Dr. R. Kraemer, veterinarian at an Animal Hospital located in Santa Ana – Tustin, Orange County, California, has provided veterinary services since 1992 for dogs, cats and other pet owners and is one of the few certified provider for laser therapy in that geographic location.
Everyone knows oxygen is essential for life and we all dependent on it for our survival and health. To draw an analogy, if oxygen is a lifesaving cargo and the red blood cells (RBC) are the transporting vehicles, then the blood vessels, capillaries and lymphatic are the freeway network and road system. By the same analogy, our organs, tissues, and living cells are the customers whose lives depend on this critical cargo arriving quickly, and in superior quality. Class 4 Cold Laser helps to ensure all that, being the ultimate enabler.
I sat down for a cold laser therapy Q&A with a few members of the Southern California Bulldog Rescue, Gilbert Van Der Marlier (“Skip”) the founder of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE, Joel Braverman and John Belmore, both long time members of bulldog rescue.
Many of the Cold Laser “success stories” posted on this site are SCBR bulldog rescue dogs, most suffering from multiple medical conditions and chronic pain, and all of whom are ideal candidates for non invasive treatment like laser therapy. In my hospital all cold laser therapy for the SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE patients are FREE of charge. If you wish to join us in support of this dedicated bulldog rescue group please click here
John Belmore (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE volunteer): What does L.A.S.E.R. stand for?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: L.A.S.E.R is short for “Amplification by Stimulated Emission Rays” which is a highly concentrated, coherent light at a concise wavelength. In contrast to the sun’s light that spreads out in radiating beams, expanding further apart as they travel, the laser light is coherent and does not radiate. The laser light beam is directed to a specific location with the exact desired energy and wavelength.
Gilbert Van Der Marlier (Skip): “laser” makes me think “weapon” and “Jedi Nights” rather than “pain relief” and “wound repair” and ”healing facilitator”?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: This is a common misunderstanding. My laser is a therapeutic laser. It’s a COLD laser, also known as “soft laser therapy”, “low power laser”, “bio-stimulation laser therapy”, “therapeutic laser therapy”, and LLLT (low level laser therapy). This is entirely different then a high-powered laser also known as “HOT laser”, “cutting laser”, “surgical laser”, etc. My class 4 Cold K-laser does not hurt, cut, ligate or burn. And pets are not the only beneficiaries; cold laser has been used widely in humans at rehabilitation centers, chiropractors, medical institutions and by professional athletes and dancers.
Gilbert Van Der Marlier (Skip): Thanks Doc. What does “Class 4” mean?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: Lasers are classified according to their power output: • Class 3a—maximum of 5 milliwatts of power (standard laser pointer we see in lectures) • Class 3b—maximum of 500 milliwatts/0.5 watts • Class 4—anything over 500 milliwatts/0.5 watts The most significant issue with the clinical use of lasers is the depth of penetration. Using a Class 3 laser basically amounts to a standard laser pointer. Power is another crucial factor. A higher-powered laser like Class 4 provides two benefits: • A therapeutic dose of laser light can be applied to a much larger volume of tissue • By shining that brighter light at the surface, photons of light are able to penetrate deeper into the tissues, which allows you to treat deep-seated pain conditions.
Joel Braverman (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE Volunteer): What made you choose the “Cube” which is the class 4 laser made by “K-Laser” over the other laser makers?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: I decided to purchase this particular model, the newest “K-Laser” model, after extensive research. The K-Laser unite is unique in that it is the only Class 4 therapy laser that utilizes three infrared wavelengths, allowing for deep penetration into the body to reach areas such as your spine and hip, as well as superficial wounds.
John Belmore (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE volunteer): Is your K-Laser FDA Approved?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: Our Class 4 K-Laser is FDA approved for both humans and pets and has been used extensively in the United States for over a decade. The K-Laser and other higher-powered lasers are prescription medical devices cleared for sale to be used by trained health professionals only. Everyone on my nursing staff is a qualified, certified laser therapist.
