. Isabella did need the pain setting for the first 2-3 months of starting her laser therapy. Even though she was weaned off the meds in 6-8 weeks, after starting the at-home laser therapy, she was still in some pain, which was now able to be managed with the laser therapy as a stand-alone treatment. We finally reached the point of treating her IVDD without medication! I was now treating her IVDD with Laser Therapy as a stand-alone therapy.
The treatment method using this setting should begin using the “unwind protocol”. Start at the base of the skull and proceed to the tip of the tail at about 1 cm/second.
Laser therapy can be very effective in reducing pain
“Laser therapy can be very effective for reducing both acute and chronic pain, with both short and long term results. And has been shown to reduce pain, sometimes as early as one treatment.
Medications given orally or injected can be diminished
The need for medications given orally or injected can be diminished, following active laser therapy treatments. Moderate exercise is encouraged with laser therapy. It maintains muscle mass and preserves joint flexibility. Excessive exercise, however, is counterproductive.”
My Pet Laser. Treatment Protocol Manual.
At-home Treatments with My Pet Laser
Treatments at home are much less stressful. Especially when your animal is in an acute episode and in pain. In our case, Isabella’s back was so bad every trip in the car could have literally paralyzed her.
Not to mention most kitties loath a trip to the vet. Therefore, at-home laser therapy for your kitty is just the ticket! Laser therapy is helping many animals, not just dogs.
Other Animals being helped with Laser Therapy:
Laser Therapy Treating More than IVDD in Dogs
“Regardless of species, osteoarthritis (OA) is a common cause of pain. Much like soft tissue strains, Laser can be a central component of a multimodal approach to treating OA.
Laser can be particularly helpful in reducing pain and enabling arthritic animals to be more active. Increased activity can facilitate weight loss, which further reduces strain on joints and the clinical signs of OA.”
Other Conditions being treated with Laser Therapy
- Managing wounds and dermatologic abnormalities, including hotspots, lick granulomas, otitis externa, pyoderma (infection of the skin). Lasers with blue light are required for wound healing.
- Healing Surgical Incisions
- Hip Dysplasia
- Anal Glands
- Gingivitis Periodontal Disease, stomatitis and tooth extractions
- Bursitis and Tendonitis
- Acute Injury’s
- Rodent ulcers and feline acne
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Tail fractures
Laser therapy has helped with Isabella’s pain and inflammation. At a deeper level, I’m confident it has helped to heal her IVDD injury sites. Moreover, I feel it has provided healing benefits with sites that may have become problems that had not yet developed.
Therefore, at-home laser therapy has been highly effective in our case for both:
- Acute Episodes: Treating acute IVDD episodes and as a
- Preventative Therapy: Preventing new IVDD episodes
Don’t miss our Article and Free Guide:
Laser therapy for IVDD Dogs can be used as a:
- Complimentary modality (with other therapies) or a
- Standalone modality (as a single therapy method)
- Should not be used over the Thyroid Gland
- Should not be used directly over, diagnosed Cancer Tumors
- Don’t use in combination with NSAID’s or Steroids
“A few early trials have suggested that the combined use of laser therapy and NSAID’s may diminish the impact of Laser, however, the overall effect seen in the laboratory studies have not been significantly demonstrated in clinical outcomes. Further studies on the combined use may provide additional details.”
“Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), especially Cox-2 Inhibitors can reduce effectiveness of laser therapy.”
My Pet Laser. Treatment Protocol Manual
Laser Therapy is Okay to Use With
- Pain killers
- Joint Supplements
Dog Breeds Prone to IVDD
Disc disease is most common in short-legged and small breed dogs. But any breed can be afflicted with IVDD.
Not JUST the Dachshund breed is prone to IVDD:
- French Bulldogs
- Basset Hounds
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- Cocker Spaniels
- Lhasa Apsos
- Shih Tzus
Signs of IVDD
At the first sign of any of these symptoms, crate your dog to protect the spinal cord and get to a vet, ideally knowledgeable about disc disease (IVDD).
- Trembling or shaking
- Muscle spasms
- Reluctance to move, jump or go up and downstairs
- Arched or hunched back
- Head held high or head lowered to the ground (nose to the ground)
- Neck and or back pain
- Cries when touched or moved
- Cries when eating or drinking (neck)
- Reluctance to eat due to pain or from chewing
- Pain when moving, moved or when picked up
- Limping, weakness
- Stiffness (tense abdomen from referred pain)
- Difficulty getting up from the floor/laying position
- Restless at Night or at other times
Signs Damage to the Spinal Cord is Progressing
- Severe escalating pain
- Wobbly walking, lack of coordination
- Crossed legs (ataxia, drunk walking)
- Knuckling of paw or paws
- Dragging of a leg or legs
- Incontinence (bladder and bowel control are lost)
- Paralysis in one or more legs
- Deep pain sensation is lost
Why Choose At-Home Laser Therapy for My IVDD Dog?
Pain Relief, Reduces Inflammation, Promotes Healing
Laser Therapy provides fast pain relief, reduces inflammation, and promotes healing. LLLT (low-level laser therapy) can be particularly helpful in reducing inflammation and pain, enabling IVDD and arthritic animals to be more active.
Laser therapy provides:
- Pain relief
- Reduces inflammation
- Promotes healing, stimulates cell regeneration
- Medications given orally or injected can be diminished or stopped
Finally, Laser Therapy can speed healing by decreasing pain and inflammation and promote blood flow to the affected areas.
Don’t miss our article 3 Instances: Laser Therapy is Effective in IVDD Dogs.
4 Other Common Back Problems In Dogs which can benefit from Laser Therapy
- Lumbosacral Syndrome
- Soft Tissue Trauma
Laser Therapy Treatment Costs
In clinic and rental costs will vary widely depending on where you live. However, this will give you a starting point for comparison.
In-Clinic Veterinary Laser Therapy
- 1 session $60 USD
- 3 sessions $130 USD
- 6 sessions $265 USD
My Pet Laser Rental through your vet for At-Home Laser Therapy
- $150 USD per week with an $890.00 USD refundable deposit (upon return of an intact laser)
Purchase My Pet Laser for At-Home Laser Therapy
To obtain the results Isabella has achieved using our custom protocol as outlined in this article:
Request a quote for My Pet Laser. Two easy options. (Approximate price $2995 USD. Price is subject to change. A quote is required)
Request a quote online using a desktop computer at Request A Quote | My Pet Laser please use the special code CherishedHound2019. This code is to be placed in the form field that asks for a “Company Name”. In the form field that asks for “Medical Profession” choose ‘other’ or ‘patient’ from the drop-down menu, unless one of the other available options apply to you. In the “business email” and “address” form fields you may use your personal email and personal address unless you have a business email/address OR
You can contact Pam Manke at Multi Radiance Medical direct, either by telephone on her direct line at 1-800-373-0955 xx 109 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please reference the special code CherishedHound2019.
What conservative treatments or have worked well for your Cherished Hound? Leave us a comment we love hearing from you.
Before you start any new protocol with your dog, particularly if they are on medication, or suffering from an acute illness or condition, you MUST check with your veterinarian prior to starting any new protocol. Please do not use the content from this blog in place of veterinary care!
I love connecting with pet parents. You might even see the answer to your question in an upcoming blog article! Feel free to reach out, and be sure to stay tuned for more!
Do you have a question for the IVDD pet community? Or a topic you would like to see covered. Click here to send us an email!!!