It’s been used by chiropractors for several years, and now cold laser therapy has come to Animal Health Center of Marion County.
Veterinarian Jessica Laurin said the therapy is used to treat arthritis and pain in animals that are sensitive to pain medication or steroids.
A 4-by-6-inch power pack energizes two probes, one with one laser light, and one with four laser lights. When the probes are placed on the body, the beams of light that are emitted stimulate damaged cells to produce more energy, increasing circulation and releasing endorphin, the body’s natural pain reliever.
Porky Pig, Sarah Smith’s show animal, was the first to receive the new treatment. It has since been used on cats and dogs.
“We’ve had pretty good luck with it,” Laurin said.
She has a veterinarian friend in South Dakota who has used cold laser therapy for a year and uses it on all kinds of pets and livestock, including horses.
Laurin got her first ultrasound machine two years after beginning practice in Marion 20 years ago. A more recent update is an ultrasound machine with goggles. She takes it out to farms to check for pregnancy in cows. She said the new technology allows earlier detection of pregnancy.
As in many businesses, the biggest change Laurin has seen is in the use of computer technology. She said x-ray and lab machines now are integrated into the medical records system. In addition, when samples are sent to an outside lab, the results can be accessed online, speeding up the treatment process.
Under the government-mandated Veterinary Feed Directive to take effect Jan. 1, Laurin said online systems would be used to contact feed mills regarding the use of medically important antibiotics in feed orders.
She said when choosing among the many veterinary tools available, she considers cost and practical use.
“You have to figure out what to put resources into that will be most useful in this area,” she said.
Laurin began operating as a lone veterinarian with a secretary. She added a clinic at Herington eight years ago and now employs 20 people, including four veterinarians.