Joel Braverman (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE Volunteer): Are the therapeutic claims in pets anecdotal or has laser therapy proven to be effective scientifically?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: There are thousands of published studies demonstrating the clinical effectiveness of Laser Therapy. Among these, there are more than one hundred rigorously controlled, scientific studies that document the effectiveness of Laser Therapy for many clinical conditions. That makes laser therapy unique among the various healing modalities available today.
Gilbert Van Der Marlier (Skip): Can you explain the science of cold laser in few words, and what the therapeutic benefits of cold laser are?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: The red laser light beam interacts with tissues in a process called “photobiomodulation”, and can also penetrate well below the skin surface to stimulate cellular activity and tissue repair – a process known as “photobiostimulation”. This photochemical activity helps to improve:
1. Microcirculation: Increase blood flow to damaged tissues and cells.
2. Cell Oxygenation: Improve oxygen molecules delivery to affected injured tissues.
3. Cellular Metabolism: Stimulate cellular enzymes to create more energy.
4. Cell Nutrition: Enhance the transportation of essential nutrient to cells and tissues.
5. Cellular Byproducts: Help depose damaging cellular byproducts.
6. Tissue Inflammation: Cold Laser decreases inflammation (anti-inflammatory)
7. General Edema (fluid trapped in body tissue): Cold Laser therapy reduces edema and swelling.
8. The Immune System: cold laser activates immune cells.
9. Infection (anti bacterial): cold laser can reduce bacteria in the treatment region.
10. Wounds & Injury Repair: brings faster recovery and restoration to injured tissue, and improves cell health.
11. Protein Synthesis: escalates protein synthesis and cell metabolism.
12. Pain Relief: alleviates chronic and acute pain, and encourages release of natural painkillers (endorphins).
The net results are a cascade of beneficial effects critical to your pet’s healing process, longevity, health, and superior quality of life. The healing effect of cold laser is long-lasting. Cold laser stimulates the immune system and the restoration of healthy function continues well after the initial irradiation.
Joel Braverman (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE Volunteer): I’m curious; does this high power light beam differentiate between healthy and damaged tissue? Does cold laser favor injured tissue and damaged cells over healthy ones?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: Excellent questions Joel. Cold laser actually specifically targets injured cells because damaged cells are more readily accepting of photons of light, whereas healthy cells don’t need this extra energy.
John Belmore (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE volunteer): Does laser therapy hurt? Should we expect our pet to be in some discomfort during the treatment session?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: John I am glad your raised that question. There is absolutely no pain. My experience is the exact opposite. I have found that most patients actually enjoy the soothing warmth and tingling. Nevertheless, in an effort to make our patients as comfortable and stress free as possible, we designed a “Therapy Suite” with a meditative spa like ambiance. The therapeutic suite is noise free, with only soothing, soft music as a background sound. We keep the lights dim, and your pet is provided soft, comfy bedding. At the end of the session, your dog receives a yam-mi treat as a goodbye present. Our therapy treatment suite comes with cloth and carpet coverings over all reflective material as safe guards against accidental reflection of the laser beam.
John Belmore (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE volunteer): Are there any side effects, either short or long- term? Any other associated risks?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: During more than twenty years of use by healthcare providers all over the world, very few adverse effects have ever been reported.
Joel Braverman (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE Volunteer): How long does each treatment take?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: The typical treatment time is 4 to 8 minutes depending on the size of the area being treated. If multiple areas are treated, it can take longer.
Joel Braverman (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE Volunteer): How often should a patient be treated and how many treatments will they need?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: This depends on the nature of the condition being treated, the age of the pet, overall health status of the patient, and other factors. Acute conditions may be treated daily, particularly if they are accompanied by significant pain. More chronic problems respond better when treatments are received 2 to 3 times a week as a package of 4-8 treatments, tapering to once every week or two as improvement is seen. Some conditions may require ongoing periodic care as often as once or twice per month.
