Safety of Laser Therapy Copy
The safety of lasers is a matter of debate but there are two main concerns with laser use:
-damage to the eyes
-overheating of tissues
Lasers are classified based on their potential to cause damage to the eyes. Class 2 lasers are generally considered safe while Class 4 lasers require specific OHSA standards for operation including the use of protective eyewear, blackening of surrounding surfaces to prevent refractory beams and special training. Class 4 lasers are generally used in surgery or for cauterizing materials and would not be appropriate for our therapeutic use unless directed by a veterinarian.
Below is a link to a chart that clearly illustrates the various classes and their safety concerns:
Overheating can result from the use of non-pulsed lasers if they are held over a specific region for prolonged periods. The tissue damage will be greatest below the surface and may not be visible, but the animal will become agitated or irritable potentially. Most lasers come with programmable features or guides to determining the appropriate frequencies and timing of treatment. I tend to keep my laser moving over the areas being treated using the recommended patterns from MultiRadiance Medical Laser. The exception may be when using blue light to treat a wound or using the LaserPuncture feature to work specific acupressure points.
Introducing the laser to the animal should be done appropriately. Allow the animal to see and sniff the instrument before using. Some units will beep or make noise when choosing settings. You may be able to turn off the sounds or accustom the animal to them. Hand held lasers are the easiest and safest to use. A wrist strap can protect your laser from getting dropped or knocked out of your hand accidentally. Some older laser models included a separate battery box that could be carried like a purse or backpack or strapped to the horse. These are more cumbersome and require more attention to comfort and safety. NEVER leave an animal unattended during a treatment.