Tissues that are suffering from inflammation, injury and edema have shown a higher response to laser therapy. The only problem in today’s technologically advanced world is to figure out which laser is the best for you. There are two different types of therapy laser that exist: Low Level Lasers (Class I-IIIb) and Class IV. Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) does not work as efficiently as Class IV lasers. Low level laser do not penetrate deep into the tissue. Their ability to heal ceases after 3 cm while Class IV lasers can penetrate up to 8 cm. This makes a very large difference when treating a large dog or horse. 

Another benefit of Class IV laser therapy, is that is has the ability to send 60 x more energy to the designated area than LLLT. This is an incredible difference. If it takes you 135 sec (2.25 minutes) to treat an injury with a Class IV laser, it will take 8100 sec (135 minutes) to treat the same injury with a Low Level Laser. 

The advanced therapeutic capabilities of Class IV laser therapy has been documented in multiple scientific studies.

“Larger laser therapeutic dosage levels produce improved clinical outcomes as illustrated…LLLT (Classes I-III) does not provide optimal clinical outcomes in most disease conditions because they cannot deliver the necessary dosage to deep structures without using excessively long treatment times. Class IV lasers have been shown to provide both the wavelengths and output powers levels necessary to trigger therapeutic cellular metabolic changes.” 

- Bryan A. Pryor, PhD
“Interventional and case reports confirm positive therapeutic outcomes in multiple clinical indications”

​​How does it work?

The central dogma of laser therapy is photo-bio-modulation. Animal’s (and human’s) cells are similar to plants. Our cells also react to sunlight, pulling in photons in order to activate a cell. This is not a new concept to the medical world. Even Ancient Greeks documented that some medical conditions actually heal when exposed to light. 
Class IV laser therapy heals the body using 3 main dimensions. The first is reacting with the cells water molecules. The energy that is released by the laser reacts with the covalent bonds that hold hydrogen and oxygen together, making them vibrate. This heats up the water molecules creating a localized temperature gradient. This temperature gradient increases blood flow, relieving inflammation.
The second dimension of healing is through pain relief. Most of the body’s serotonin and endorphins are released through the body’s muscle and blood vessels. Usually this process is stimulated by exercise or artificially created with NSAIDs or opiates. But laser therapy bypasses these traditional modes by stimulating the cells to release serotonin and endorphins. In our case studies, most of the animals had fallen asleep while undergoing treatment.
The final dimension of healing is involved in the production of ATP through the cell’s mitochondria. Oxygen is normally exchanged in the mitochondria to produce ATP. When the cells are damaged, this process either ceases to function or is delayed. The laser actually stimulates cytochrome c oxydase (a terminal enzyme of respiratory chains) to move oxygen faster through the cell, producing ATP at a faster rate.

Class IV Laser Therapy

Class I-IIIb vs Class IV Lasers