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Lasers can reduce inflammation in pets

Fans of Star Trek may remember the Enterprise’s chief medical officer healing wounds magically with a television-remote looking device.

Annie Elliott is doing something very similar in Park City to reduce pain and inflammation in pets.

Elliott is a massage therapist certified to treat dogs and perform rehabilitation. This spring she began offering MLS Harmony Therapy at the Park City Animal Clinic with a laser produced by Cutting Edge Laser Technologies.

The main unit looks a little like a stand-up vacuum cleaner and connects to a remote device Elliott uses to shoot two different types of emissions into either humans or pets (although it is currently configured for pets).

One emission reduces inflammation by stimulating blood flow on a cellular level. The other emission interferes with the body’s transmission of the pain impulse. Elliott said she’s seen miraculous results.

Stefani Kimche had the treatments performed on Milo, a small dog who had been suffering from a severe limp since he was three months old. Kimche said she consulted with several veterinarians, some who thought surgery was the only answer. Being a small dog, she was hoping for something noninvasive for Milo.

Elliott performed 10 treatments.

"It’s been amazing," she said. "Every vet now agrees surgery isn’t necessary I’m so thrilled with the results and so grateful we went this route."

Because Milo limped for seven months of his life, he still does it out of habit. Kimche said Elliott is now using massage and physical therapy to help him build muscle strength and walk normally again.

Elliott said the treatments dovetail with each other. Laser therapy promotes healing, massage restores range of motion and helps a pet walk normally again, and rehab allows them to strengthen muscles and prevent repeat injury.

Elliott recommends laser treatment to speed recovery of surgical wounds, orthopedic issues and another other problems with inflammation. She knows first-hand its effectiveness on bite wounds because her own cat got in a fight and couldn’t be stitched afterward for fear of infection.

Because felines don’t like to be forcibly handled or take medications, lasers are an easy way to treat their injuries.

The animal feels a slight tingle on the skin, but shaving isn’t necessary. The lasers reach much deeper than a massage ever would, she said.

Like acupuncture, best results are seen after several visits. Treatment usually begins with an x-ray to target a treatment area. Injections last 2.5 to 8 minutes but no longer, she said.

Laser treatments are popular with professional athletes and she said the U.S. Ski Team uses them.

With pets, the comfortable treatment followed by massage relieves stress animals feel about visiting the veterinarian, Elliott said.

The field is a new niche in veterinary medicine and Elliott said she finds new developments exciting and working with animals rewarding.

"They have such a will to recover and have a great, active life," she said. "It’s such a joy to see these animals return to full activity and their people to be so happy seeing them back."

Elliott can be contacted at (435) 901-9187 or through the Park City Animal Clinic at 649-0710.


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