TOWN OF TONAWANDA — At just 12 years old Basie, a black-and-white English springer spaniel, found himself unable to walk one day in May.
He had gone out for a romp in Michael Idhe’s Town of Tonawanda back yard and somewhere along the way he became completely immobilized.
“We’re not sure what happened,” Idhe said of Basie’s injury.
Idhe took the dog, named after jazz musician Count Basie to the vet.
Basie already had been dealing with painful arthritis in his hips, knees and back and was maxed out on medications he could take to ease the pain, Idhe said. He took Basie home that weekend.
“We had a serious talk about his future after that,” he said.
But Basie showed improvement over the weekend and when Idhe took him back to Brighton Eggert Animal Clinic, Dr. Jatain Sondhi, the medical director at the facility, suggested a new treatment called laser therapy.
Laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment that can be used on dogs and cats to treat arthritis, inflammation, swelling, surgical incisions and even skin conditions.
The treatment is particularly ideal for pets, like Basie, who have run out of other options for treating pain.
The laser is not painful as long as the veterinary technician administering the treatment constantly moves the laser head as it passes over the animal’s body.
“If you leave the laser head in one location it can burn the skin,” Sondhi said, but all veterinary technicians at the hospital are certified to use the technology.
The way the laser works is that it increases blood supply to the area of the animal’s body where it is applied.
“You are reducing inflammation by increasing blood flow and increasing the anti-inflammatory chemicals,” Sondhi said.
Because it increases the diameter of the blood vessels, Sondhi said the treatment is not ideal for patients with tumors. The tumor cells can metastisize to other locations in the body.