Alternative Care

Laser Therapy For Cats

At Harlingen Veterinary Clinic, we are always looking to new ways to care for your cat. Medicine and technology are constantly advancing and we embrace staying at the forefront of the best medical and surgical care. We are proud to offer laser therapy for cats at our veterinary clinic.

Veterinary laser therapy provides a non-invasive, pain-free, surgery-free and drug-free treatment for a variety of conditions, and can be performed in conjunction with existing treatment protocols. Laser treatment for cats employs deep-penetrating light to promote a chain of chemical reactions known as photobiostimulation. This process helps relieve pain through the release of endorphins, and it stimulates injured cells to heal at an accelerated pace. The faster your cat heals and the better he or she feels.

Laser treatments provide pain relief for cats in three ways. First, by reducing inflammation through vasodilation (opening of blood vessels), and by activating the lymphatic drainage system, thus draining swollen areas. As a result, swelling caused by bruising or inflammation is reduced which alleviates pain. Second, by stimulating nerve cells that block pain signals from being transmitted to the brain. And third, by stimulating the production of high levels of endorphins which are pain killing compounds naturally produced by the cat.

Besides pain relief, some other important benefits of veterinary laser therapy include:

  • Increased metabolic activity
  • Improved nerve function
  • Reduced fibrous tissue formation
  • Faster wound healing
  • Accelerated tissue repair and cell growth

Laser therapy for cats can be used to treat a multitude of ailments, including:

  • Ulcerations and open wounds
  • Muscle, ligament and tendon injuries
  • Post-surgical and soft tissue trauma
  • Back pain
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Acute and Chronic Ear Infections
  • Gingivitis and post op dental extractions
  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative Joint Disease

Many of our veterinary therapy patients are older animals with musculoskeletal ailments. Your cat may benefit from laser therapy if they are experiencing pain, discomfort, or are displaying any of the following signs:

  • Decrease in normal activity
  • Decreased desire to jump up on surfaces it normally jumps onto
  • Slowness to get up
  • May cry or move away from petting
  • Does not want to be picked up and handled as usual
  • Limping
  • Decrease in grooming habits

The time needed for the treatment depends upon the condition and severity of the problem. We utilize laser therapy on incisions post operatively to aid in pain management and faster healing. These treatments are generally a one time treatment. Other one time laser therapy situations may apply to wound care of ulcerations or infections. However, with more chronic or severe pain, we will recommend a series of treatments. The treatment length will vary but most are approximately 5-15 minutes. Our veterinarians will tailor the length of the series based upon the condition and the response. For example, for chronic low back pain, we may recommend 6 weekly treatments. Some chronic conditions such as arthritis may require ongoing treatments. If your cat has responded well to the laser, we may be able to keep the pain under control with monthly treatments. Laser treatment for cats are cumulative, so each additional treatment facilitates a greater improvement in your cat’s condition. One of our veterinarians would be happy to help devise a sufficient laser treatment schedule based on your cat’s needs.

Laser therapy for cats has no known side effects, and is considered both safe and effective across the veterinary industry.

Laser Therapy For Dogs

At Harlingen Veterinary Clinic, we pride ourselves with always searching for new ways to care for your dog especially where pain is concerned. Veterinary laser therapy provides a non-invasive, pain-free, surgery-free and drug-free treatment that is used to treat a variety of conditions, and can be performed in conjunction with existing treatments. Laser treatment for dogs employs deep-penetrating light to promote a chain of chemical reactions known as photobiostimulation. This process helps relieve pain through the release of endorphins, and it stimulates injured cells to heal at an accelerated pace.

Although improvement is often seen after the first visit, your dog’s condition will influence how often and long laser therapy is necessary. Treatments vary in length, but most sites require 3 to 8 minutes. Laser treatments for dogs are cumulative, so each additional treatment facilitates a greater improvement in your dog’s condition. The length and frequency of treatments vary by condition, so allow your veterinarian to help devise a sufficient laser treatment schedule for your canine companion.

Laser therapy, also may be referred to as Cold Laser, Low-Level Laser or Class IV Laser Therapy. Each of these terms refers to the same therapy, using the same equipment to stimulates cell regeneration and increase blood circulation.

