Most geriatric horses will experience some form of pain from degenerative joint disease as they age. While there are many options available to manage arthritis in older horses, non-invasive therapies such as regenerative laser therapy is a great option to keep your horse comfortable. There are numerous benefits to laser therapy for treating chronic arthritis including pain relief, anti-inflammatory affects, nerve regeneration, and tissue regeneration.
How to know if regenerative laser therapy is the right option for managing arthritis in your horse?
Many factors are involved in the decision-making process when treating arthritis in older horses. Often, multiple modes are therapy and treatment are necessary to optimize patient comfort for extended periods of time. In advanced cases of arthritis one mode of treatment is usually not sufficient to maintain patient comfort; multiple treatments are often necessary. We find that patients respond well to regenerative laser therapy for arthritis over multiple sessions. Laser therapy is low stress, non-invasive, and sessions typically take about 15-25 minutes depending on how many joints are lasered.
How much does laser therapy cost?
Depending on your location, each laser session costs approximately $120. If your horse is new to our practice, we would like to meet and evaluate your horse with either a lameness evaluation or physical exam. The costs of these items are $130-$80 depending on your previous records. You can see our blog on lameness exam pricing for more in depth information on this topic and what to expect here.
We routinely travel to patients outside of the Wellington, FL location. We frequently travel to Jupiter, Parkland, and SW Ranches- call trips are added in for these visits, but they are split between each customer when we see multiple patients in a region.
How does laser therapy treat arthritis in older horses?
We use the regenerative laser therapy from Sound which is the best on the equine market. Our laser creates short, High-energy pulses from light to create photo-acoustic sound waves. These photoacoustic sound waves are produced in all directions to agitate the extracellular matrix and release growth factors. This is the only equine marketed laser that creates photoacoustic sound waves which are required to stimulate tissue regeneration. Here are some of the effects of laser therapy when treating arthritis:
- Anti-pain: laser has a beneficial effect on nerve cells which block pain transmitted to the brain thereby decreasing nerve sensitivity. There is also the production of endorphin and enkephalins release which is pain relieving
- Improved nerve function: The photoacoustic light produced accelerates nerve cell reconnection and increases the amplitude of action potentials to optimize muscle action
- Anti-inflammatory effects: by causing vasodilation and activating lymphatic drainage which reduces swelling in the limbs
- Improved nerve function: The photoacoustic light produced accelerates nerve cell reconnection and increases the amplitude of action potentials
- Reduced fibrous scar tissue formation
- Improved vascular activity: laser therapy causes a significant increase in new capillary formation, especially at injured sites
- Increased oxygen and energy (ATP) for red blood cells
- Increased permeability of cells so they can take on nutrients and remove waste products which allow for faster tissue repair
What else is available to consider for treating arthritis in older horses?
NSAIDs, joint injections, and Adequan/Legend are routinely used to manage pain associated with arthritis in older horses. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as bute, banamine, or equioxx are commonly used as a daily pain medication in older horses with arthritis. While NSAIDs are great at reducing inflammation that causes pain, long term use can cause kidney failure and gastric ulcers. Long term use of NSAID’s require routine bloodwork to monitor your horse’s kidney function while on this medication.
Joint injections are another option to treat arthritis in older horses. As horses age, they are at an increased risk for Cushings, or Pars Pituitary Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID). Horses with Cushings or metabolic disease cannot receive steroids for their joint injections. PRP, Prostride, IRAP, and polyacrylamide gels are highly effective at treating arthritis in older horses but are more expensive. Additionally, highly inflamed joints are at a greater risk for post joint injection infections which is life threatening.
As you can see, there are many options available to treat arthritis in older horses. Please ask one of our veterinarians if laser therapy is the right option for your horses’ arthritis. You can schedule an appointment by texting or calling 561-515-2685 or email@example.com.