At Hampton Park Vets, we pride ourselves on offering a complete veterinary service. As well as the routine medical and surgical treatments that you’re probably well aware of, we also offer a range of more specialised services. These provide your pets with other options, so that we can choose the best for your pet as an individual, not just a follow a “standard protocol”. In this blog, we’ll explore some of these newer options!
Laser therapy What is it?
Laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment. It uses light energy of a specific frequency which allows it to penetrate different depths of the skin. The laser light penetrates the skin giving the desired effects by accelerating the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) within the cells. ATP is what our pets’ cells use for energy. This means that the cells can operate more efficiently, healing faster than they would otherwise be able to do.
The sessions last 3-20 minutes. No sedation is usually required although your pet may have to wear safety glasses (or “doggles”!). The treatment can be performed multiple times in a day or at particular intervals to maximise the effect.
How can this treatment benefit your pet?
Laser therapy aims to stimulate cell repair, regenerate nerve tissue and increase the blood supply to specific areas increasing the rate of healing. This can increase the rate of recovery and improve the prognosis following injury. It can dramatically reduce pain and inflammation, and we routinely use it after surgery (e.g. after neutering).
Other conditions that we often find respond to treatment include arthritis and muscle damage, as well as some skin conditions such as inflamed ears (otitis externa).
Are there any risks associated with this treatment?
If you apply laser treatment over the top of a tumour, some studies suggest that it can accelerate the rate at which the tumour grows. Very hot lasers can cause burns - however, we use a “cold laser” that does not heat the tissues and so burns cannot occur.
When used properly, it has no known side effects, and is often much safer than medical management of pain and inflammation with painkillers.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment What is it?
Platelets are a type of blood cell that causes blood to clot at the site of a wound preventing your pet from continuing to bleed following an injury. They contain a range of growth factors and help to control the formation of new blood vessels in injured areas.
We can produce PRP by collecting a blood sample from your pet and putting it into a centrifuge. This separates the blood into its different components allowing us to separate the platelet-rich plasma from the remainder. The treatment includes some white blood cells which help to control the immune response and communicate the level of response to pathogens needed. The processed plasma is injected directly into the joint or painful area. This often requires sedation.
How can PRP be used on your pet?
This treatment has been shown to increase the healing rate of injured tendons and joints. The platelets, when injected into a wounded area, can help with cell migration and proliferation and create new blood supply. These all speed up the rate of healing by creating new cells in a new, less hostile environment encouraging the repair of the joint or even tendon tissue.
It can be a great alternative to operating in older dogs as there is no anaesthetic needed. It can also be used in conjunction with conventional medications and joint supplements to improve your pet’s welfare without needing to increase the number of drugs - with potential side effects - required to keep them comfortable.
Risks associated with this therapy
As with any injection, there is the risk of transmitting an infection into the body although this risk is relatively low. The joints may swell following the injection too, but this is usually temporary.
PRP is a minimally-invasive technique, and improvements can last as long as a year after only one or two injections, meaning that the risks are very low.
Stem cell therapy What is it?
Stem cells are generic cells that have not differentiated or become specialised to have a particular function yet. To help manage specific conditions, we can adapt the expressed genetics and behaviour of these cells causing them to act a certain way performing specific roles. This means we can use stem cells to produce new tissues which can replace old, damaged or diseased ones.
How can stem cell therapy be used on your pet?
We use stem cells to help manage patients with severe arthritis. When injected, the stem cells promote the repair of damaged tissues, and some will even transform into new cartilage cells, helping to regenerate the joints. We see improvements after about 3 weeks, and the effects can last as long as 3 years.
Are there any risks associated with this treatment?
Putting any foreign material into the body can be dangerous and risks the chance of rejection by the body. However, because we use your pet’s own stem cells, rejection doesn’t happen!
There have been one or two cases where stem cell treatments have caused tumours to form, but this is not something that seems to be an issue in dogs and cats being treated for arthritis.
What are the benefits of being registered with a veterinary practice that offers these services?
Many of these services require specialist machines and personnel to operate them. The machines are expensive to buy hence why not every practice has them. This means many pets are referred to us for these treatments.
By registering with us, these brand new, gold-standard treatment options are an immediate option and can be started with no delay compared to if you had to be referred. Being registered with us means we already have access to your pets health notes and history speeding up the process. The sooner procedures are started, the better the prognosis!