Gilbert Van Der Marlier (Skip): How costly is this for pet owners?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: In an effort to help our clients and make it affordable treatment for their pets, I have created multiple discounted packages. Each package is based on the number of treatments and the number of sites being treated. Nevertheless, I believe once the pet owners put their cost in context taking into consideration the “risk/reward ratio” in comparison to traditional modalities such as drugs and surgery, their decision would seem easy and the cost minimal. Cold laser is almost always less expensive and always safer than traditional therapies and treatments. In contrast to cold laser therapy both surgery and long-term medical management have inherent risks.
Joel Braverman (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE Volunteer): Typically how long must you wait before the therapeutic results are noticed?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: Your pet may feel improvement in their condition (usually pain reduction) after the first treatment. Sometimes they will not feel improvement for a number of treatments. This does not mean that nothing is happening. Each treatment is cumulative and results are often felt after 3 or 4 sessions.
Gilbert Van Der Marlier (Skip): What type of injuries, medical conditions and illness would you use Laser Therapy for?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: The short answer is, the range of symptoms for which this laser is useful knows no bound and its therapeutic potential is limitless. That is because the primary mechanism of action of our cold laser is the stimulation of the body’s natural anti-pathological immune system. Virtually any disease process that involves inflammation (Redness, Swelling, Pain and Heat) can be helped with laser therapy, and the K-laser is the most versatile in treatment modality and potential use.
Gilbert Van Der Marlier (Skip): Thanks. Specifically with regard to bulldogs, what medical conditions is cold laser therapy best for?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: A few of the more notable common medical conditions in bulldogs I use laser therapy to treat are:
1. EARS: Otitis (infection of the ears), is one of the most prevalent medical problems in bulldogs, many of which progress to an end-stage, irreversible state. Even at the early stage of this condition, those poor dogs are in pain due to the inflamed, swollen ear canal, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the owners to treat and maintain. With cold laser therapy we are able to significantly reduce the pain, swelling and narrowing (stenosis) of the ear canal, thus dramatically improving owner compliance; it is a life saver for both owners and their dogs. On top of that, a few of those bulldogs with painful infected ears end up with an Aural Hematoma, which is a self-inflicting vascular injury to the ear’s pinna manifested by a large blood filled engorgement of the ear flap. For more information go to my V4B Bully Maintenance page (otitis, Hematoma)/
2. JOINT & BACK: Many bulldogs suffer from multiple painful, debilitating neurological and/or orthopedic medical conditions, all of which can benefit from Cold Laser Therapy. For more information go to my V4B Bully Maintenance page (ACL, MPL).
3. SKIN: A few of the more noticeable ones are interdigital cysts, atopic dermatitis (skin allergy), skin fold dermatitis problems, lick granuloma, etc. For more information go to my V4B Bully Maintenance page.
4. WOUNDS: Wound repair and abscess, anal sac problems, etc.
5. POST-OP: All orthopedics surgeries, all contaminated and non-healing wounds as well as any elective post-operative procedures like spaying and neutering. Other everyday medical conditions we see in dogs and cats that that would benefit from cold laser therapy are:
• Joint injuries
• Ligament or tendon injuries (like ACL Tears)
• Bone fractures
• Muscle sprains or strains
• Skin lesions or abrasions
• Aural Hematoma (swelling of the ear contracting blood due to busted vein)
• Post-trauma wounds
• Post-surgical wounds
• Musculoskeletal diseases
• Nerve injury
• Urinary Tract problems (Cystitis, FUS)
• Sinusitis and Rhinitis
• Stomatitis and Gingivitis
• Hot spots (pyoderma)
• Abscess, Cat fight bites, anal glands problems
• Snake bits
John Belmore (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE volunteer): Does the Laser healing effect only last while my bulldog is being treated?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: No, the healing effect is long lasting. Cold lasers stimulate the immune system and the restoration of healthy function continues well after the initial irradiation. Remember your bulldog and your bodies are both designed to self-repair and heal; the body does most of the work. The beauty of Laser therapy is that it will stimulate the appropriate cell compartments to improve cell metabolism (i.e. the cell’s ability to use oxygen and create energy) and by doing so, improve the body’s natural repair mechanism and health.
