Laser Therapy to Control Vomiting?

Laser Therapy to Control Vomiting?
Modern Technology Solves another Problem

By Dr. Ed Mapes
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
McKinney, Tx

Winnie came to the hospital because she’d been vomiting and lost her appetite over the past two days. I noticed that she tensed when I tried to palpate her abdomen, and she walked with an arch to her back.

This case points out symptoms we actually see in patients with a seemingly unrelated problem – one involving the spine. Fortunately we have just the modern tool to bring relief to these patients; the therapeutic laser.

Abdominal X-rays demonstrated that Winnie’s entire large intestine was full of hard-packed stool that probably hadn’t passed in a couple of days. Her urinary bladder was also abnormally full.


These abnormalities are commonly seen when animals are in too much pain to urinate or defecate, and X-rays of the vertebral column revealed the reason for the discomfort: Winnie had a condition known as spondylosis deformans in which new bone grows between individual vertebrae in an attempt to form a bridge between them. This occurs when the body attempts to control motion between the vertebrae.

The bony growth and inflammation that exists in the area causes pain and can interrupt nerves passing through the area. This causes weakness of the rear legs and a lack of sensation in the colon and urinary bladder. In Winnie’s case however, I suspected that her constipation and full bladder were caused by pain when she attempted to void.

When animals are this constipated, vomiting usually ensues because food can’t pass through the intestinal tract. Winnie’s main symptom was vomiting, but the spinal disorder was the root of this problem.

We treated Winnie with medication to soften the stool and encourage defecation, but the most important part of her treatment was the laser therapy sessions to control her spinal pain and inflammation. We did one treatment right away, and scheduled Winnie for five more sessions over the next few days.

We programmed the laser to treat chronic inflammation. Two separate laser beams at different frequencies are able to treat different problems. One frequency is effective in controlling swelling and inflammation; the other stops pain. The entire session takes only 5-8 minutes, and patients are sometimes perceptibly improved after the first one!

We usually see a noticeable improvement in pain levels after one or two treatments in these cases. Even dogs with very weak rear legs begin walking better after a couple of sessions. Most patients only need one session every three to five weeks after the initial series to control their symptoms.

In Winnie’s case; she was able to urinate that day and she passed all of the stool the very next day. Her painful posture improved after the second laser session, and the vomiting ended as well. She’s back to normal now, and will probably get one treatment per month to sustain that.

Medicine is improving every day, and we’re better able to help our patients because of it.

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