Dog laser therapy can be used to treat a multitude of ailments, including:

  • Muscle, ligament and tendon injuries
  • Post-surgical and soft tissue trauma
  • Back pain
  • Ear infections
  • Gingivitis
  • Hot Spots and open wounds
  • Arthritis / hip dysplasia
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Anal gland infections

Many of our veterinary therapy patients are older animals with musculoskeletal ailments. Some signs that your senior companion is experiencing pain or discomfort are:

  • Abnormal sitting or lying posture
  • Circling multiple times before lying down
  • Restlessness
  • Whining, groaning or other vocalizations
  • Limping, unable to get up or lie down
  • Difficulty getting into car or down stairs
  • Lack of grooming
  • Won’t wag tail
  • Licking or biting area
  • Lack of appetite
  • Trembling

Laser treatments are an excellent way to provide pain relief to your canine companion. Laser therapy reduces pain by reducing inflammation through vasodilation (the opening of blood vessels) and also by activating the lymphatic drainage system, thus draining swollen areas. The result is a reduction in swelling which reduces pain. The lasers also stimulate nerve cells that block pain signals from being transmitted to the brain, thereby decreasing nerve sensitivity. Because there is less inflammation, less swelling and an interruption of pain signals to the brain, the dog will experience less pain. Laser treatments for dogs also stimulate the production of high levels of naturally-produced endorphins which further counteract your dog’s pain.

Dog laser therapy is a very helpful tool during postoperative recovery. In minor cases, laser therapy alone may be enough to alleviate pain and stimulate the healing process. Because it works directly on injured or affected areas, laser treatments can help speed up healing, strengthen muscle and tissue, improve mobility and enhance your dog’s overall quality of life almost immediately.

A technician will hold the laser wand directly over the affected area for somewhere between 3 and 10 minutes. There is no pain associated with the treatment and most dogs will relax during this time. The almost immediate relief of pain will allow your dog to be comfortable and any anxiety he or she initially experiences will quickly dissipate. Occasionally, some dogs actually fall asleep during their therapy sessions.

Laser treatment for dogs is totally pain free and very comforting. As the laser is administered, your dog may feel a gentle and soothing warmth, tingling, or no sensation at all. For many canines, dog laser therapy is very relaxing. As areas of pain or inflammation become more comfortable, any anxiety and tension your dog may be experiencing tends to quickly dissipate.

Laser treatment for dogs has no known side effects, and is considered both safe and effective across the veterinary industry.

Cat Acupuncture

Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system by inserting very fine needles into very specific points on the body. From the perspective of Western medicine, feline acupuncture decreases inflammation by stimulating nerve centers; thus causing a cat’s body to release its own pain relieving substances. Eastern medicine describes the practice of acupuncture as stimulating Chi meridians and removing blockages so that energy can move freely through the body. However, perhaps the most important perspective is that of cat owners that consistently see improvement in their cat’s quality of life after receiving cat acupuncture treatments.

Most cats tolerate acupuncture treatments very well. Acupuncture is able to effectively treat a variety of health issues that are common in the lives of cats. Often used in conjunction with Western methods of medical care ranging from diet recommendations to prescription medications to surgical procedures. Acupuncture directly addresses one of the most important and hardest to measure aspects of cat care, pain relief. Cats are incredibly adept at hiding pain. Instinctually cats downplay weaknesses. As humans, it is natural for us to talk about and seek solutions for our pain. Cats do not do this. Most cat owners overlook pain in their cats, because cats simply do not talk about it.

It is important to understand that at Harlingen Veterinary Clinic our veterinarians use traditional methods of veterinary medicine to diagnose the condition of a feline patient. After our veterinary staff has performed any medical exams deemed necessary to reach an accurate diagnosis, acupuncture may be recommended to treat conditions such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritic conditions
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis in their spines, necks and lower limbs
  • Metabolic diseases such as kidney disease, thus helping to slow down the progression of the disease
  • Helping to increase an animal’s appetite which is important if they have kidney disease
  • Treating inflammatory bowel disease
  • Pain management, pain relief or muscle spasms
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney/Urinary Disease
  • Internal Infections
  • Cancer
  • Diseases of the Liver, Gallbladder, Endocrine System (e.g., Diabetes, Adrenal, Thyroid, etc.) and heart disease

Acupuncture points for cats exist throughout the musculoskeletal system, along the spine, near all major joints and around the head. 

Most cats tolerate acupuncture sessions very well. Our goal is for cats to be comfortable throughout the session and cats often times fall asleep. The needles we use are very small and slide easily into the skin. Through training, our veterinarians have learned exactly how to administer acupuncture without stimulating any pain response. For some patients, it may be calming for the owner to stay with the cat. Once acupuncture needles have been inserted, they will remain in place for about 5-12 minutes depending upon the condition that is being treated. After enough time has passed, the needles are removed and the cat is free to go home.

