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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

Laser Surgery for Pets at Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic

A veterinarian performing laser surgery on a cat

Laser surgery for pets suffering from certain skin conditions is one of the innovative ways that Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic and Dr. Duclos strive to provide the best care to our pet patients. Read on to learn why we are so proud to offer expertise in this area.

All About Laser Surgery for Pets

Surgery can often be an intimidating experience for pet owners. Anesthesia, surgical complications, and post-operative healing can all be big worries to overcome. When pets with dermatological conditions need surgery, be it to decrease the size of mass or growth, remove abnormal tissue, or something altogether different, we want to give them the absolute best care possible.

Instead of a traditional scalpel blade we utilize a surgical laser.  Surgical lasers are also called CO2, or carbon dioxide, lasers. They work by discharging electricity through a gas-filled tube, producing a fine stream of infrared light. This light is not visible to the naked eye, but is very powerful and able to cut through most soft tissues.

Laser surgery for pets offers many advantages over a traditional scalpel blade. These include:

  • Minimal bleeding
  • Shorter anesthesia times
  • More precise action
  • Decreased pain
  • Decreased risk of infection
  • Increased healing speed
  • Less scar formation

All in all, veterinary laser surgeries tend to be shorter and safer with less recovery time and sooner return to function. It is a win for the patient, pet owner, and surgeon.

A Leading Expert

Our veterinarian doing laser surgery on a dog's paw

When surgery is needed for pets with dermatological conditions, laser is often the best choice. Not only are we fortunate enough to be able to offer this service, we are also extremely proud to have one of the leading experts in the use of the laser at our disposal.

Dr. Duclos has extensive experience using the carbon dioxide laser and is a great resource for the veterinary community. He has even published several articles on the topic. In this blog spotlight, we took the opportunity to ask him a few questions.

Q: Are there situations where a traditional surgical approach is a better choice than the surgical laser?

A: Not really, though possibly some surgeries of the intestine would not allow for the CO2 laser to be used. This is because of the gas in the intestine, which could pose a fire risk.

Q: What kind of aftercare is typical for a pet undergoing laser surgery?

A: After care is generally the same as with any surgery. Keep the pet from licking or chewing out the sutures. Restrict movement when indicated, such as when the surgery site could be damaged by movement. The aftercare length of time depends on the type of surgery, however it is usually takes about half the time as scalpel surgery for the pet to return to full function.

Q: How much more quickly are pet patients able to return to normal function with laser surgery versus traditional surgery?

A: In a recent study in Portugal, comparison between scalpel and CO2 laser for spay and neuter procedures showed that the CO2 laser groups healed faster and had less scar formation than the scalpel surgeries.

Q: Have you travelled to teach or lecture elsewhere on the topic of laser surgery in pets?

A: Yes, I have taught and lectured in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Most recently, I presented a talk titled “Excision and Ablation of Various Dermatologic Lesions in the Dog and Cat” at the American Laser Study Club’s 2nd annual symposium in Phoenix, Arizona. Last September I was also an invited speaker at the 5th Annual Conference of Laser Medicine in Augsburg, Germany, hosted by AniCura. While there I gave lectures on CO2 laser procedures and moderated a practical session where attendees were given the opportunity to have hands on training using the CO2 laser on tissues.

Q: Can you share one case that you feel had a dramatically improved outcome as a result of the use of laser surgery?

A: Interdigital cysts, a condition that causes dogs to have bloody draining lesions between the digits of their paws, is dramatically improved with the use of CO2 laser surgery. Once treated with surgery, most dogs do not experience a reoccurrence of the draining lesions and have normal paws.

Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic is committed to being the best in the business when it comes to the care of your pets. Offering expert laser surgery as an option is just one more way that we accomplish this goal. Please let us know if you have questions about this service, we are always happy to help.