John Belmore (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE volunteer): I heard that the K-laser also helps eradicate infection. Does it have a direct anti-bacterial effect?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: There are about 1,000 different types of bacteria commonly present, most of which reside either on the skin or in the digestive tract. Some, as you know, are beneficial, like those that aid in the digestion of food. Others are pathological, many of which do not like oxygen and will proliferate and metabolize much better in the absence of oxygen (Anaerobes). Fortunately, this is in direct contradiction with our oxygen dependent cell; therefore, laser therapy exhibits a win-win formula with its effect on oxygen intake. Cold laser simultaneously helps injured cells while also inhibiting the anaerobe harmful bacteria.
Gilbert Van Der Marlier (Skip): Are there situations when laser therapy should NOT be applied to a bulldog?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: Contraindications include the following: any treatment which would require directly aiming the laser at the eyes. That is why we wear protective glasses and place a blanket over your pet’s head when working near the face. Also, laser beams should not be aimed directly over a gravid uterus (pregnant); directly over a known cancerous tumor, and directly over thyroid tissue.
John Belmore (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE volunteer): Are there any drugs that could adversely interact with K-Laser therapy?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: You should wait at least seven days after giving a cortisone shot. Also, light sensitive medication presents a relative contraindication to laser therapy.
Joel Braverman (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BULLDOG RESCUE Volunteer): why should a pet owner choose cold laser therapy for pain relief over traditional pain management like NASID’s (aspirin and other similar medications), Steroid, Opiates etc.?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: Cold Laser Therapy offers the veterinary professions an effective and safe way to give pets a relief from chronic pain. Drugs are expensive, often difficult, if not impossible to administer, and could have a range of adverse effects. For cats, oral medication is an even bigger problem; cats are not allowed take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications over long periods due to serious health risks. Cats are also very difficult to medicate, thus they often suffer silently. The new addition of therapeutic modalities like laser therapy may reduce your pet’s dependence on medication, and in some cases may allow us to stop medications completely as the cumulative effects of laser therapy become more evident.
Gilbert Van Der Marlier (Skip): I know you had a lot of success with Platlate Rich Plasma (PRP) and Stem Cell Therapy (SCT). How do those modalities compares to Cold Laser Therapy, and which one is the best treatment?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: I am glad you raised that question Skip, since I am avid supporter of all those up and coming modalities. First, there is no conflict between them. In fact those therapies are complementary and synergistic. The benefits of combining laser therapy with regenerative therapy are obvious. Stem Cells Therapy and PRP Therapy would do better combined with cold laser due the improved local circulation and cell metabolism; cold laser will help to speed up the delivery to the injured target site. The laser is the enabler; it will help to provide more fuel and oxygen to “ignite the engine” so to speak. So whichever way the body is inclined to heal itself, the laser will provide the boost. It’s a “win win”.
Gilbert Van Der Marlier (Skip): My last question is in regards to surgery, particularly orthopedic cases. Some pet owner might prefer alternative modalities to pain as with a limping dog that has an orthopedic problem. In what cases would cold laser be an option to surgery?
Dr. Kraemer Answers: Thank you for raising this topic. The laser is typically a fraction of the cost of surgery, and unlike surgery, has virtually no side effects. To me, at this point in time, it would be wrong not to recommend those new, less invasive, safer alternate modalities before prescribing lifelong drugs or recommending surgery. Drugs are expensive and many have dangerous side effects, so replacing or combining them with other safer pain relief modalities is common sense and good medicine. Recovery from surgery is typically long, debilitating and with many restrictions. Needless to say there are many more potential risks in surgery, among them prolonged anesthesia, contamination, implant failure, etc. Surgeries are usually irreversible, for better or worse, not to mention the steep cost. Last, even when I recommend surgery, I almost always urge combing it with the other therapeutic modalities (stem cell therapy and cold laser).