No. Most cats tolerate acupuncture very well. Our veterinarians know how to administer acupuncture without stimulating any pain response. Cats often fall asleep during acupuncture sessions.

Some cats will experience relief after their very first cat acupuncture session. It is very common that cat owners will report to us that their cats have returned home with a healthy appetite and seemingly rejuvenated physical abilities. However, when treating chronic conditions, it may take a number of consistent acupuncture treatments before significant progress can be easily seen.

In addition to acupuncture, there are a few other eastern medical practices that are successfully used as an integrative approach to feline healthcare. Where acupuncture utilizes needles inserted into specific locations throughout the body, acupressure for cats is the practice of simply applying pressure at specific points on the body. Also, the use of herbs and food therapy are very common and beneficial in treating feline illnesses. Of course, as a cat owner, you know that cats can be finicky eaters, so food therapy may require some patience on the owner’s part and may not be plausible for some patients. For cats that are accepting of new foods, herbs and medicinal nutritional choices can make a world of difference.

This depends entirely on the cat and the condition being treated. Some cats respond immediately, for others it takes a number of consistent cat acupuncture sessions for improvements to become noticeable. Prior to beginning a cat acupuncture treatment or series of treatments, one of our veterinarians will discuss their recommendation with you so that you have a complete picture of the treatment regimen that is being proposed. It is our job to accurately diagnose your cats medical condition and to make sure that you understand the prognosis and treatment recommendation. As always, we are here to help you understand what is in the best interests of your cat and to help you make an informed decision about how to proceed.

Dog Acupunture

Acupuncture is a component of traditional Chinese medicine that originated more than 2,000 years ago. In Eastern medicine, the practice of acupuncture is based on the theory that all living beings have an energy force called “chi” that circulates along invisible lines known as “meridians” in the body. Each meridian is said to be directly tied to a different organ system within the body. Wherever blockages develop that restrict the flow of energy, illness and disease begin to develop. By stimulating certain points on the meridians using thin needles, these energy blockages are cleared, the natural flow of energy is restored and in this way the body is able to heal itself.

From the perspective of western medicine, these same meridians trace points in the body with high concentrations of nerve endings that can trigger the release of naturally occurring substances to alleviate pain and induce healing.

Regardless of an individual’s view of western or eastern medicine, perhaps the most important perspective is that of patients who have experienced improvements in quality of life after receiving acupuncture treatments.

While acupuncture isn’t appropriate for every dog or every situation, it can safely be used to treat dogs with a variety of health conditions, especially those suffering from pain or inflammation. Dogs with arthritis, digestive problems, kidney disease, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, asthma and certain neurological disorders can all benefit from acupuncture.

Acupuncture works by stimulating certain areas of a dog’s body that contain large numbers of nerves. This can enhance blood circulation, decrease muscle spasms and cause the release of pain-relieving hormones (endorphins) in the brain.

Canine acupuncture sessions generally last between 15 minutes and one hour, depending on the dog’s particular needs. Thin, flexible needles are inserted at certain points along the dog’s body and left there for several minutes before being removed. No anesthesia is required and the dog remains conscious during the entire process. Owners encouraged to be present during the sessions.

Dog acupuncture points are found on areas of the body where nerve bundles and blood vessels come together. These can be found all along the musculo-skeletal system. Consult your veterinarian on the location of these points.

When performed properly, acupuncture is typically a painless experience. A tiny prick may be felt when needles are inserted, and sometimes a duller, deeper sensation when the needles hit the acupuncture points. Most dogs relax and actually seem to enjoy this experience after the needles are in. In fact, many dogs are so relaxed during their sessions that they will drift off to sleep.

Positive improvement is typically seen within a matter of days. Some dogs may appear to feel worse for a day or two after treatment. Others may become lethargic or sleepy. These effects are an indication that physiological changes are occurring, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the dog’s condition which differs depending on the condition being treated but commonly includes increased appetite and rejuvenated movement.

The recommended veterinary acupuncture treatment frequency will depend on your dog’s condition. Typically, dogs start out receiving between one and three weekly sessions. Once the problem is under control, the number and frequency of sessions typically taper off to the minimum necessary to maintain quality of life.

In many cases, canine acupuncture is used in conjunction with traditional, Western medicine (i.e. medication, antibiotics and surgery) and other holistic approaches such as herbal supplements, massage and dietary changes.

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Harlingen Veterinary Clinic will be closed on the following days due to staffing shortages. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Saturday, October 8th 

Saturday, October 22nd 

Saturday, December 24th  

Monday, December 26th

Saturday, December 31st